Healthy Snacks in New York City

Healthy Ingredients in New York City

Snacks. Depending on whom you ask, snacks are either a temptation or an integral part of one’s diet. Healthy snacks can be eaten daily as they have many benefits such as keeping blood sugar levels stable, helping with weight management, and providing nutrients that aren’t eaten at meals. Besides improved health, healthy snacks also play a role in improving one’s mood, increasing energy levels, and decreasing stress. And we all need a bit of that.

New Snack Choices

KIND, a healthy foods company that offers products made from whole ingredients, has recently introduced three new bars to help New York City consumers enjoy a healthy snack— KIND Healthy Grains Cinnamon Oat bar, KIND Healthy Grains Double Dark Chocolate bar, and Pressed by KIND Strawberry Apple Chia bar. While the bars are from different product lines, they all contain healthy ingredients. Both KIND Healthy Grains bars contain one full serving of whole grains, while the Pressed by KIND bar has no added sugar and contains two full servings of fruit.

Whole Grains

Both the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend eating a wide variety of whole grains as each grain offers different nutrients. But what exactly is a whole grain? According to the Whole Grain Council, a whole grain is a grain that not only includes the bran, germ, and endosperm but also includes them in the same proportions as when the grain was still in the ground. The KIND Healthy Grains bars include five different whole grains which have the following nutrients and benefits (per the Whole Grain Council):

  • Oats: help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, contain soluble fiber that helps control blood sugar, contain healthy fats, and contain avenanthramides which have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-itching properties
  • Brown Rice: contains manganese and selenium, and helps lower the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Millet: contains antioxidants and magnesium, and helps control diabetes and inflammation
  • Buckwheat: contains zinc, copper, manganese, and potassium, and has high levels of protein and soluble fiber
  • Amaranth: contains 13 to 14% protein (much higher than the majority of grains), calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium
Healthy Ingredients in New York City

Berries, as a subgroup of fruits, contain antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, and could all be part of a student’s healthy snack. Strawberries, in particular, increase “good” or HDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and contain fiber, high levels of antioxidants, manganese, potassium, and vitamin c (per WebMD). It’s not surprising then that strawberries are one of America’s favorite fruits. As of 2013, the USDA Economic Research Service found that the annual per person consumption of fresh strawberries in the United States reached a new record at 7.9 pounds. Now that’s a lot of strawberries!

Which KIND bar do you want to try for your next healthy snack? They are all a great choice. Contact Healthy Vending at 917.572.3671 to learn about healthy snack and beverage vending options or to add KIND bars to your current offerings.

Tools for Better Health in New York City

Educated Consumers in New York City

What are the ingredients in your favorite healthy vending machine snack or beverage? Do you know? If you do, you belong to a growing group of consumers who not only know which ingredients are in their food but also know the number of ingredients. According to Andrew Mandyz, Director of Strategic Insights at Nielsen, “There’s a shift in how people are thinking about ‘better for you.’ People are looking for back-to-basics, simpler ingredients.”

Ingredient Labels

Seeing the recipe for your snack or beverage would be the best way to learn about what is in it, and how much of each thing was used. But since that is rarely an option, there is another way for New York City students to learn about what is in their food and drink—by reading ingredient labels. Ingredients are listed in a very specific order. The largest ingredient is listed first, followed by each ingredient until the smallest ingredient. For example, a ready-to-drink cold tea that lists the ingredients tea (water, tea), sugar, and lemon is letting the consumer know that there is more tea than sugar and more sugar than lemon in the beverage. Nielsen found that “about 61 percent [of consumers] said that the shorter the ingredients’ list, the healthier the product.”

Online Resources

In addition to reading ingredient labels, consumers are researching health information online. Mandzy found that the number of consumers who went online for information went from 48% in 2014 up to 68% in 2016, a 20% increase. With a large amount of health information available online, and more New York City consumers using the internet, it is important to know how to determine if a website contains reliable information. Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center offers some tips:

  • Don’t search the entire Internet. Start with the Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library [or other hospital website] or
  • Evaluate commercial (“dot com”) sites carefully for bias and conflict of interest.
  • Check to see if the information is current (less than three years old).
  • Look for the credentials of the author (i.e. doctor, nurse, psychologist) to make sure the information is written by a health professional.
Educated Consumers in New York City
Technology as a Tool

Using technology to track health-related activities and numbers are also on the rise. There are apps that are worn during activities such as running or walking, ones that track the number of hours slept and the quality of sleep, ones that track what an individual has eaten and count calories, and others that track heart health or healthy habits. With so many apps available, it can be challenging to find one that meets a New York City user’s needs. Harvard Health Publications recommends several things to consider when looking for the right app.

  • Have realistic expectations of the technology and watch out for unrealistic claims.
  • Read reviews. Try out a few different ones.
  • Read the fine print.
  • Ask for recommendations.
  • Look for ones “sponsored or created by established health advocacy groups, medical organizations, or universities”

Reading ingredient labels, researching health information and monitoring one’s own health-related activities are just a few of the many ways that consumers can become more knowledgeable. Sharon Allison-Ottey, MD and health educator, recently expressed that “the overall trend of a more-educated consumer is excellent” especially when it comes to a person’s diet. Which snack and beverage ingredients do your consumers want to see in their New York City energy star rated vending machines?

Contact Healthy Vending at 917.572.3671 to learn more about our healthy vending options.