The Evolving World of Workplace Snacking

Why Your Employees Expect Nutritious Options, and Why You Should Take Note

Snacking is a favorite topic of, well, just about everyone. We all have our own favorite types of snacks but almost everyone enjoys eating a nice treat between meals. And that universal love of snacking is the exact reason why more and more businesses are providing workplace snacks as an included perk — some are even providing free lunch and breakfast to their employees.

Studies have shown that when employers provide free snacks, it increases employees’ workplace satisfaction, leading to higher employee retention and even increased sales. Two thirds of those surveyed in a study by online grocer Peapod said the presence of free snacks at work made them extremely happy or very happy with their current job, increasing employee happiness by an average of 11%.

But not all snacks are created equal. “Workplace snacking” was once thought of as soda and a machine full of candy bars, chips, and cookies. The Centers for Disease Control even warned against workplace snacking as detrimental to employee health, using data based on the presence of high-fat, high-sodium, low-nutrition food.

All that is evolving, though. We now know that healthy snacks can help ward off an afternoon productivity slump and enhance overall job satisfaction. Studies show millennials place more importance on workplace food than other age groups, and they increasingly expect healthy options. Employers are taking note, since millennials now represent the largest age group in the workforce.

So as you’re stocking your office to keep a happy staff, which snacks are best? The good news is you have so many options to provide nutritious noshing options for your employees, all without ever having to visit your local donut shop.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

  • Bananas are the most popular office snack, according to the Peapod study. They’re low-cost, full of potassium, and their natural sugar can help perk up someone in the midst of an afternoon slump.
  • Apples are a good workplace option. Besides reportedly keeping doctors away, they contain quercetin, a compound that can aid in brain health.
  • Berries: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and goji berries all have antioxidants and can boost energy.
  • Edamame, or young soybeans, are high in protein and B vitamins.
  • Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and turnip greens contain folate, which contributes to enhanced brain function and can ward off depression.

Crunchy, Salty Goodness

  • Nuts are popular for their long shelf life. Whether you’re choosing pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, or almonds, they’re convenient and high in magnesium, which breaks down glucose into energy.
  • Protein bars can be a wonderful midday energy boost. Try to choose a natural variety without added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
  • Chips can be a delicious option, but don’t go for the high-fat, low-nutrition classic potato chip. Consider chips baked from kale, sweet potatoes, beets, or parsnips.

Other Overlooked Winners

  • Hummus is a complex carbohydrate that can add flavor to what might be considered boring vegetables.
  • Hard-boiled eggs are low-cost and rich in protein and vitamin B. They also make an excellent addition to salads.
  • Dark chocolate contains theobromine, a natural stimulant that can boost your employees’ moods, as well as antioxidants.
  • Greek yogurt contains probiotic cultures and is good for digestion.
  • Chia seeds contain vitamin B that makes them a good energy booster. They can be added to hummus or yogurt.
  • Gum. Okay, it’s not a snack, but it can help keep employees alert throughout the day.

How do you keep your employees hydrated? Offer coffee, green tea, and plenty of water. Consider offering seltzer water, or water enhanced with natural flavors such as lemon, fresh mint, berry, or cucumber.

Are you convinced workplace snacking is something you should be offering your team? If so, you’re in the majority — two thirds of employers say that food is part of their employee retention strategy. Done correctly, it can be a boon to your workforce and can make your employees feel more appreciated.

Junk Food Shouldn’t Be an Everyday Staple

You wouldn’t put a cigarette machine in your office lobby, and it’s time to begin thinking of low-nutrition snacks the same way.

Consider eliminating soda from your workplace. While it’s low-cost and can boost energy temporarily, soda is high in sugar, and its detrimental effect on human health is well known. Even sugar-free diet soda isn’t a healthful drink option.

Additionally, sugary snacks like candy bars or cookies should not be a regular occurrence or constantly available in your workplace. Studies have shown that tired people are more likely to choose high-sugar foods when they need a pick-me-up, and you don’t want to foster an environment where nutritional choices negatively impact productivity and employee health.

When you’re setting up your snack-enhanced workplace be sure to check online retailers like Blue Dog Supplies for the best deals. From seltzer water to distilled water, as well as a huge selection of snacks and breakroom supplies, stores like Blue Dog Supplies can help you create a snacking environment for the 21st century workforce.

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