All employees and employers desire increased productivity. One way to boost productivity and be more efficient at work is to eat healthy and stay physically active. Healthy eating and exercise also boost health, wellness, and optimize well-being.
Another part of healthy living is to understand your family history when it comes to medical conditions and chronic diseases. It’s important to know your health genealogy so you understand which diseases and conditions you might be at a higher risk of developing. This way you can take the best steps to take care of your health.
Healthy eating is important for everyone, regardless of your genetics. Making good dietary choices can not only lower your risk for many diseases, but it can also boost health and wellness, plus increase productivity at work and home.
Nutrition and Work Performance
It is no surprise that our diet can affect work performance. A healthy diet with plenty of foods that give us energy and provide vitamins and minerals has a number of benefits for employees. Those benefits include improved energy levels, increased productivity, better focus, enhanced concentration, and fewer employee sick days.
Have you ever eaten a sugary snack during the mid-afternoon slump and felt even more tired after you ate? The crash you feel after is a result of the unhealthy snack choice.
A high-sugar snack may give us a short boost of energy with the increase in blood glucose, but as soon as our blood glucose levels decrease, we may feel drowsy again. Also, carbohydrates and sugar do not stay in our stomach as long as protein and fat, so they may leave us feeling hungry quicker.
Some of us may reach for caffeine throughout the day to get a quick zap of energy, focus, or concentration. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that can help improve focus and concentration. Moderate caffeine consumption from coffee and tea can also have some health benefits.
So while caffeine has benefits, it doesn’t come without some cons. Consuming caffeine later in the day can interfere with sleep. It can also increase anxiety or restlessness for some individuals.
Relying on sugar or caffeine may boost our energy and productivity in the short-term, but there are also reasons to reconsider our snack choices and not go overboard on caffeine consumption. It can be easy to replace these options with healthy snacks.
Is snacking healthy?
There are definite benefits of snacking during the day. Healthy snacks are a great opportunity to get the nutrients that you may be lacking, such as fiber, protein, vitamins, or minerals. Healthy snacking can help lower your cholesterol, which in turn can help to lower life insurance rates.
Let’s say you don’t enjoy eating a large breakfast because you are not hungry or in a rush to get out the door. It may be many hours before you have time to eat your lunch, so a mid-morning snack will help give you some nutrients and keep you energized until lunchtime.
Snacks are important for kids because they have smaller stomachs and may not eat as much during mealtime. It’s also an opportunity to help them get the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients they need for bodily functions.
Snacking has a bad reputation because some snack foods are highly processed and are lacking in nutrients. Chips, cookies, and sweet treats may seem like snacks but all they provide are extra sugar, calories, fat, and sodium.
Examples of Healthy Snacks
A healthy snack should include at least two food groups and contain the nutrients fiber and protein. Fiber helps give us a feeling of fullness and protein takes longer to be digested, which also helps us feel full longer. Fat can be included in snacks, but it should mostly come from heart-healthy unsaturated fat.
Fruits and vegetables are always great as snacks. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and high in vitamins and minerals. Many Americans don’t get enough fruits and vegetables, so snacking provides another opportunity to consume these two important food groups.
Many also contain antioxidants to help boost health and prevent diseases. Eating plenty of these two food groups can also boost immunity, which means fewer sick days for employees. Pair your favorite fruits or vegetables with a source of protein for a well-rounded option.
Here are some examples of healthy snacks that will keep you energized and productive throughout the day. All of these snacks have fiber, protein, two food groups, and many other vitamins and minerals.
- Greek yogurt with berries
- Apple slices and string cheese
- Celery with peanut butter
- Low-fat chocolate milk with raspberries
- Nuts, cheese cubes, and a sliced banana
- Red bell peppers and hummus
- Sliced avocado with edamame
- A hard-boiled egg with grapes
- Low-fat cottage cheese with blueberries
- Lean deli turkey or ham with whole-grain crackers
- Sliced kiwi with low-fat yogurt
- A side salad with chickpeas, carrots, and tomatoes tossed with olive oil and vinegar
- Sliced cucumbers with tuna
Many of these snacks are also kid-friendly, which can help improve the health of your entire family.
Employee Snack Programs
Some companies or organizations may have the option of providing office snacks to employees. This is a great idea and can save money and time as long as there are healthy options.
Easy access to snacks is one way to create a comfortable office work culture. Healthy snack options may require a little more preparation and creativity but will benefit the health of employees in the long run.
Remote Employee Snacks
When working remotely or working from home, it can be tempting to dive into the refrigerator or pantry. If you have a more flexible work schedule it may be easier to eat off and on all day instead of sticking to regular meals and snacks.
One great tip is to have healthy snacks on hand and limit the unhealthy options. This starts with your grocery shopping. Make a list of the foods you need for your healthy snacks during the week and use that while at the supermarket.
You can also set an alarm or timer for snack and mealtime. This will help keep you on a regular schedule and out of the kitchen at random times all day long. Keep chips, sweet treats, cookies, and other processed snacks out of the house or limit the consumption of these options.
Healthy snacks are just one of the ways to keep employees healthy and staying productive and efficient. By either offering healthy snacks or educating employees on how to plan and prepare healthy snacks, you are boosting the health of your entire company.
Melissa Morris writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, USInsuranceAgents.com. She has a master of science degree in exercise science, is an ACSM certified exercise physiologist, and is an ISSN certified sports nutritionist.