Employee and workplace productivity is a little like breathing– it’s vital in keeping your company alive and thriving. And when you’re thinking deeply about it, you may be overlooking one of the most obvious and easiest ways to improve your employee productivity: FOOD. It may be time to rethink what your company offers in terms of office snacks for productivity.
According to Harvard Business Review, the kind of foods we use to fuel our bodies largely affect our performance — more so than most people think. If you feel sluggish and have a hard time focusing on a task, blame it on your food! The ingredients found in your food once absorbed, enter your bloodstream and contribute to how you move, feel, and think.
Another study conducted with nearly 20,000 employees who worked at three large U.S. companies stated that those who ate an unhealthy diet were 66% more likely to report productivity loss compared with their co-workers who ate whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
It all shows how powerful food is– it fuels the most energetic, inspired part of our workday. Besides hydration and sleep, the food we eat has an important impact on our motivation and attention levels throughout the day.
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Food And Productivity
Do you ever wish you could accomplish more in your workday without hitting a late afternoon crash? We’ve all been there and let’s be honest — it sucks.
The culprit? Your BRAIN. Even though it represents only two percent of your body weight, your thinking organ is responsible for more than 20 percent of your total energy expenditure — which means it’s in constant need of good fuel to keep it functioning optimally.
So how can you do that? The answer is simple: Eat healthy snack foods that can boost your productivity and help you reach your workday goals! Eating a varied diet rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber will help you nourish and stimulate your brain so you can be as prolific and creative as you want to be in your daily tasks.
Additionally, food fuels performance. The fuel that food provides is in the form of glucose, which allows brains to stay alert. Here’s a fun fact: Glucose is necessary to facilitate the constant firing of signals going on inside your head every day. Your brain will consume large amounts of glucose when it’s dealing with mentally challenging work, and low glucose levels will quickly lead to cognitive impairment.
So if you’re snacking on donuts and potato chips in the afternoon, your productivity is probably slipping by around 1 PM.
In conclusion, your food choices may be the most influential variable you can control that relates to the health, vitality, and functionality of your precious brain. If you’re not providing it with the energy it needs to work, you can kiss your dreams of a productive day goodbye!
Choosing The Right Office Fuel
You don’t have to be a health or fitness company to recognize the value of having healthy snacks at the office. Because employees are at the heart of every business, what’s good for your employees is good for productivity — and healthy snacks are one effective way to nourish and care for them.
Therefore, when you want to take your business culture up a notch, start by thinking about snacks. From fresh fruit to raw vegetables to whole-grain crackers, offering snacks that are good for the body is a great way to improve your office culture.
Let your employees know you’re thinking about their overall health and well-being, and you will communicate that you’re a company worth sticking with for the long haul.
Still not convinced? Read our previous article to know the great reasons why you should consider keeping healthy snacks on hand: 7 Powerful Benefits Of Healthy Snacks At Work
And if you’re now looking for specific snacks that will give your employees sustained energy, clear focus, and sharp thinking all through their workday, look no further. Supercharge their day with these 12 productivity boosters:
1. Trail Mix
Each nut has its own nutrients and fat levels, so a great way to get a good balance is by making a trail mix. This filling combo of Nuts and Dried Fruits has a good balance of all three macronutrients– healthy fats, protein, and carbs. What’s more, both foods contain lots of fiber that can help keep you full between meals.
Because of that, a golf ball-sized portion should be enough to keep your employees’ energy going without being unhealthy throughout the day. Therefore, this is a perfect option if you need to maintain your energy for long periods.
2. Greek Yogurt
Plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt is a great office snack because it’s loaded with protein, which gives you and your employees energy. It’s also packed with probiotics, which improves the immune system and decreases stomach issues. There’s also vitamin B12 in there to help red blood cells, brain functions, and DNA synthesis.
Apart from the mentioned benefits, this super-snack also contains tyrosine, an amino acid that produces both dopamine and noradrenaline. These neurotransmitters help boost your mood and behavior. So if you want to boost workplace productivity, this could be the best option to ensure your employees are on their best behavior.
3. Granola Bars
A granola bar keeps well in your employees’ desk drawer for a quick snack and it can provide them with more than one health benefit. Apart from the fact that it’s a great source of Protein and Fiber, Granola bars are generally composed of rolled oats, honey & dry fruits and are known to be superb energy boosters.
A granola bar is a concentrated form of energy that doesn’t pump your body with unhealthy sugars. It gives your employees the energy they need without any ‘crash’ or sluggishness.
All in all, a Granola bar is a great option to boost workplace productivity. Granola bars contain vitamins, minerals, and all the necessary energy your employees need to keep them on their feet through the day, without taking them down.
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Oatmeal is a traditional snack to enjoy at work, at home, and whenever it pleases you. For one thing, one serving of oatmeal (about a half-cup of dried oats) will get you over 70% of a day’s worth of iron, 20% vitamin A, and 35% vitamin B-6 alongside carbohydrates and fiber.
It’s recommended that productivity peaks need about 25 grams of glucose in the bloodstream, and a bowl of oatmeal in the office can get your employees to that level. But how?
When you want your employees to be at peak performance, you want their blood sugar to be high enough to supply them. When their blood sugar is high enough to supply plentiful energy, of course, they’re going to perform their best.
