NICKY MARTIN, A REGISTERED NUTRITIONIST WORKING FOR EUREST TALKS ABOUT WHAT HER ROLE INVOLVES AND WHY SHE’S NOW REALLY HANDY AT DISMANTLING A BIKE...
“Health is important to everyone, sure, but my role involves thinking big. Leading the Nutrition Team I work on keeping our health and wellbeing programme synched closely with what the government is trying to achieve — improving public health, reducing the strain on the NHS, making people more productive in their lives (both working and personal).
“Health and wellbeing is not just high on our agenda, it is high on our clients’ agendas, and what’s important to our clients has to be important to us. So my role is all about supporting our clients as they help their people achieve better health and wellbeing.
“Some of this involves what you’d expect a nutritionist would do, for example, working to roll out nutritional labelling across every recipe used in our business. It’s been a massive journey — getting every recipe nutritionally analysed and then coming up with workable solutions to display the nutritional information to our customers. It’s a huge thing to be able to say that every dish on our counter will have a label offering detailed nutritional information for an average portion of every dish.
“But that’s just the beginning. It’s all well and good providing the nutritional information on a counter for the recipe, but if people don’t understand what that means, or don’t understand what it means in the context of their diet, then we’re failing.
“So we have to make nutrition attractive, engaging and inviting; find different messages and a different way of getting them across so that people get a bit more excited about what they’re eating. It might be talking about food from a seasonality point of view. Or looking at the food they consume every day but don’t realise the nutritional benefits they’re getting — like the antioxidants you get from your cup of tea and how they help your body.
“And getting these messages across involves getting on your bike sometimes. To support our health education programme we go out into units and do health fairs; we set up a health stand at lunchtime where people can come and talk to us and we have a smoothie bike — a static bike that powers a blender to make smoothies. We give away smoothies and offer advice and nutritional information.
“If it’s helpful to our clients, we’ll come along and give mini lectures on topical health and wellbeing matters including men’s health issues or nutrition during pregnancy as well as broader subjects that could affect everyone, like heart disease.
“It’s not rocket science. Increasing the health of your workforce benefits everyone; your people take fewer days off sick, and they benefit from having a better, happier lifestyle.”