Workplace wellness should be a priority for your organization—but no one likes a company that simply preaches. Employees should have the necessary support and encouragement to practice healthy living right at work. Offering healthy office snacks as a free, voluntary benefit is a great way of enabling workers to do exactly that.
Of course, if you’re not a nutrition expert, it can be difficult to know what kind of snacks are best to offer your coworkers. Here’s a list of snacks that keep employees fueled while also potentially benefiting their oral (and overall) health.
Nuts are a nutritious snack, and since they’re easy to store without going bad, you can buy them in bulk. Nuts are a great option to offer because they have unsaturated fats, protein, fiber and vitamin E, so they make for a perfect snack whenever hunger strikes.
Almonds are a particularly smart choice, as they are low in sugar, but also pack a punch of calcium. Just remember to store them in a closed, labeled container so any employees with nut allergies never come in contact with them.
Speaking of calcium, dairy products also make great office snacks. Known for providing structure and strength to our teeth and bones, calcium does wonders for the body in many ways. But here’s the thing—your body doesn’t make calcium on its own. You need to consume calcium-rich foods to get enough of it.
As recommended by the National Institutes of Health, both men and women need between 1,000 and 1,300 mg of calcium a day. So it’s a good idea to stock the office fridge with dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt for employees to snack on.
However, it’s important to know that dairy products aren’t the only way to get calcium. Soy and almond milk (as well as orange juice) are other good options to store in the fridge if any dairy-sensitive individuals work at the company.
Let’s put all the water-cooler jokes aside for a second. A hydrated body is a healthy one. Staff members don’t just get hungry during the workday, they also get thirsty. The water will quench employees’ thirst, but also help to wash bacteria away from their teeth and gums. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), “Drinking water with fluoride (called ‘nature’s cavity fighter’) is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do to help prevent cavities.”
Fruits and Vegetables
You likely know that vegetables and fruits are smart snacks, but do you know which ones can also promote a healthy mouth? To start, stock up on options that will keep your staff chewing, like carrots, celery and apples. These vegetables and fruits can scrape left-behind bits of food and bacteria away from the teeth and gums, just like a toothbrush.
Plus, all that chewing increases saliva in the mouth, which helps to wash away acidic materials from the enamel. The ADA also notes that since fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber, they help to clean your teeth by naturally balancing the amount of sugars present.
Now that you know what foods make for the best healthy office snacks, here’s another special way to promote wellness in the workplace: Consider offering free toothbrushes and toothpaste to fellow employees. Leave a bin in each bathroom with individually packed toothbrushes and travel-sized toothpastes and mouthwashes. Encourage staff to keep them at their desks so they’re always available, but keep the bins fully stocked so your team knows they can always freshen up at work.