Corporate Kitchen Makeover

A Fresh Start: Reimagining Corporate Kitchens with Power8

Power8's Corporate Kitchen Makeover breathes new life into your corporate kitchen spaces, promoting a healthier workplace environment. We provide a comprehensive kitchen audit, staff training, and the introduction of healthy menus, boosted by the motivation of a five-week weight loss challenge.

July 2, 2023
Mohit Sahni
A Fresh Start: Reimagining Corporate Kitchens with Power8

As a co-founder of Power8, I've observed a significant, yet often overlooked, area that affects the health and wellness of employees: the corporate canteen. It's a truth universally acknowledged that good nutrition is a cornerstone of good health. 

Still, what happens when your work, an environment where many of us spend the majority of our time, doesn't support this critical aspect of wellness? That's where Power8’s Corporate Kitchen Makeover comes into play.

Ensuring a Healthy Foundation

Embarking on the journey of creating a healthier corporate kitchen, we commence with an in-depth, meticulous audit. This process isn't just a cursory glance over the pantry or a review of the vending machines. It's an extensive inspection that aligns with Schedule 4 of the FSSA, 2006, aiming to certify that the food served to your diligent employees is wholesome, safely prepared, and hygienically stored.

We do not take this responsibility lightly; we're fully aware of the trust you put in us. This process ensures we are meeting the required health and safety regulations, but more importantly, it is about acknowledging and addressing the crucial role nutrition plays in overall wellness, productivity, and mental agility in the workplace.

"Creating a productive and healthy workforce demands a systemic and sustained approach. It starts in the kitchen."

Setting the Path

Having established a solid foundation through the audit, the next stage in the Kitchen Makeover involves a two-day on-site visit by our dedicated team of experts. These specialists bring a wealth of experience in assessing kitchen layouts, raw material storage areas, food handling and preparation techniques, hygiene, and sanitation practices, and food transportation. Their knowledge and expertise in food safety standards and protocols are pivotal in this phase of the makeover.

Their role isn't limited to merely identifying areas of concern but extends to providing immediate actionable solutions to improve these aspects. By the end of this phase, we ensure the canteen, a vital place in the company, is a hub for wellness and positivity, while still complying with FSSAI guidelines and SOPs.

Investing in Skills

To sustain the changes implemented, we organize a two-day training workshop for food handlers and kitchen staff. We focus on imparting knowledge about the best hygiene and sanitation practices, assessing the quality of raw materials, and preventing food spoilage. Training also involves teaching ways to avoid cross-contamination - a major issue in large kitchens - and how to follow FSSAI guidelines and SOPs.

This training isn't a mere seminar or lecture but a hands-on, practical session. We believe that true learning comes from doing, and so, our training workshops are interactive and engaging, designed to instill best practices and provide a deeper understanding of why they are necessary.

Healthy Menu Planning

With hygiene and safety standards well implemented, the next phase involves the actual food being served - we start the process of healthy menu planning. We collaborate with your chefs, taking into consideration the current menu, the preferences of the employees, and the kitchen capabilities. Our aim is to subtly reduce daily calorie intake, without compromising on the taste or satisfaction of the meals.

We've learned that the secret to a successful health-focused menu is in striking a balance. It’s not about eliminating favorite foods or making drastic changes; it’s about small, sustainable shifts toward healthier choices. For instance, introducing whole grains in place of refined ones, increasing the portion of fresh fruits and vegetables, or using healthier cooking methods.

"The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison." - Ann Wigmore

Weight Loss Challenge

To motivate employees to embrace these healthier food options, we facilitate a 5-week weight loss challenge, tracked through our app - PlanMyFood. This isn't just a competition to lose weight, but a holistic challenge that encourages employees to make smarter, healthier food choices, despite the busyness of their work schedules. This interactive challenge also brings an element of fun and engagement to the workplace, fostering a sense of community and shared goals.

Encouragement and motivation are critical when making lifestyle changes, and our weight loss challenge provides this in spades. Weekly check-ins, healthy recipes, progress tracking, and support from fellow participants make this a positive and motivating experience. The aim is to inspire long-term changes, transforming not just the corporate kitchen but the health and wellness attitudes of the employees.

Re-adjusting Daily Calorie Intake

Adjusting the daily calorie intake in the kitchen menu is the final touch in our Corporate Kitchen Makeover. The objective here is not just weight loss, but optimal health and vitality. By taking into account factors such as portion sizes, food groups, and timing of meals, we strategically redesign the menu to ensure that it's well-rounded and balanced.

This is where our expertise truly shines. Our knowledge of nutritional science allows us to develop menus that cater to diverse dietary needs and preferences. For instance, if your team contains a mix of vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters, we can design a menu that everyone will enjoy. In this phase, we also consider factors like dietary restrictions, food allergies, and specific nutritional requirements of your workforce.

