All posts by Katie Waxman

Healthy Vending Options Help New York City Employees

Healthy Vending Options in New York City

Everyone can agree that eating healthy is important, but making it happen every day can be a challenge. According to a recent survey from the American Heart Association and Aramark, a U.S. based food service company, participants expressed that availability of healthy foods (43 percent), “convenience (60%) and taste preference (54%) as having a great deal/quite a bit of impact on choosing an unhealthy lunch.”

While those numbers aren’t the best, there are two other numbers that are better. “More than 4 in 5 (82%) agree that having healthy food options at work is important to them and more than 2 in 3 (68%) value help from their employer in becoming healthier.” 

Understanding these statistics and taking the next step can help employers determine the best way to provide break room refreshments for their employees. Rather than assuming which products employees would like to have available, employers should survey their employees to find out. Different individuals will have different preferences that develop from a number of factors including upbringing, genetics, culture and individual experiences.

So, what makes a snack better-for-you? The broad definition is a snack that has a high nutritional value or one that is high in protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber but low in calories, fat, sugar and sodium. A popular example is nuts. While nuts are high in calories and fat, they have lots of important nutrients. 

Healthy Vending Options in New York City

The following are three suggestions for choosing healthier snacks.

  • choose a snack that has between 150 and 250 calories. Always check the portion size on the nutrition label. The portion size and the size of the package are often two different amounts.
  • choose items that have about 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein per serving. Since fiber and protein can create a feeling of fullness, New York City employees are likely to stay full longer, decreasing the overall amount eaten.
  • avoid snacks that have more than 12 grams of fat per serving. Consuming too many saturated fats can raise LDL or “bad” cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Whether New York City employees need an unplanned pick-me-up or didn’t have time to fix something at home to bring to work with them, access to healthy vending machine snacks and beverages is a great option.  It also supports what employees are looking for—convenient and tasty choices and help from their employer to become healthier and access to better-for-you choices at work.

We at Healthy Vending believe in supporting the New York City area by providing a large selection of organic and all-natural snacks and beverages in our vending machines. For more information about our product offerings or vending solutions, please contact us at 917.572.3671.

Caffeine, Chocolate and Iced Tea in New York City

Caffeine, Chocolate and Iced Tea in New York City

Do you keep track of the amount of caffeine in your favorite iced tea or chocolate treat? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. Many New York City individuals typically only consider how much coffee they consume even though there are many other snacks and beverages that contain caffeine. In addition to coffee and hot tea, it can be found in iced tea, energy drinks, soda, chocolate and gum. 

March is Caffeine Awareness Month, and with more than three-quarters of the U.S. population starting their day with some sort of caffeine, let’s take a deeper look at everyone’s favorite energy boost. 

What is caffeine?

It is a stimulant that excites or activates the central nervous system. The results of that stimulation can vary widely as caffeine’s effects are based on each New York City individual’s sensitivities, age, weight, medical history, and tolerances. 

Even though there are negative side effects from consuming too much (raised blood pressure, insomnia, indigestion, headaches and migraines, and increased anxiety), there are also benefits. Caffeine has also been linked to enhanced alertness and memory, improved athletic performance, elevated mood, increased metabolism as well as a decrease in pain sensitivity for those with chronic pain. 

The good news is, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, that adults can add up to 400 mg/day of caffeine into their daily diet . 

What about chocolate treats and iced tea?

Knowing if a favorite cold beverage or chocolate treat contains caffeine is important, but can sometimes be challenging to determine. 

The best thing for New York City individuals to do is check the ingredients’ list. If the word “caffeine” is included, then the product includes the synthetic version, like in soda or energy drinks. If there is an ingredient like cocoa solids, kola nuts or black tea, then the caffeine comes from a natural source.

Caffeine, Chocolate and Iced Tea in New York City

So, how much is in there?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors including the type of tea or chocolate used and how it’s prepared. 

Caffeine found in chocolate comes from cocoa solids. Dark chocolate contains more cocoa solids compared to milk chocolate or white chocolate, so the darker the chocolate the greater amount. While the amount of caffeine in a chocolate treat can vary based on other ingredients, in general, dark chocolate is assumed to have 12 mg/oz while milk chocolate has 5.8 mg/oz and white chocolate, which isn’t made with cocoa solids, has 0 mg/oz. 

Iced tea is also impacted by a variety of factors such as the type of tea, how many tea bags were used, how much water and ice were added, and how long was the tea allowed to steep. 

Healthy Vending, for example, offers a couple brands of iced tea in our vending machines. One 16 oz bottle of black tea contains 81mg of caffeine. The same amount of green tea contains 55mg while white tea contains 61 mg. Even though white tea traditionally contains less caffeine than green tea, any of the factors listed above can affect how much is actually in a beverage, highlighting the importance of checking the label.

Break Room Refreshments

What types of healthy, cold beverages or chocolate treats do your New York City employees or students look for during the day? Can they find them on-site? Offering healthy cold beverages in break room or school lunchroom vending machines is a great way to make sure everyone stays hydrated. Add healthy snacks to the menu, and employees and students will be more likely to visit the break room or lunchroom. 

For more information about upgrading your current refreshment menu or customizing a new one, please call Healthy Vending at 917.572.3671.

Encourage Healthy Lunch Habits at New York City Businesses

Healthy Options at New York City

How healthy is your heart? February may be best known for Valentine’s Day, but it is also American Heart Month, a time for New York City individuals to reconsider their diet and exercise habits and the impact those habits have on the health of their heart.

Making good food choices is an important component of developing a healthy lifestyle but expecting to make good food choices all the time is unrealistic. New York City individuals should instead be aware of the overall picture or pattern of their diet.

What does that mean? It’s being aware of the different types of snacks, food and beverages that are consumed. Is an individual eating a variety of nutritious foods from the different food groups? Are the portion sizes appropriate? It’s also noticing which circumstances like stress, fatigue or eating with friends trigger different types of eating patterns including unhealthy ones.

Lunch time is another event that can impact future food decisions that will be made throughout the rest of the day. A recent survey from the American Heart Association (AHA) and Aramark, a food service company, found that “more than three quarters of those surveyed say they’re more likely to make healthier decisions at other times of the day if they eat healthy at lunch.”

While those numbers are great news for the health of those surveyed, the likelihood that employees will actually eat a healthy lunch is much lower. The same survey also found that “56 percent of employed Americans who typically eat lunch during work struggle to make that meal healthy.” New York City employers have just been presented with an opportunity to step in and make a difference in the types of snacks, fresh food and beverages available in the break room.

Healthy Options at New York City

Two additional results from the AHA and Aramark study show that employees are looking for a bit of help; 82 percent of participants believe access to healthy options at work is important, and 68 percent appreciate their employer’s help in becoming healthier. Creating opportunities for regular exercise during the workday is another approach employers can take to help their New York City employees become healthier.

Regular exercise not only helps maintain or lose weight, it also improves cardiovascular or heart health. If offering a gym membership or an onsite gym isn’t a realistic employee benefit, there are other ways employees can increase their physical activity during the workday. Taking a walk at lunch, parking further away from the building, using the stairs instead of the elevator and holding walking meetings are just a few ways employees can add a bit more movement to their day.

Employees who choose a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds and lean proteins and increase physical activity often have less stress, more energy and improved confidence. Now that sounds like a benefit for everyone.

For more information about updating or redesigning your vending machine refreshment menu to include healthier options, please call Healthy Vending at 917.572.3671. We look forward to working with you.