It’s a new month. You’ve set new goals and have all the motivation to achieve them! One of your goals is to reduce sugar intake. You have a serious weakness for sugary snacks – chocolate, baked goods, even lollies when you need a major hit. Who can say no to a homemade brownie or a good Nutella-filled doughnut?! (Cue – rumbling stomach and salivation). BUT it’s starting to catch up with you. Every afternoon at work, despite sleeping well, you find yourself wondering – “Why am I so tired?”   

You’ve gained a little weight around your stomach, your blood pressure is high, and your teenage acne has made a comeback. So, enough is enough – new month, new week, new you, right?!   

You survive Monday and Tuesday; the cravings and withdrawal headaches are REAL but you resist. Wednesday afternoon rolls around. You are fatigued, irritable, and cannot focus on your current project – one with a looming 5pm deadline.  Time to check the office kitchen for a pick-me-up – who knows, maybe there’s a healthy option?   

A large Tupperware container immediately catches your eye. Mmm, what have the admin team baked today?   

Chocolate coconut slice! And some leftover oatmeal raisin cookies from yesterday’s team meeting. You cave. And why not have a can of coke too? Pure sugar, you know, but it’s free and you need something to finish your project.   

It gives you an immediate hit. You feel great and get a solid hour of work done. But then the cycle starts again – you’re hungry, you can’t focus, and it isn’t helping that Michael in the adjacent cubicle keeps tapping his foot and is typing SO loudly. And oh my gosh, Vicki, stop clicking your pen!    

Does this scenario sound familiar?   

  • Afternoon energy or mood slumps, temporarily aided then worsened by sugary snacks?  
  • A workplace that doesn’t enable healthy food or snack choices?   
  • Setting health goals, only to have them sabotaged by your colleague’s weekly baking?   
  • Regular work morning teas, events or celebrations centred around unhealthy eating or drinking?   

If you answered yes to 1 or more of the above, your office snack culture may need an overhaul!   

Now, we aren’t saying it’s all bad.   


  • Social connection – people brought together through sharing food, recipes, baking as a gesture of appreciation etc.   
  • Celebration – Birthdays, promotions, holidays, events – usually celebrated with food and drinks.   
  • Employee Benefits – Workplaces providing meals or snacks to employees to improve job satisfaction, increase retention, encourage people to stay at work longer, save money etc.   

But there can be a downside…. 


  • Reduced productivity – brain function & focus reduced with unhealthy snacks.   
  • Afternoon slumps in mood, energy & motivation – often due to dehydration, or nutritiously unbalanced snacks or meals.  
  • Poorer overall health – weight gain, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, poor sleep.   
  • Increased risk of serious lifestyle diseases – diabetes, heart disease.   
  • Can be expensive – to employer &/or employee depending on who is providing snacks.   
  • Pressure to indulge – if people bring baking/food in can sabotage other’s health goals.   
  • Can be exclusive/divisive for those who:  
  • Don’t/can’t bake.  
  • Have specific dietary requirements/limitations (vegan, gluten free, allergies).  
  • Choose to bring their own healthier foods.  
  • Can’t financially afford to contribute.  
  • Don’t have time.  

So, what should you do?   

Below are some ideas on how to start changing your office snack culture, followed by specific swaps you can make to snack smarter every day!   


  • Stock the workplace kitchen with healthy snacks (see our snack swap chart below).   
  • Promote a weekly “bring your own healthy lunch to work” day.   
  • Provide employees with wellbeing and nutrition education – seminars, online courses, posters, corporate wellness programs Click Here for More  
  • Set up a healthy “Make your own smoothie” station.   
  • Set up a healthy “Breakfast Bar.”   
  • Organise healthy cooking classes.  
  • Instead of celebrations, events or meetings revolving around food/drink, organise team activities (ideas below).   


Replace birthday cakes, after-work drinks, Christmas parties with the following:   

  • Paintball.   
  • Escape room.  
  • Go see a movie together.  
  • Mini golf or a driving range.  
  • Yoga or an exercise class.  
  • Stand-up comedy show, a play or a musical.  
  • Go to an amusement park or an arcade.   
  • Ten Pin Bowling.  
  • Ice skating.   
  • Canoeing, kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding.   
  • Go fruit picking.   
  • Afternoon walk or hike.   
  • Craft, painting or clay workshop.   
  • Volunteer as a team.   
  • Learn an instrument together.   
  • Learn or try a new sport each Friday afternoon (instead of Friday afternoon drinks!).  


An infographic by Better Being titled 'smart snack swaps'.