Closing Thoughts

The Power8 Corporate Kitchen Makeover is more than a revamp of your canteen; it's an investment in the health, productivity, and well-being of your employees. By optimizing the heart of your workplace – the kitchen – we create an environment that not only feeds the stomachs but also nourishes the health and well-being of your workforce. 

With improved diet and nutrition, you'll notice a boost in morale, productivity, and overall workplace satisfaction, proving that when you invest in your employees' health, the returns are manifold. Remember, a healthier workplace is a happier workplace!


Maximizing Tax Savings with HRA Exemption in 2023-24

May 6, 2023
Mohit Sahni
Maximizing Tax Savings with HRA Exemption in 2023-24

The House Rent Allowance (HRA) exemption is a valuable tax-saving tool for salaried individuals in India who reside in rented accommodations. However, to avail of this benefit, one must opt for the old tax regime. This exemption can lead to substantial savings on your taxable income, easing your financial burden. If the annual rent exceeds ₹1 lakh, the landlord's PAN must be submitted. 

Interestingly, even if your employer does not provide HRA, you can claim a deduction under specific circumstances. This article will provide an in-depth understanding of HRA exemption and its benefits for Indian employees.

HRA Exemption Calculation: Factors to Consider

The HRA exemption is determined by the lowest of the following three criteria:

  • Actual HRA received: This is the actual amount you receive from your employer as a part of your salary package toward house rent.
  • People living in metro cities (Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, or Chennai) receive 50% of their basic salary, whereas those living outside of metros receive 40%. Metro cities are considered more expensive in terms of living costs, which is why a higher percentage is allowed as an exemption for those residing in these cities.
  • Actual rent paid minus 10% of basic salary: This criterion ensures that a certain portion of your rent paid is considered taxable income.

Use the HRA deduction calculator on the Income Tax Department's website to calculate your HRA deduction. By entering your basic salary, HRA received, and actual rent paid, you can determine the exemption amount and adjust it against your taxable income.

Required Documentation for HRA Tax Exemption Claims

To claim HRA exemption, you must submit certain documents to your employer, including rent receipts and rental agreements. These documents serve as proof of your rented accommodation and the amount paid as rent. If the annual rent exceeds ₹1 lakh, your landlord's PAN must also be provided. This helps the Income Tax Department track high-value transactions and ensure tax compliance.

Based on these proofs, employers will grant HRA exemption in Form 16. Form 16 is a certificate issued by your employer, providing a detailed summary of the salary paid and tax deducted at source (TDS) on your behalf.

Claiming Deduction without Employer-Provided HRA

Rent paid without HRA can still be deducted under Section 80GG of the Income Tax Act if you do not receive HRA from your employer. However, you must meet certain conditions:

  • You must be self-employed or salaried and have not received HRA during the year you claim 80GG. This implies that if you receive HRA for part of the year, you can only claim the 80GG deduction for the remaining months.
  • You, your spouse, or your minor child must not own residential accommodation in your current city of residence or employment. This condition prevents taxpayers from claiming a double benefit on both self-owned and rented properties.

In addition to the maximum deduction of 5,000 per month, Section 80GG also limits deductions to 25% of adjusted total income.

HRA Exemption for Individuals Living with Parents

You can also claim HRA if you reside in your parent's house. To do so, sign a rental agreement with your parents and transfer the rent to them monthly. Your parents must report this income on their tax returns. 

This can result in tax savings on the family income if their other income falls below the basic exemption limit or is taxed at a lower rate. Ensure to maintain proper documentation, such as rent receipts and bank statements showing rent transfers, to validate your claim.

Claiming Both HRA and Home Loan Interest Deductions

Even if you have a home loan, you can claim both HRA and home loan interest deductions if the houses are in the same city. To do this, you must demonstrate that the rented house and the house with the loan are at different locations. There must be valid reasons for not residing in your self-owned house, such as:

  • Living in another city for work or other personal reasons.
  • Proximity to your workplace or children's school makes residing in the rented house more practical.
  • Your purchased home is under construction, requiring you to rent a temporary residence.
  • Renting out your own house for additional income and living in a different rented property.

In such cases, you can claim deductions under Section 24(b) for home loan interest payments, up to ₹2 lahks per annum, and Section 80C for principal repayments, up to ₹1.5 lahks per annum.

It is important to note that such claims are frequently scrutinized by tax officials, who may reject part or all of the claim if dissatisfied, especially if the claimed amount is relatively high. To substantiate your claim, maintain proper documentation, including rental agreements, home loan certificates, and rent receipts.

