Vending machines are a popular and convenient method of providing employees with quick and easy snack options in the workplace. Such snacks are delicious and provide a sense of great satisfaction for curing that salt craving or satisfying a sweet tooth. However, the majority of snacks provided in vending machines do not allow people to make the most health-conscious choices, which can actually have a negative impact.
Learn more about the downfalls of the typical vending machine snack options as well as the benefits of swapping them out for healthy work snacks.
The Cons of Typical Vending Machine Options
100 million Americans use vending machines every day to gain access to fast and easy food and beverage options. Unfortunately, the snacks that are usually made readily available are those that contribute to obesity and other health issues. Find out more about some of the most popular vending products and what makes them so unhealthy.
Cakes and Cookies
It is undeniable that cookies, cakes and other pastries found in vending machines are tasty. However, they are almost always loaded with preservatives and high in extra sugars, refined carbohydrates and calories. While they tend to provide a sugar rush for a short burst of energy, they contain no nutritional value that will help your workers feel satisfied and function at their best throughout the workday.
Chips and Crackers
These salty, crunchy snacks are another common choice provided in vending machines at work. While they may be one of the most popular snack options, they are also high in trans fats and sodium, which are no good for weight loss or maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Chips are also often treated with harmful chemicals such as BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydoroxytulene), both of which are used to extend the shelf life of the snack. However, these preservatives are known to have links to cancer and other health problems.
Sodas and Other Sugary Drinks
It may seem as though you could be doing your employees a favor by offering some of the most commonly bought vending machine beverages. Unfortunately, these drinks come with several negative qualities. Packed with tons of sugar, empty calories and an astounding ability to erode tooth enamel, soft drinks and other sugary refreshments should be consumed at an absolute minimum. Reducing the intake of these drinks is even more difficult if they are the only thing available in the workplace.
Healthier Vending Machine Options
While it may feel as though there is not much to choose from when placing healthy food in vending machines, there are actually numerous options to explore. Making the transition from unhealthy snacks to healthy snack options for work can be easy, especially if you know what you want to use as replacements. Explore this list of healthy ideas for snacking to get on the right track to providing your employees with healthy vending machine products.
Snacks that are packed with whole grains make an excellent source of fiber. This is a key component to helping your employees feel fuller for longer. While most cookies, chips and crackers do not contain whole grains, there are others that do. Consider supplying the vending machine with whole-grain pretzels, wheat crackers or dry whole-grain cereal packs.
When your employees need to curb their sugar cravings, fruits can be a great option for them. Packets of real dried fruits such as raisins and cranberries contain natural sugars, which are a better alternative to added sugars. Squeezable containers of applesauce can also make a quick and easy snack option that provides nutritional benefits provided they do not have a ton of extra sugar.
Nuts and Seeds
For a protein-packed snack, make seeds and nuts readily available. Nut and seed selections that include peanuts, almonds and sunflower seeds are often a snacking favorite for many. In addition to being full of protein and healthy fats, they also provide a great source of fiber. Not only that but they are also low in calories. To make them even more tempting, consider a trail mix in which nuts and seeds meet dried fruits for a sweet and salty healthy snack.
Granola is another great addition to healthy vending machines. Granola bars offer a filling snacking option and are much lower in calories than candy bars, especially if they are without excess candies. Packets of granola can also be a happy find for employees who like to indulge in yogurt cups. Some granola has fewer calories than others based on flavors and other ingredients, so it is important to take note of those when deciding which ones to place in the vending machine.
Believe it or not, more and more companies are devloping healthy mini-meals that are perfect for healthy vending machines in the workplace. There are an abundance of choices to provide for your workers, including noodles, pasta, rice and soups. These options make a great vending machine product in the event that a little snack like fruit leather or wheat crackers doesn’t quite cut it. Breakfast items can also be found in mini-meal sizes, so you can provide healthy meal options for your employees no matter the time of day.
Jerky is known for having a higher sodium content and a lot of fat. However, it is not an unhealthy snack. In fact, beef jerky can actually provide a ton of protein, which is excellent for boosting energy levels and feeling satisfied over a longer period of time. In addition, jerky is also relatively low in calories compared to alternative vending machine snacks, offering a more fulfilling alternative to higher-calorie snacks.
Tea and Coffee
Tea and coffee are often popular drink favorites of many. Luckily, there are several kinds that can be placed in vending machines. Consider adding varieties such as green tea or sugar-free coffees for an energy boost without the excessive sugars of soda.
Water and Seltzer Water
Sometimes some cold water is all someone really needs to feel good. Water is one of the most health-conscious options you can provide for your employees. If regular water does not seem like a tempting option in the vending machines, consider adding flavored seltzer waters. These drinks will provide the bubbly likeness of soda and a boost of flavor without all of the unhealthy excess sugars.
Believe it or not, there are good energy drinks and bad energy drinks. If you would like to offer your team energy drinks, make sure they are of the healthier variety. There are many sugar-free energy drinks that contain green tea extract for energy. Healthy energy drinks may also contain valuable nutrients such as potassium, citamin C, iron and B vitamins. They can also come in many flavors sure to appease any taste preferences.
