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November 07, 2012 06:10 PM

National Healthy Eating Day

Trying to eat healthy is a struggle many people go through personally. But today the American Heart Association encouraged not only individuals but businesses to provide healthier alternatives.

In honor of National Eating Healthy Day, several local companies tried to educate their employees about the importance of good nutrition and making healthy decisions.

At DAKOTACARE, it looks like a typical potluck, but it’s putting a healthy spin on its snacks.

"Not only does it improve moral, but if we can have healthier employees, it's going to lower our health care costs," DAKOTACARE Director of Health and Wellness Trisha Dohn said.

Along with offering different healthy food choices, DAKOTACARE is also increasing awareness about current programs it has, such as healthy vending machine.

"We've been doing employee wellness for going on five years," Dohn said.

Dohn says since DAKOTACARE began the employee wellness program, the company's health insurance claims have gone down, along with the average employee's blood pressure and BMI.

"I no longer have to take cholesterol medication because of my healthy eating habits," DAKOTACARE employee Mark Tracy said.

Tracy started improving his health after DAKOTACARE started the wellness program.

"Quit smoking, stopped drinking caffeine, eating healthier, starting to exercise," Tracy said.

Tracy has also lost 40 pounds in three years.

"Here's an employee who's feeling better, eating better, frankly sleeping better and off cholesterol medication," Tracy said.

It's just one example of why DAKOTACARE made National Eating Healthy Day a priority.

"The standard number is a three-to-one return on investment.  And we know that if we invest in our employee's health, we're going to get a great return," Dohn said.

And that's not only healthy for a company's pocketbook, but also its employees.

For more information on health eating, check out the American Heart Association’s website.

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