Most often, employee wellness programs tend to focus on health screenings, prevention and workforce education that encourages behavioral changes and better habits among employees. In today’s climate, there’s an increasing belief that long-lasting behavior changes are achieved when both employees are educated, and the work environment promotes healthy choices.
Whether your workplace has a cafeteria, offers snack carts or an employee area with vending machines, it’s possible to provide healthy snack options to employees. Focusing on healthy snacks in the workplace is a great way to pair employee education with a health-conscious environment.
Are Healthy Snacks Really Healthy?
It’s important to note that there are many “healthy snacks” that aren’t as healthy as we think. In fact, Prevention compiled a long list of popular “health foods” that aren’t what they seem. Some of the more common items on the list included:
- Green juices – While full of vitamins and antioxidants, these items are packed with sugar.
- Granola bars – Although these snacks may seem healthy in promoting things such as high fiber or protein, they’re often sugary. What nutrients you do consume are often wiped out by sugar and other fillers.
- Yogurt parfait – These can have as much as 50 grams of sugar. It’s a much wiser option to offer plain yogurt, with fresh fruit options on the side.
Offering Healthy Snacks
Depending on the size of your business and the food options available to employees, small changes can make a big difference. If you have a cafeteria or snack cart on site, speak with a meal planner or nutritionist at your vendor to discuss healthier options.
If your workplace offers vending machines to employees, the American Heart Association offered suggestions for healthy snacks to incorporate into your machines:
- Dried fruit
- Natural apple sauce
- Canned fruit in natural juice
- Trail mix that includes nuts, fruit and seeds only
- Whole-grain crackers, pita chips or rice cakes
- Graham crackers
- Light popcorn
Ask employees what healthy options they would like to see available. Some vendors will offer taste-testing opportunities before adding a selection to the menu. There are also vending companies that specialize in healthy food and drink options, so there are many choices available. When healthier, tasty options are accessible, employee culture can experience a healthy shift in the right direction.
Allison Hutton is an experienced writer, editor, communications professional, researcher and social media consultant. During her more than 15 years of communications and writing experience, Allison has worked with a variety of clients, from small-business owners to Fortune 500 companies. She has an M.S. in entertainment business, a B.A. in communication and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and four children.