NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Organic, healthy foods are popping up everywhere these days -- in grocery stores, restaurants, cafes and even at the office. As the trend toward healthy eating and drinking continues, experts say more companies are rethinking their traditional snack machine offerings and moving toward more low-calorie whole food options. If you're thinking of offering healthy snacks at your business, it's easier now than ever, but there are some important things to consider before you eliminate your sodas and candy altogether. 1.) Decide how far you want to go. "It's no secret that what you eat is half of the battle towards having health, and companies want to reinforce that at work," says Bruce Clark, president and CEO of CAI, a human resource management firm. "You can go all the way and all you will have in your snack machines is dried fruit and semi-perishable fruits like apples, or you can go halfway and still have something in there for people with a sweet tooth." Many companies are opting for small changes and may substitute bottled water or lower-calorie beverages such as Vitamin Water Zero in favor of sugary carbonated sodas in drink machines, Clark says. "That's your challenge, is how far you want to go," he says. "Some companies have eliminated snack machines altogether, but that's not the right move for every company." Thankfully, many vending companies are beginning to stock healthy options, says Gina Payne, national director of wellness at professional services and consulting firm CBIZ Employee Services. With that said, most vending companies still offer junk food and will stock healthy items right alongside high-calorie treats. "Most experts espouse that choice should be provided -- but it is also true that the choice needs to be 'easy' in order for us to make it -- that's just human nature," Payne says. "The easiest way to inspire a healthy choice is to only offer snacks that are good for you."
Unfortunately, you may find you'll need to be in or near a major metropolitan area to ensure access to healthier snacking options and "fancier" vending machines, Clark says, adding that it takes a "conscious effort" to find the right vendor who can bring in something healthy that's not also going to be twice the price. Also, healthy snacks will cost more, Clark cautions. Companies must decide whether they want to subsidize the snacks or run the risk of irritating employees who are upset that things are more expensive. "I see a lot of employers frustrated with complexity of it, both the difficulty in locating a responsive stable vendor and a reasonable cost," he says. 3.) Decide what kind of message you want to send. "For an employer who is not really invested in wellness and trying to make that part of company culture, why would you do anything differently?" Clark asks. "It's much easier to stock a traditional snack machine, so unless you are offering a comprehensive wellness program at your office, don't bother." Many companies start out with good intentions for a health program, offering the occasional "lunch and learn" that focuses on weight loss or sending out an email newsletter with health tips, but over time those things often aren't sustained, Clark says.