Like most workplaces, your office kitchen is a popular space. And it makes sense--eating small, frequent snacks revs up your metabolism and helps normalize blood sugar, allowing your staff to stay sharp and energized throughout the day.

But when employees reach for the easy, unhealthy options, regular snacking can actually become a bane to productivity. A sugary soda might provide a quick burst of energy, but your blood sugar levels will inevitably crash. Processed or sugar-based products just don't provide sustained energy for the standard eight-hour workday.

Setting the tone for a healthier work environment starts with you. By supplying your office with healthy, nutrient-dense snacks, you can combat these negative workplace behaviors and help your staff stay fuller and more focused.

The more others see positive, healthy behavior, the more willing they'll be to follow suit. Whether it's healthy snacking or regular exercise habits, creating a culture of healthy behaviors can vastly improve productivity and office morale.

Make Healthy Eating More Accessible

Instead of stocking the communal kitchen like a Halloween display, here are a few healthier options to consider:

1. Carrots and hummus: Carrots are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants and an excellent source of vitaminA. Two tablespoons of hummus contain 2 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and only 0.4 grams of saturated fat. This combination of protein and fiber will keep you feeling fuller for longer than that bag of chips. Plus, it boasts high levels of phosphorous and magnesium, among other minerals, which is essential for proper immune function and regulating blood sugar levels.

2. Greek yogurt and granola: If not for the taste, you should eat Greek yogurt for the probiotics. Probiotics help increase the good bacteria in your gut and keep the bad bacteria at bay. Combine that with quality granola--perhaps with some added flaxseed--and your body will run like a well-oiled machine. Consider buying individual servings to makes these healthy snacks more accessible.

3. Apples and peanut butter: An apple a day might not keep the doctor away, but apples still provide a number of health benefits, including staving off constipation and controlling weight. Peanut butter is also a rich source of protein, with more than 8 grams in just 2 tablespoons. Plus, it tastes great.

4. Almonds: More people are falling in love with almonds for their health benefits. They help with respiratory and heart disorders, anemia, impotency, and diabetes, to name a few. Regular consumption can also help support healthy hair and skin and balance cholesterol levels.

5. Dark chocolate: You don't have to give up all the fun stuff. If you must reach for sugar, go for dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has significant concentrations of minerals such as potassium and magnesium, and it helps support heart health.

Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. Just as you'd invest in new technology to help your team members better function in their roles, it's also important to provide a comfortable, healthy work environment.

When you stock the office kitchen with healthy, nutrient-rich options, employees can choose a quick snack that's also good for them. And by promoting these positive behaviors, you'll be rewarded with a happier, more energized workforce.

Published on: Feb 2, 2015