If you think lean times will mean trim waistlines, think again. Experts are worried that as more Americans feel the strain of a lagging economy, they’ll alter their food choices for the worse. According to one recent article, some health professionals are predicting that we’ll put on “recession pounds” as we opt for cheaper meals and avoid “healthy but relatively expensive items such as fresh fish, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.” But there's a downside to the temporary savings: “more empty calories or foods high in sugar, saturated fats, and refined grains.”
Consider this: McDonalds is one of only two companies in the Dow Jones industrial average whose share prices increased during 2008. Time magazine reports (not surprisingly) that the recession has made the “dollar menu” more popular than ever. Sit-down restaurants are out of fashion, and fast-food is king once again. And it’s not just in the United States—the Washington Post reports that McDonalds’ sales remain strong across the globe.
So how does this trend impact corporate wellness? First, the news isn’t all bad. After taking a public-relations beating several years ago, McDonalds added a number of healthier alternatives to its menu—so you can still make good choices when time is short. Money may be tight for your employees and their families, but it's important to weather the downturn without sacrificing wellness.