Your workday in 2020 is probably a lot different from 2019, but that doesn't change the fact that it can still be a challenge to find quick, nutritious snack options. Grabbing a candy bar or ripping open a bag of chips can feel rewarding in the moment, but ultimately make you feel sluggish and unsatisfied later in the day. So, opting for a healthy snack is always a better option.
Concerns about building and maintaining a healthy immune system have skyrocketed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and making smarter food choices can work toward achieving this. Incorporating nutrient-rich snacks into your diet can help fight disease by supporting your body’s production of immune cells and antibodies, according to a report by Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Plus, maintaining a healthy diet can also reduce your odds of developing other illnesses like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers, according to the Dietary Guidelines outlined by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP).
A Note About Office Snacking During the Pandemic
Since reducing contact through social distancing is a top way to help keep your team safe, adding healthier, individual snacking options to your breakroom can help. Providing packaged snacks like healthy bars, that employees can enjoy at their workspaces instead of gathering in the breakroom, is a great way to keep your employees energized from 6 feet apart!
Choose from a variety of snacking options for the workplace breakroom that make it easier for employees to make these critical healthy choices. Here are ways you can turn that bag of sugary candy into a bag of lightly salted cashews.
Choosing a Healthy Snack for the Workplace
What exactly makes a healthy snack?
Snacks should be relatively small in size and calorie count. Focus on eating a couple of snacks a day that are high in fiber or contain both carbohydrates and protein for short- and long-term energy.
Knowing that your snacks should offer healthy energy and satiation between meals, you can pick a few favorite options. Here are 10 snacks that will help you stay full and feel great at work.
1. Snack Bars
Protein bars are an excellent option for keeping your stomach full and happy between meals. Be careful which bars you choose, though – some can be filled with added sugars and heavily processed.
When choosing a protein bar or snack bar, look for bars that list only a few ingredients, like RxBars. Many of these snack bars have labels you can read easily and ingredients that you’ve heard of before. They are conveniently packaged, easy to eat on the go and will leave you feeling satisfied. Plus, they can help you reach the recommended daily protein levels from the ODPHP Dietary Guidelines.
Jerky is high in protein, which means you will feel fuller for longer. It’s also filled with zinc and iron, which can help keep your energy levels up and power you through your day. Plus, it has that satisfying chewiness.
Store-bought jerky can be filled with sodium and added sugars, so be sure to read the label before consuming a giant bag of jerky from your breakroom. Consider an all-natural option, like Fusion Jerky, made with no preservatives or artificial ingredients.
Be conscious of food smells when bringing fish snacks or lunches into your workplace. It’s never a good idea to heat tilapia or salmon in your office microwave. But canned chicken or tuna can be a delicious way to provide lots of protein in a small package, which is key to an energy-boosting diet, according to Harvard Medical School. Canned tuna is a great source of nutrients, such as protein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
Canned tuna or chicken can also serve as a full meal when added to crackers, salad, or bread. This is a great option if you left your lunch at home or need something easy in the office. Canned meats can also last a long time on breakroom shelves.
It is often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s also a meal where people load up on unnecessary sugars that have them feeling fatigued by lunch. So, when it comes to picking healthy breakfast snacks, think low sugar and high protein.
Special K Cereal has a lower sugar count than most cereals, and if you add fruit to your bowl, it will make a great breakfast that is workplace friendly.
Crackers and cheese, crackers and hummus, crackers and tuna – the possibilities are endless! If you’re an office manager, having crackers in the breakroom will give employees a versatile snack option that is also low in calories.
This convenient cracker with canned chicken pairing is a filling, individually packaged lunch option that is great to keep on hand for your team members. And like other snacks on this list, crackers have a long shelf life. Plus, they can be an awesome alternative to highly processed chips for employees that love savory flavors.
One word of warning for those eating crackers in the workplace: some crackers crumble quite a bit, so this snack can find its way into keyboards, carpets, chairs and clothes. Be sure to keep air dusters on hand to help with removing unwanted crumbs from tight spaces.
6. Fruit Snacks
Fruit snacks offer a great nostalgic feeling of those childhood snacks we all loved, and now there are healthy options you can feel great about eating! Snacks like dried fruit or canned pineapple can cure a sweet tooth while providing vital vitamins and nutrients.
Fruit also makes for an easy-to-grab snack that employees can eat at their desks while continuing to work (think apples). Some vendors now offer individually wrapped pieces of fruit, minimizing unwanted contact that can occur with bulk produce.
Nuts are a good source of fat, fiber, and protein – a trifecta of nutrition! Emerald almonds and nuts are nutritious and can fill you up during a busy day at work. One serving of almonds contains 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, plus vitamin E. Other healthy nut options include walnuts, pistachios, pecans and many more.
As the American Heart Association points out, nuts offer a great option to satisfy cravings for crunch, all while providing healthy fats.
Oats are one of the healthiest grains and a huge source of fiber and antioxidants. Oats contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which gives you an increased feeling of fullness, according to Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Feeling full will leave you snacking less, which will keep you away from the candy bars. Like many of the other snacks listed here, oatmeal and granola both have long shelf lives, so there’s no need to worry if you need to store them for a while.
While bulk tins of granola were once a popular breakroom staple, help keep your team healthy by stocking the breakroom with individual bags of granola.
Smoothies might not sound like an easy snack to have in the workplace, but nowadays, it’s easier than ever to consume a smoothie without all the fuss. You can get a smoothie in a pouch that is easy to drink and doesn’t require a blender. How cool is that? Vitamin-rich smoothies are the perfect swap with the bottled soft drink, which can put you over recommended daily sugar allowances, according to this report from the T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
What’s more, since the ingredients of smoothies are churned into something you can drink, they’re absorbed by your body faster and require less digestive effort. If your job requires you to move, a smoothie is a great option to satisfy hunger and keep you moving without the stomachache.
Pickles may be an unexpected snack to have in the breakroom, but you may want to consider adding them to the rotation. Pickles are filled with probiotics, which can help with digestion. And the vinegar in pickle juice may help keep your blood sugar levels even, which can benefit people who are at risk for diabetes. And with many companies now providing individually packaged pickles, it is easier than ever to offer these to your team.
Other vegetables, like celery and carrots sticks, are also healthy options that are perfect for an on-the-go snack, given that they are chock-full of energy-boosting carbohydrates.
Be aware that certain vegetables can be a bit on the loud side compared to some of the softer snacks on our list, so if you’re in an open office, it may be a good idea to opt for something less distracting.
Office Snacks Can Help Fuel Your Work Day
Investing in healthy office snacks is investing in the health and well-being of you and your employees. Filling your workplace with snacks that offer plenty of nutritional value can help keep your co-workers feeling energized and more focused throughout the day.