Smoothies are a fantastic option for quick and filling snacks. While many smoothies do contain dairy, there are other kinds that are made with a juice or kefir base. In addition to these drinks, protein shakes also come in handy and do not always contain dairy. Nondairy options are optimal for the workplace in the event that not everyone is able to consume dairy due to dietary restrictions.
Top 8 Benefits of Healthier Options
It is well-known that good health relies heavily on maintaining a healthy diet. Eating healthy snacks in the workplace can actually provide a number of benefits for employees and the companies they work for. When employers decide to provide their team with healthy vending machine choices, they foster the well-being and performance of their employees. Discover the many benefits of providing healthier snacking options in vending machines at work.
1. Improved Cognitive Function
Typical vending machine snacks that are high in trans fats can actually hinder memory, focus and attention to detail. Studies have shown that snacks that are rich in antioxidants, B vitamins, and protein can actually support memory, concentration and cognitive functions. When you provide your employees healthy snack options, you are actually helping to nurture some of their most essential mental capabilities.
2. Increased and Sustained Energy
Hitting a wall mid-shift is a common problem for many people. Consuming snacks that are full of carbohydrates and trans fats may seem helpful, but they only produce a short burst of energy before they wear off, leaving employees feeling lethargic. Keeping vending machines well-stocked with healthy snacks can actually help prevent energy crashes and allow your employees to feel more energized for longer periods of time.
3. Better Moods
Proper foods have a lot to do with creating and maintaining healthy and happy moods. Some of the best snacks you can have readily available in the workspace will be rich in nutrients like folic acid, vitamin C, magnesium and B-12. All of these have long- and short-term positive impacts on a person’s mood. Employees with good moods will prove to be more calm, focused and ready to tackle challenges head-on with a positive outlook.
4. Reduced Time Off-Site
When a workplace does not have the right food choices available, employees are generally forced to venture outside of the office to find suitable snack and meal options. This can be problematic, especially when breaks are timed and there is a struggle to get out and back in time. You can reduce the amount of time employees have to spend off-site by ensuring there is an ample variety of healthy and delicious food options easily accessible.
5. Broader Inclusivity
While many people appreciate being able to indulge in the typical junk food snacks commonly found in vending machines, dietary restrictions and allergies can prevent some people from having any snack options at all. By providing a wide range of healthy snacks in the vending machine, you can feel confident you are giving everyone the chance to find a suitable food choice. This can help employees feel as though their needs are being recognized, respected and met.
6. Less Sick Days
Healthy snacking habits can result in maintaining healthy immune systems. Employees are more likely to fend off illnesses such as colds and the flu when they have regular access to healthy foods. When it comes to productivity, the fewer days missed the better. If your employees are receiving the proper nutrients to help boost their immune systems, fewer sick days should be used throughout the year. Not only that, but healthier eating can provide long-term benefits such as weight control, maintaining healthy blood pressure and controlling blood sugar levels. This is great news for everyone involved.
7. Higher Retention Rates
It is no surprise that employees who feel valued and cared for are more likely to stay with their employer. There are many ways to help build this trust and connection with your employees, but showing that you care for their health and well-being by providing better vending machine options is a great place to start. An employee that is happy, healthy and valued is an employee that will likely be around for quite some time.
8. Reputable Perks
Hiring is becoming increasingly more competitive, which means that employers need to find something to put themselves ahead of the competition. When it comes to perks that potential hires seek, studies show that free food is at the top of the list. When the word gets around that your company takes pride in providing healthy snacks for your the well-being of your employees, you will definitely seem more inviting to incoming candidates.
Choosing American Dining Creations
American Dining Creations recognizes the importance of providing companies with the opportunity to give their employees healthy vending options. That is why we offer Amerifit, a unique, healthy snack program that helps employers with this mission.
We provide a wide variety of healthy vending machine snacks that are easily identifiable with our vending machines’ specially colored yellow, green and red spirals. With tasty snacks and thirst-quenching beverages, the Amerifit program can help meet the diverse dietary needs of your employees while promoting inclusivity and healthy eating habits.
In addition to our exceptional snack selection, our vending technology sets us above the rest. Our VendMAX reporting and tracking software keeps track of what items need refilled, taking the guesswork out of keeping the vending machines stocked. They are also extremely energy efficient, meeting Energy Star standards. Payments are also easy to make thanks to the convenient credit and debit card readers as well as the ability to pay with mobile phone.
If you want the best in vending solutions for your employees, you can trust in the products and services provided by American Dining Creations.
Learn More About Us Today
As a family-owned company, it is our mission to provide all of our clients with unmatched hospitality services. Our team of expert chefs and hospitality specialists can help you find the right food services for your company. Whether you are seeking superior dining solutions such as catering or phenomenal refreshment services like vending, you can trust the expertise of American Dining Creations.
Contact us today for more information and learn how we can best serve you and your staff through excellent hospitality.