Important Tips for Maximizing HRA Exemption Benefits

  • Timely submission of rent receipts and rental agreements to your employer is crucial to ensure the seamless processing of your HRA exemption claim.
  • Regularly review and update your rental agreement, especially if there is a change in rent amount or rental duration.
  • Keep a record of rent payments made through bank transfers, as cash payments might not be considered valid proof by tax authorities.
  • If you are claiming both HRA and home loan interest deductions, maintain separate documentation for each to avoid confusion during tax filing.

To sum this up, the HRA exemption can be a powerful tool for tax savings for salaried individuals in India. Understanding the various aspects of HRA exemption, including calculation, documentation, and eligibility, can help you make the most of this benefit and reduce your tax liability.

Personal Wellbeing

The best foods for your heart — Tips from a cardiologist.

November 25, 2022
The Wellness Tribe Team
The best foods for your heart — Tips from a cardiologist.

The holidays are just around the corner, and it can be challenging to survive this hectic season; this becomes even more challenging if you are a person with diabetes. During this time of year, food and alcohol are abundant, and temptations are no doubt great, but maintaining good lifestyle habits requires daily mindfulness and preparation. 

To help you have a great party season without having to worry about heart disease, we asked a cardiologist expert to share some heart healthy food tips. 

Go Green With Your Diet

Food for your heart — Tips from a cardiologist.
Photo by Vitalii Pavlyshynets on Unsplash

The first step you can take is to increase your dietary fibre intake. Eat foods such as carrots, broccoli, whole grain cereals and grains, peas, lentils, melons, oranges, and pears. An individual fruit contains more fibre than three to four whole fruits used for making fruit juice.

Those with diabetes should avoid eating too many fruits. Choosing whole fruit and vegetables will increase your fibre intake and other nutrients. Instead, choose fruits that are low in sugar and rich in fibre, such as strawberries, oranges, sweet limes, apples, and pears.

Every meal should include a salad. You can get more nutrition by adding raw vegetables to a salad. Vegetables are a fantastic source of nutrients. In order to complete a full supper, you need a substantial amount of sprout-filled salad and vegetables. As sprouts are high in proteins and fibre, you should eat two daily servings.

Methi (fenugreek) seeds can be added to your meals. Its ingredients reduce cholesterol and are heart-healthy, making it an excellent source of soluble fibre.

In addition, people with diabetes and cardiac issues may benefit from adding raw methi seeds to curries, dals, or curd.

Let's say goodbye to salt and oil.

Let's say goodbye to salt and oil. Food for your heart — Tips from a cardiologist.
Photo by Matthijs Smit on Unsplash

We are not asking you to stop consuming oil and salt entirely but rather to limit their consumption. A daily salt intake of 5-6 grams is recommended for healthy people. However, if you have been treated for heart disease or had heart surgery, the daily salt consumption should be at most 2 grams or roughly half a teaspoon.

"The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison." - Ann Wigmore 

The commercial marketplace also offers a wide variety of heart-healthy oils, including rice bran oil, mustard oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and groundnut oil. Using more than one cooking oil per month can provide additional benefits.

Be mindful of both quality and quantity.

Keep an eye on the amount of frying oil. It's essential to monitor the quantity of cooking oil you use, no matter what kind you use. The amount should be at most 15 ml (or three teaspoons) per day. 

You can use ghee in addition to cooking oils; however, you should not consume more than 15 ml per day. Consider taking one teaspoon of ghee and two teaspoons of oil instead of three teaspoons of oil a day.

In case you are uncertain about portions and types and want expert advice, you can approach HR at work about a corporate wellness program where an expert nutritionist will guide you through healthy heart dos and dont's.

Maintain a portion control policy. Spread your meals out over the day and consume small portions. A person who eats three full courses in one sitting may strain their heart, other organs, and stomach. 

It is best to eat six small meals throughout the day or two meals followed by pauses for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks mid-afternoon snacks. In addition, simple, light foods should be served at supper. Avoid fatty and gas-producing meals at dinner, such as beans and cauliflower.

The nuttier, the better

There is no doubt that nuts are heart-healthy. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for maintaining the health of your heart, and they supply the highest amount. The benefits of this include maintaining blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels, lowering triglycerides, reducing inflammation, and preventing heart disease. In addition, there is a lot of PUFA in almonds and walnuts, which makes them excellent for the heart.

Consider your snack choices carefully. Incorporate light snacks such as sprouts chaat, vegetable chaat, boiling corn chaat, puffed rice (kurmura), or bhel into your menu. 

When it comes down to it, it is always a good idea to keep a close eye on your consumption and speak with a nutritionist if you are particularly mindful.

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This month we are focusing on food and how it affects your mental health. Join us as we bring in the most relevant interesting content from across the wellness segment.

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