Need a few healthy snacks to stock your workplace vending machine? Several items will do the trick. There are a variety of options that have both long shelf lives and help lower disease risks. Your employees will appreciate some nutritious options, especially when the healthy snacks will result in better physical and mental health, fewer sick days and a boost in workplace productivity.
1. Greek Yogurt or Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
High-protein, low-fat dairy foods make the perfect mid-morning (or mid-afternoon) workplace snack. Boosting protein means employees will feel fuller longer. Plus, high-protein diets aid in healthy weight management, says a 2015 study in the International Journal of Obesity. Look for non-fat individual Greek yogurt containers, or individually-portioned low-fat cottage cheese to fill refrigerated workplace vending machines.
2. Pretzels with Hummus
Snack packs containing both pretzels and hummus in a convenient 2-in-1 container are perfect for employees who want to curb salt cravings without reaching for greasy potato chips. This snack is packed with healthy fats and some protein, so it’ll help boost satiety between meals—and get a sodium fix going without feeling guilty.
3. Nuts and Seeds
You can’t go wrong when providing nuts and seeds to employees. These nutrient-dense snacks are packed with fiber, heart-healthy fats and protein. While nuts and seeds are slightly higher in calories than other healthy snacks, they don’t promote weight gain. In fact, just the opposite is true, according to a 2014 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers in several studies say boosting nut intake long term is associated with lower body weights. Be sure to make unsalted nuts available to employees, especially those watching sodium intake for heart disease prevention.
4. Fresh Fruits and Veggies
Finding fresh fruit and veggie vending machine options for employees is ideal, since many Americans aren’t meeting daily fruit and veggie intake guidelines (2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of veggies daily for 2,000-calorie diets). Fruits and veggies even lower cavity risks when eaten regularly. Pick individually packaged apple slices, cubed melon, fruit cups (packed in 100 percent fruit juice), apple sauce without added sugar, individually packaged carrot or celery sticks and pre-made vegetable salads in sealed containers.
5. Low-Sugar Protein Bars and Shakes
Protein bars and shakes are convenient, so they work well for healthy employees who are always on the go. Many protein bars and shakes contain 10 to 20 grams of protein, and are often rich in fiber (another satiety booster). Look for low-sugar bars containing fewer than 5 grams of sugar and at least 3 grams of fiber. Try low-sugar, protein-fortified coffee drinks for employees who need a quick caffeine pick-me-up.
As long as popcorn isn’t loaded with caramel glaze, it’s a fairly low-calorie snack—believe it or not. Because popcorn is rich in fiber, it’s a heart-healthy way for employees to fill up without the extra calories. Three cups of oil-popped popcorn are classified as a 1-ounce serving of whole grains, and contains just over 150 calories.
7. Reduced-Fat Cheese Sticks
Looking for another convenient protein- and calcium-rich item for a workplace vending machine? Consider reduced-fat cheese sticks to round out your display. This option is much lower in calories and saturated fat than regular cheese, but it’s still an excellent source of essential nutrients.
Many people think of vending machine snacks as junk food sure to pack on pounds quickly, but it doesn’t have to be that way at your company. Give employees the best chance at a healthy lifestyle by stocking machines with a variety of nutrient-dense options.