Jim’s workplace has just implemented a corporate wellness program and he’s excited about diving into some challenges. After all, his blood pressure is higher than it should be, and his doctor wants him to start developing healthier habits.
His stomach rumbles, so he heads over to the office vending machine, looking for a healthy snack that will quiet his hunger. He scans the machine and sees … chips, candy bars, chewing gum, and a lone, sad granola bar that looks like it was rescued from the bottom of a fourth-grader’s backpack.
Turns out, Jim’s employer isn’t putting their money where Jim’s mouth is.
Wanted: Healthy Workplace Snacks
People love to snack. It’s the rare individual who can go from a noontime lunch to a 7 p.m. dinner without feeling at least a little bit peckish around the mid-afternoon mark.
Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of unhealthy snack options out there. And while we love a candy bar as much as the next person, we’ll be the first to admit that a daily candy bar habit is probably not conducive to improving one’s wellness. So, for people who are trying to develop healthier eating habits, it’s frustrating when the only snack options at their workplace are full of fat, salt, and sugar.
Could employees bring their own snacks? Of course. Many people are diligent and organized enough to always make sure they have a supply of healthy snacks tucked away in their drawer or the communal fridge.
However, we’re all human, and sometimes our organizational skills fail us. So, why not help your employees on their quest for healthy eating by making sure your company fridges, cupboards, and vending machines are stocked with these healthy snacks?
Nuts and Dried Fruit
Nuts and dried fruit have a great balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein, as well as fiber. The result? A filling and satisfying snack that delivers a nutritional punch. It’s no wonder that when our friends at SnackNation surveyed 49 experts for their favorite healthy workplace snack, fruit and nuts received the most votes.
Jerky is a shelf-stable snack that’s packed with protein and iron, making it a marvelous option for any low-carb eaters in your organization. Ideally, select jerky that is uncured and low in sodium. Plenty of vendors offer single-packaged jerky snacks, so discuss options with your vending machine supplier.
Apples and Peanut Butter
Simple, delicious, filling, and nutritious: You simply can’t go wrong offering fresh fruit to your employees. To add extra-filling protein and fat to the mix, stock a few different types of nut butter as well.
High in protein and taste, Greek yogurt is a thicker, more satisfying version of yogurt that’s extremely popular among people looking to eat more healthfully. Combined with fresh fruit (or our aforementioned dried fruit and nuts), it’s a snack that’s substantial enough to serve as a light lunch.
Some people simply aren’t breakfast eaters and have to be awake for a few hours before they can even think of ingesting any food. For this crew, keep a stock of plain, unsweetened oatmeal packets on hand. You can make this snack more enticing by accompanying it with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, and some tasty flavor combinations like coconut and sliced bananas, or slivered almonds, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and diced apples.
Dark-Chocolate Covered Nuts
There are times when only chocolate will do.
However, there are healthier options than a gooey, caramel-and-peanut-stuffed candy bar. Nuts covered in dark chocolate provide antioxidants, protein, and healthy fats. Dried fruit, such as blueberries, Acai berries, raisins, cranberries, ginger, and goji berries are also a delicious and healthy option.
For a quick and portable snack that delivers, look at stocking single or double packets of hard-boiled eggs. One large egg boasts over six grams of protein, along with iron, calcium, choline, and vitamins A, B6, B12, and D, to name but a few. Topped with salt and pepper or a bit of hot sauce, boiled eggs are a handy option for when staffers only have a minute or two between meetings to grab a bite.
Healthy smoothies are a wonderful way to increase your employees’ intake of fruits and vegetables. Load up your communal kitchen with bags of frozen fruit and frozen spinach or kale, containers of plant-based or cow’s milk, and jars of protein powder.
Healthy Snack Bars
Some granola bars are simply candy bars in a virtuous disguise, delivering a truly alarming amount of refined sugar and little to no fiber or nutrition. Other bars, however, focus on healthy ingredients with as little processed additives as possible. Ask (or look) for bars with minimal to no added sugar, at least 3g of protein, a double-digit percentage of your daily fiber requirement, and preferably no trans fats.
Veggies and Hummus
A 100g serving of hummus provides 7.9 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, 21% of required daily folate, and 14% of required daily iron, and that’s just the beginning of the laundry list of benefits hummus holds. Paired with crisp veggies like snap peas, carrot sticks, or sliced bell peppers, this snack is delicious and nutritious.
For your corporate wellness program to succeed, your support for your employees must come from all directions. Exhorting them to eat better while only stocking unhealthy snacks is a recipe for frustration and failure. But, if you get creative and draw from the dozens and dozens of healthy snack ideas out there (and don’t forget to ask your employees what they’d like to eat!) you can make it a lot easier and more rewarding for your employees to make the healthiest choices possible.