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Thursday, January 4, 2024

6 Tasty Staff Snack Bars Everyone Will Love

We've all had staff parties and potlucks, but sometimes we just need to mix it up with something different. If you can relate, I've got the perfect solution for you... staff snack bars! I'm talking about a buffet-style snack table with a fun theme. There's really no way to go wrong with this staff appreciation idea and I know everyone in your building will love it! Here are 6 of my favorite staff snack bar ideas to get you started. 

Pep up your staff with these delicious ideas for staff snack bars you can use all year long.

What is a Staff Snack Bar? 

A staff snack bar is more than just food. It's a way to get everyone involved in celebrating how amazing your staff is.
Have you ever been to a party where food is served buffet-style so that you can customize it to your liking? 

This is such a fun concept because it allows everyone to make their own creation. It's also pretty cost-effective and conducive to mingling since people can come and go as they please. 

That's the idea behind staff snack bars, except I like to take it a step further and use a fun theme to tie it all together. A staff snack bar is a fun way to celebrate or show appreciation to staff members and serve food in a fun way. 

As a bonus, it also allows people to grab and go when they have a few spare minutes which is great for schools with varied break times. The best part though is that everyone gets exactly what they want! 

When To Use Staff Snack Bars 

Staff snack bars are super versatile and can be used all year long for different seasons, themes, and celebrations. For example, at the start of the school year, you might have a breakfast bar to show appreciation for staff as they settle into a new routine. In the winter you might choose to have some kind of warm drink station with a variety of toppings and add-ins to warm everyone up! Or maybe you want to have a taco or nacho bar to celebrate the big game at your school. 

Use staff snack bars any time of year or coordinate them with special events and holidays.

No matter what you're looking to celebrate, there's a snack bar for that! Here are some of the snack/food bars my school has done in the past:

  • Chili & Soup Bar 
  • Taco/Nacho Bar 
  • Hot Drink Station
  • Baked Potato Bar 
  • Salad Bar 
  • Apple Bar 
  • Breakfast Bar 
  • Dessert Bar

There are SO many options out there, I know you'll be able to find something that's just right for your next event. If you're not sure what to choose or need a little more inspiration on how to get your staff snack bar set up, here are my top 6 favorites! 

1. Apple Snack Bar 

There is no better way to celebrate fall than with an apple bar! This is one of my absolute favorites to use in August or September when apples are ripe and fresh. I originally got this idea from an apple orchard that was down the street from our school. All of the delicious varieties were just begging to be used for something fun! 

An apple staff snack bar like this is perfect for the fall season.
To get started with this idea, you'll need a nice variety of apples. If you don't have an orchard or farmstand market near you, check out your local grocery store to see what's in stock. Large grocery stores usually do a good job of stocking many different varieties in the fall. 

Once you've got your apples, it's time to stock up on toppings! Grab items like caramel sauce, peanut butter, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, and crushed cookies. Make sure to also get some paper plates, napkins, and apple cutters. 

You can even include specialty apples as well like caramel apples and chocolate-dipped creations. This is a good idea for staff who might not have time to make their own fancy apple plate and would rather grab and go during a quick break. The sky is really the limit on this one, so feel free to make this idea fit the needs of your school! 

Once you've got your goodies, arrange them all on a long buffet table and let staff build their own apple treat! I like to use signs and reminders before the event to make sure everyone knows that this treat is available to them in the lounge. If you want a quick and easy way to facilitate this in your school, be sure to check out this resource that includes fun decorations, labels, and signs for your apple bar! 

2. Staff Salad Bar Luncheon 

Who doesn't love a good salad bar? I love this idea because it is one of the healthier options out there as far as snack bars go. As teachers and administrators, we know that so many of the goodies we receive are sweets and treats, so it's nice to be able to offer a more health-conscious option from time to time too! 

Celebrate your staff with a healthy staff snack bar which includes salads, fruits, and veggies like these.
Setting up a salad bar is very similar to an apple bar, except you'll be focused on grabbing different types of greens, chopped veggies, salad toppings, and dressings. 

When hosting my own salad bar, I used signs, labels, and reminders from this resource. The printables make planning and coordinating salad bar day a breeze! 

Salad bars are really fun to do potluck style as well. Use the included sign-up sheets in this resource to have staff members sign up for an item and make planning this event even more simple. 

It's always fun to see what types of toppings other staff members enjoy using on their own salads! 

3. Hot Cocoa Bar 

In the wintertime and around the holidays, nothing feels more cozy to me than a hot cocoa bar. 

A hot cocoa staff snack bar like this is a great way to show your staff how much you appreciate them during the cold winter months.
We often used this for our staff meeting in December. Everyone was eager to attend knowing that before we got started they'd get to make their own special mug of cozy cocoa just the way they liked it! 

