We’ve all been there: you’re either bored or stressed out trying to complete that report by 4pm and you have one hand in the snack bowl. Even if you have the best of intentions, the lure of snacks at work is too hard to refuse - you just lunge for the comfort of that chocolate biscuit.
While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional bikkie or chocolate bar, making a habit of it can have a detrimental effect on your quality of life, productivity and morale.
According to a survey by Medibank Private, Australian employees with poor health diets were absent from work up to nine times more than their healthier work colleagues each year.
When staff are hungry or not eating properly, they will get more distracted easily. They are likely to be less productive and focused. Certain foods can help improve concentration and memory, including fruit, dark chocolate and nuts.
When 3pm rolls around, you start to feel sluggish and sleepy, you have trouble concentrating on the task at hand. You might even feel a little snappy. The afternoon slump is often caused by dehydration, so ensure that water and healthy snacks are easily accessible in the office kitchen to keep employees hydrated, happy and productive.
A diet of fast food, processed food and foods high in sugar can increase your risk of depression, according to research conducted by Manchester Metropolitan University. Eating healthier can boost your self-esteem and make you feel happier.
According to Roy Morgan Research, two out of every five Australians say they ‘tend to snack throughout the day.’ So if you must munch on something in the afternoon, make sure it’s one of these healthy work snacks! Check out some of our healthy snack ideas below that will keep you feeling full and energized throughout the work day.
If you’re after a sweet snack, swap out the candy bar for a piece of fruit. Try a different piece of fruit every day so you don’t get bored. Grab an apple, mandarin, pear, banana, pear, grapes, nectarine or whatever is in season to get a good variety of nutrients and fibre.
If you like a bit of crunch, choose nuts over chips. They’re packed with heart-healthy fats including fibre, protein, anti-oxidants, unsaturated fats and other vitamins and minerals.
Plain popcorn is a great healthy snack that’s low in calories and high in fibre and anti-oxidants. Plus, it’s also delicious.
There are many health benefits to eating dark chocolate, including
A wonderful alternative to crackers – simply chop cucumbers into bite-sized pieces and top them off with a little cream cheese, Greek yoghurt or feta.
These hassle-free and mess-free snacks are so easy and quick to prepare ahead of time. They’re high in vitamins, minerals and protein.
Skip the high-fat, high-salt snacks and munch on fresh veggies instead. Try carrot sticks, celery sticks, grape tomatoes or capsicum slices with hummus. Hummus is made from chickpeas and is a much healthier option than other cream-based dips.
Yoghurt isn’t just a breakfast food - it’s a perfect afternoon snack. Packed full of vitamins, minerals, protein and probiotics, yoghurt is good for digestion, bone density, it can help reduce blood pressure and boosts the immune system.
Jazz up your yoghurt pot with granola, nuts, fruit and a drizzle of honey. Yum!
Try fresh guacamole or combine salsa with avocado for an extra punch of flavour.
Instead of grabbing a can of Coke when 3pm hits, consider other healthy beverage options, such as water, green tea or juice.
Instead of the normal juice extraction method which uses blades, cold-pressed juices press the fruit and vegetables, releasing the juice. This means the nutrients in the juice aren’t destroyed. It’s a great way to get all your vitamins and minerals in one serving and a great alternative to a can of Coke.
For a thicker, creamier or richer alternative to a cold-pressed juice, try a smoothie instead.
If you want something warm and comforting, heat a packet of plain instant oatmeal in the microwave for a quick and satisfying treat that will fill you up. Choose plain oatmeal and add your favourite toppings, such as nuts, fruit and a drizzle of honey for sweetness.
A healthier and all natural cookie, it’s so simple to prepare and it’s delicious. Simply cut the core out of the apple, slice into thick rounds and top with peanut butter and sultanas or chopped dates.
No longer eaten during hikes – this yummy snack can include a mix of dried fruit, nuts, seeds, coconut flakes and mini chocolate chips.
Make a batch of hardboiled eggs on the weekend to have on hand throughout your work week. Slice the egg in half and top it off with some avocado or a drizzle of Sriracha for a spicy kick.
Now that you have a better understanding of how food can affect your employees’ productivity and mood, you can help them by implementing some of these healthy snack ideas at your workplace. Before you freak out about the budget, just remember that small changes can make a big difference. If you’re doing so already, why not start with office fruit delivery once a week? You can make a difference in your employees’ health and well-being and your company’s success.