5. Energy Balls
Energy balls are typically made from oats, nut butter, sweetener, and other add-ins like dried fruit and coconut. These are so perfect for those cozy days when your employees are stuck inside working.
Energy balls have a satiating combination of protein, good carbs, healthy fats, and high fiber. Each ball offers your employees between 100-250 calories depending on the ingredients. Also, energy balls are portable, so they are the perfect healthy on-the-go snacks during a very busy workday.
Jerky is a shelf-stable, high-protein snack that can satisfy your hunger during the workday. It is a snack full of energy, and it can fuel you through a vigorous workout.
One ounce (28 grams) of beef jerky has 8 grams of protein for only 70 calories. What’s more, it’s rich in iron, an important mineral for maintaining blood health and energy levels.
Just make sure to look for uncured jerky with low sodium and few ingredients. You can also find turkey, chicken, and salmon jerky for your employees that don’t eat red meat.
Avocados are full of heart-healthy fats — monounsaturated fats that lower cortisol levels and omega-3’s which help boost your mood. They’re rich in folate, which helps prevent the build-up of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain.
In other words, providing avocados to your employees can help them get over their afternoon slump. Avocados will help decrease their stress levels and increase their well-being, all of which goes a long way in being more productive.
Also, research has found that that monounsaturated fats, fiber, and lutein found in avocados can improve memory and problem-solving skills.
The best way to eat avocado as a snack is with whole-grain chips or crackers. Guacamole, with antioxidant-rich tomatoes and onions, increases their benefit.
There’s a reason blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are always on the best-for-you food lists. The antioxidant-packed berries do more than fight off disease, stop belly bloat, and curb your cravings. They’re also linked to enhancing cognitive ability.
Berries are a major memory-boosting fruit– they contain flavonoids which have been found to help improve memory. This makes berries one of the best healthy office snacks on the market.
In addition to that, when it comes to staying alert throughout the day, a handful of berries goes a long way. Not only are they packed with many vitamins and minerals but they’re low on the glycemic index which means they don’t spike your blood sugar — giving you stable and sustained energy to focus on your important tasks.
Best of all, your employees can enjoy them on their own, throw them into a salad, or make a nutritious shake!
Tuna is a great source of protein and there are so many ways to prepare and eat it. So many dieters throw the tuna onto a bed of greens with a squeeze of lemon for an instant, healthy, protein-rich salad.
Some may prefer a sandwich, and others keep vacuum-sealed tuna pouches on hand which is also a convenient snack that doesn’t need to be drained and can be stored and eaten at work.
Whatever it is, this tasty and filling snack is perfect as an afternoon pick-me-up to get your employees by until dinner.
A serving of tuna contains 69 percent of your daily dose of vitamin B6, which according to a number of studies, is linked to motivation. That’s because lacking B6 leads to feelings of depression — and when we’re not feeling quite like ourselves, it’s harder to be productive.
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10. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are one of the most convenient and nutritious snacks you can offer to your employees. In fact, eggs contain a small amount of almost every nutrient that we need.
One large egg (50 grams) packs over 6 grams of protein, in addition to iron, calcium, and vitamins A, B6, B12, and D, among other nutrients. Eggs are chock-full of a B vitamin called choline, which is known to help improve memory and speed up reaction times.
All things considered, eggs are an awesome office snack food. They’re inexpensive, portable, and can be a major part of your “eating for productivity” plan for your employees!
11. Almond and Peanut Butter
One serving of peanut butter contains a whopping 8 grams of protein and 2-3 grams of fiber. Great on crackers or fresh fruit, peanut butter is a healthy snack that will fill your employees up and keep them going.
Peanut butter also contains choline, an essential nutrient that can positively affect liver function, healthy brain development, muscle movement, the nervous system, and metabolism.
If you’re looking to add variety to your office snacks, almond butter is an up-and-coming alternative that also packs a serious protein punch. One tablespoon of almond butter contains 3.4 grams of protein, 11% of your daily value of magnesium, and 3% of your daily value of iron.
All in all, these high-protein nut butters make excellent snacks to boost productivity in your workplace!
12. Dark Chocolate
Yes, you read that right! Dark chocolate has an abundance of nutrients that contribute to your work performance. The sugar and caffeine in dark chocolate give you just the right amount of energy to get work done without getting the post-coffee jitters.
Studies indicate that dark chocolate is good for you! The magnesium in chocolate also helps relieve stress and anxiety. Like berries, there are flavonoids found in dark chocolate. These can help preserve your brainpower!
Lastly, enjoying a piece of dark chocolate can lower your stress levels and elevate your mood because this mineral plays an important role in cortisol (the stress hormone) reduction. So if you want to reward your employees with a little treat, you can never go wrong with dark chocolate!
There You Have It!
At its most foundational level, food is fuel. The afternoon may drag on but, with the proper fuel, your employees don’t have to. People need it in order to stay focused, productive, energetic and happy.
When you provide healthy snacks for team members, not only will it help them meet deadlines, improve productivity, and not fall asleep on their keyboards each afternoon, they also have access to the fuel needed to perform to their potential.
Essentially, healthy snacks can keep employees feeling good so they’re better able to focus on the tasks at hand. You are nourishing their bodies with foods that empower them to complete their workday goals!
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