This one is really easy to orchestrate and requires minimal supplies as well, which is always a plus in my book! 

I liked to make a few pots of homemade cocoa for this special event.  But to save time you can grab premade chocolate milk from the grocery store and warm it in a crockpot.  The other easy option is having hot water and cocoa packets available. 

Whatever route you choose, don't forget to serve the hot chocolate alongside toppings such as marshmallows, chocolate chips, candy canes, whipped cream, and fancy syrups. 

You can also include a big pot of coffee so that people can make a mocha if they prefer! If you want to be extra festive, grab holiday cups and napkins to use as well. 

This resource includes my own recipe for slow cooker cocoa along with all of the other printable materials you'll need to make your cocoa bar a success! 

4. Trail Mix Snack Bar 

Looking for a simple snack bar option that staff can grab throughout the day? This trail mix snack bar is perfect for you! This idea is so great if you want to be able to show some appreciation for staff during a busy week or if you're having trouble coordinating break schedules. Staff can stop by and make their own little trail mix when they're free and no refrigeration is required! 

Make snacking simple with a trail mix staff snack bar like this for your staff to enjoy throughout the day.
This one is super customizable too, which is great for staff members with allergies. I like to offer a TON of options for this one such as: 
  • mixed nuts
  • shelled sunflower seeds
  • small crackers
  • popcorn 
  • candy 
  • dried fruits 
  • chocolate chips 
  • pretzels 
  • granola 
  • cereal, etc. 
When setting this one up, I always try to make sure everything is kept in its own bowl, with its own spoon to avoid cross-contamination. 

If you have staff members with severe nut allergies in your school, I recommend keeping those on a separate table just to make sure things don't get mixed up. I know your staff will appreciate this one, especially during a busy time like testing week! 

5. Cereal Bar 

Speaking of testing week, this cereal bar is a great option for that time of year too. 

A cereal bar like this is a great staff snack bar option you can use before staff meetings or at the beginning of a long teacher conference day.
Everyone always tells the students to eat a good breakfast, but the teachers and staff need one during this stressful time too! 

But a cereal bar also works well at the beginning of the year as staff are settling back into their routines and might be short on time in the mornings. Really, you can't go wrong with a cereal bar any time of the year!

To set up your own cereal bar, I recommend rounding up as many different types of cereals as you can find along with an assortment of milk options. 

Get regular dairy milk, as well as other options like almond milk and soy milk for those with allergies. 

I also recommend grabbing some sliced fruit for topping as well as juice and coffee. Set these items up with your paper bowls, cups, and utensils and you're good to go! 

This is such a great way to show appreciation for staff and help them fuel up for the day! 

6. Taco or Nacho Bar 

Most everybody loves tacos, and who can blame us? They're so versatile and delicious! Hosting a taco or a nacho bar is a fun way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, the big game, or even a regular old Tuesday! No matter what the occasion, this one is always a staff favorite. 

Personally, I think this idea works best as a potluck since there are so many components to great tacos! I used sign-up sheets to have staff members volunteer to bring items such as:

Everyone loves tacos and nachos so include these tasty treats in your next staff snack bar for instant success.
  • taco meat (chicken, beef, pork, plant-based, etc.)
  • beans 
  • shredded cheese
  • shredded lettuce 
  • chopped onions and tomatoes
  • guacamole
  • chips
  • tortillas, etc. 
On the day of this event, staff members set up their slow cookers full of taco meat and beans. These can stay on warm to heat up throughout the morning.

Then, when lunchtime rolls around we all work together to set out the rest of the toppings and fixins. Everyone loves to visit and chat while they enjoy their meal and celebrate as a group! 

Tips for Staff Snack Bar Success

No matter which option you choose, I know your staff snack bar will be a hit! Just be sure to keep a few things in mind to ensure things run smoothly:
  1. Post signs and reminders leading up to the event. 
  2. Be sure to provide plenty of notice if you're hosting a "potluck style" snack bar. 
  3. Be mindful of allergies and food preferences. 
  4. Don't forget plates, napkins, and utensils. 
  5. Be creative and have fun! 
Staff snack bars are such a fun way to mix things up with your staff and show appreciation all year long. If you're looking for even more fun ways to celebrate with your staff, be sure to check out my shop! You'll find tons of helpful resources to make your staff smile and bring a little sunshine to your school! 

Save This Post 

Pin this post to your favorite staff morale Pinterest board to keep track of these staff snack bar ideas!

Looking for fun and creative ways to show your staff how much they mean to you? Use these creative and delicious staff snack bar options to treat your staff to yummy goodness throughout the school year. From apple snack bars in the fall to breakfast staff snack bars these are sure to be a huge hit with your staff. #tarynsuniquelearning #staffsnackbars #snackbarideas #teachertreats #teacherappreciation

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