New York City, How Do You Feel About Your Diet?

Healthy Ingredients in New York City

Is it healthy, not so healthy, or somewhere in between? If it’s not so healthy, you are part of a large number of Americans who feel that their diet is unhealthy. Recent research by Mintel, a market intelligence agency, found that “less than half (42 percent) of Americans consider their diet to be healthy.” Yikes!

While negative dietary influences vary greatly from person to person, there is one thing that impacts the majority of New York City consumers—being able to determine the validity of health-related claims on food packaging. As a consumer, how can you combat the uncertainty that often comes with reading food packaging?

Before looking at the packaging issue, it is important to understand what a food or health-related claim is. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) describes a health claim as “a relationship between a food substance (a food, food component, or dietary supplement ingredient), and reduced risk of a disease or health-related condition.” An example of an FDA approved health claim that explains the benefit of calcium on the risk of osteoporosis is, “Adequate calcium throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.” For a manufacturer to be able to include this claim on the packaging of one of their products, the product must meet a list of specific requirements.

Given that it is often difficult to know those requirements while reading different packaging, the nutrition label and ingredient list are a great resource. Ingredient lists and nutrition labels often contain a large amount of information. To better understand that information, here are a few strategies for reading them.

Healthy Ingredients in New York City
Nutrition Labels
  • Determine how big or small the serving size is for each packaged item. Often the serving size is different than the amount of food or drink in the package. To correctly understand the other information on the nutrition label, knowing the correct serving size is key.
  • Understand that the “percentage daily value” listed on the nutrition label is not the same for everyone. Most nutrition labels are based on a 2000 calorie per day diet. If you are taller or shorter or male or female or 17 or 39 or 82 or super active or a couch potato, it is likely that your caloric needs are different. Use the amount listed, 2000 calories per day, and adjust it up or down based on your own needs.
  • Pay special attention to the amount of sugar, unhealthy fats, and sodium that are in a serving as those are ingredients that many individuals need to limit.
Ingredient Lists
  • Look for recognizable ingredients. If it is an item that you have never heard of or cannot pronounce, look it up or ask someone what it is.
  • Consider which ingredients are listed first or early in the list of ingredients. The earlier the ingredient is listed, the larger the amount is of that ingredient.
  • If choosing a food that doesn’t come in a labeled package such as fruits or vegetables isn’t an option, choose products that have shorter ingredient lists. (See previous tip)

Now that you are armed with a few strategies for understanding the information on packaged foods and beverages, you are ready to head out and make healthy snack and beverage choices.

We at Healthy Vending would like to help make things a little easier for everyone by offering a selection of all-natural and organic snacks and beverages in your New York City school lunch room or office breakroom. For more information about our products and services, call us at 917.572.3671.

A New Snack Choice in New York City

Healthy Alternative Snacks New York City

The definition of the word snack has changed. It no longer refers only to something that has very little nutritional value and is eaten between meals. Snacks need to be healthy, delicious, and convenient as they are often eaten as a meal replacement.

This shift gradually occurred as Millennials became more influential consumers. Together with Gen Xers, the two demographic groups created an increase in demand for healthy or alternative-ingredient snacks, and that demand continues to grow. According to Packaged Facts, a market research firm, “sales of alternative ingredients snacks in 2017 are forecast to rise to $1.2 billion.”

But what is an alternative ingredient snack?

An alternative ingredient snack is a snack that is made from ingredients including pulses (dry peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas), vegetables, ancient grains, multigrain and whole grains. Snacks made with these ingredients include salty snacks and crackers, and often offer both flavor and textural variety. In vegetable-based snacks, sweet potatoes and spinach are the most frequently used vegetables. Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are used most often in pulse based snacks, the fastest growing snack subcategory.

Why spinach, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas? Because each one offers a different combination of vitamins and minerals, and a wide variety of health benefits.

  • is a great source of vitamins K, A, C, and B2 as well as folate, iron, fiber, magnesium, manganese, and calcium
  • is known to help with energy production and to improve blood quality because of the role that iron plays in red blood cells’ ability to function
  • is known to help maintain bone health because of the vitamin K
  • contains carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin) which have both anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties
Sweet Potatoes
  • come in 3 different flesh colors: orange, purple and white
  • are a great source of vitamins A, C, and B6 as well as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and manganese
  • are known to help guard against health risks caused by carcinogens and toxins
  • are known to help maintain healthy blood pressure and healthy bones as well as help with healing wounds
Healthy Alternative Snacks New York City
  • are a great source of protein, fiber, manganese, folate, and antioxidants
  • are known to help control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and to support colon health
  • are known to help combat cancer development, especially colon cancer
  • are known to help wounds heal and to maintain healthy bones

Which alternative-ingredient would your New York City employees like to try in their next salty snack? Contact Healthy Vending at 917.572.3671 to learn more about which healthy snacks and beverages you can include in your school or healthy breakroom vending machine.