Breakroom snacks make everything better. Not only are free snacks a brilliant mid-afternoon boost, research reveals that employees who have access to healthy food in their company break room are happier and more productive. While just 16 percent of employees report they have high-quality beverages and free food at their workplace, 67 percent of employees with snacks are “extremely” or “very” happy with their employer.

While providing nuts, granola and other essential snacks to your employees isn’t as costly as other employee perks, it makes a big difference to your people. Entrepreneur Beth Monaghan reports that snacks are a big factor at companies where people look forward to being at work.

Per Entrepreneur, the benefits go well beyond employee happiness and the fact we all work more effectively when we’re not dealing with a hungry tummy or epic blood sugar crash. Three massive benefits of providing food at work include:

  • Creating a “lunch” culture, where employees take regular breaks and form relationships with colleagues.
  • Productivity boosts of up to 20 percent with the right healthy snacks, as well as better concentration and energy.
  • Healthier employee habits, including eating breakfast.

Not all snacks are created equal. While free food can foster goodwill among employees, your people won’t be as productive with low-quality, sugary candy as they will with healthy superfoods in your break room pantry. Here are five snacks that every company should consider offering as an employee perk.

1. Crunch Snacks

If you’ve ever felt that ripping into a bag of chips helped you focus, you may have been onto something. Crunchy snacks are a tool for stress release and enhanced focus, and by offering something a little better than regular old potato chips, you can offer your employees a boost of antioxidants or protein at the same time. Kale chips, organic corn chips, trail mix and roasted almonds are three ways to satisfy mid-afternoon crunchy cravings.

There’s no shortage of healthier options, including Annie’s Organic Snack Mix, Bare Fruit Dried Granny Smith Apples, Better Chip Spinach Kale and Harvest Snaps to stock your breakroom with. Mesirow Financial overhauled it’s break room offerings recently to support collaboration among millennial employees, and made sure their new complimentary snack offerings included veggie chips and organic drinks.

2. Jerky

Jerky has a mixed reputation among healthy snacks, but there’s been a lot of recent innovation in this space that’s brought options that are much lower in sodium and fat and have a great deal more protein content. Many new jerky options are free of additives like MSG and have a lot of protein for a moderate calorie count.

Consider offering some variety in protein snacks for staff, including Chef’s Cut BBQ Chicken Sticks, Turkey Almond Cranberry Epic bars and The New Primal Free Range Turkey Jerky Sticks to satisfy a variety of tastes and preferences. And don’t hesitate to take a cue from Red Ventures, a New Jersey-based firm who offers both meat-based and vegetarian-friendly protein snacks to their employees.

3. Energy Bars

60 percent of people want snacks that boost their energy–and what better way to do it than a nutrient-dense bar filled with nuts, dried fruit, granola or even spirulina? Clinical dietician Helen Mullen states that as part of a varied diet and active lifestyle, bars can be a great choice if they contain fewer ingredients and sugar.

Trading Technologies believes their fully stocked break room has become a recruitment tool. Their “dry bar” compliments refrigerated options and includes energy bars and healthier candies. And who wouldn’t want to work for a company who offered treats like Go Raw Live Granola bars, Nature Valley Chewy Almond and Awake Energy Coconut Apricot Granola Bars?

4. Chocolate

Sometimes, you just need a piece of chocolate. Dark chocolate is healthy in moderation, containing antioxidants that support heart health.

Better yet, dark chocolate stimulates serotonin production in the brain, lending a near-instantaneous mood boost. With available options like barkThins Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels, you can improve your mood while also satisfying your sweet tooth.

Kelly Phillips, a Senior Editor at Forbes, states that their company break room “isn’t Google,” but that Forbes staffers have access to coffees and mood-boosting candy. By simply adding this to your company break room, you’ll be sure your keep your employee’s mood high!

5. Fruit Cups

There’s actually a lot of truth behind the advice to eat “an apple a day.” Apples are filled with good-for-your-gut soluble fiber, contain loads of immune-boosting vitamin C and may even lower your risk for heart disease and high cholesterol. Fruit is great, but going a step further and offering fruit products that are easy and fun to eat is even better.

Fruit cups may be a staple in elementary school cafeterias, but some beloved brands like Del Monte and Motts are working to make fruit cups and apple sauce suitable for adult tastes, including larger serving sizes and sophisticated new flavor combinations.

Healthy snacking is all about variety, and it’s hard to deny the health-boosting benefits of fruit. SAS Institute, who has some of the happiest companies in the U.S., is committed to weekly fruit delivery as an employee perk.

Everyone Eats, So Why Not Make Your Break Room Awesome?

While millennials are notoriously fond of break room snacks and other perks, employees of all ages consider company culture when making decisions about work. Not only do essential break room snacks help you prevent raging hanger at work, they can boost your employee productivity, their health and focus.

Corporate Essentials offers a wide array of options for healthy break room snacking, including organic crunchy snacks, jerky, fruit cups, chocolate, cold brew coffee and much more!

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About Joe Simonovich

Joe has a strong background in marketing and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). The start to his career as a customer service representative has given him a unique foundation and different perspective on almost all business-related situations. Joe is now the Chief Growth Officer (and Director of Creating Awesomeness) at Corporate Essentials. He brings a unique skill set and a hands-on approach to any leadership role and believes that hustle is simply a way of life.