Healthy Snacks in Seattle

Snacks in Seattle Get a Health Boost

Healthy Snacks in Seattle

Choosing healthy snacks is becoming easier for Seattle employers and students thanks to a new initiative by the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA), a group of 12 leading global food and beverage companies.

According to a recent IFBA press release, the organization “is determined to innovate and optimize the composition of members’ products in order to help contribute to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) goal of eliminating industrially produced trans-fat (iTFA) from the global food supply by 2023.”

In other words, snacks and beverages, especially those made by IFBA companies, should have less artificial trans fats in them and be a lot healthier for Seattle consumers. 

What are trans fats, and why are they unhealthy?

Trans fats come in two forms: naturally occurring and artificial. Naturally occurring trans fats come from some animals, are found in smaller quantities and have been found to be beneficial. Artificial trans fats, on the other hand, are the result of a chemical process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils creating a solid product and are very unhealthy. 

Because artificial trans fats are inexpensive to produce, have a longer shelf life than other fats and add a desirable taste and texture, they have historically been used as an ingredient in a wide variety of processed foods such as pie crusts, biscuits, frozen pizza, cookies and crackers.

Healthy Snacks in Seattle

Consuming artificial trans fats increases Seattle individuals’ risk of developing heart disease and having a stroke because the artificial trans fats raise bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Artificial trans fats are also linked to long-term inflammation, type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. 

Healthier Choices

For heart health, the American Heart Association suggests enjoying a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, low-fat dairy, poultry and fish. When freshly prepared food is not available such as in many Seattle break rooms, processed snacks made with unhydrogenated oil including canola, safflower, sunflower and olive oil are a great option. 

Vista Vending, a full-service break room refreshment company, would like to provide your business with a micro-market or vending machines full of delicious and healthy fresh food, snacks (with healthy fats) and beverages. For more information or to schedule a product sampling, please contact us at (253) 592-2843.

Healthy Options in Seattle

Seattle, Build a Healthy Lifestyle One Step at a Time

Healthy Options in Seattle

Staying healthy usually means something different to everyone whether it’s eating a certain way or participating in a favorite physical activity. As 2020 gets into full swing, let’s consider a super important but often forgotten organ that plays a huge role in everyone’s health – the lungs.

When a Seattle individual’s lungs don’t work properly, it can impact their health, and as a result, there can be a negative impact on all parts of their life including their job. One way to keep the lungs healthy is to exercise.

Exercise

The American Lung Association, a nonprofit organization that works to improve lung health and prevent lung disease, sponsors an annual event that not only helps raise funds for the organization but also highlights the importance of exercise for lung health. It’s called the Fight For Air Climb, and it honors National Take the Stairs Day.

During the stair-climbing event, participants, from running and fitness enthusiasts to people of all abilities, take the stairs instead of the elevator to get to the top floor in the event. Often, the buildings used for Fight For Air Climb are tall skyscrapers with many flights of stairs.

If attending an event like the Fight for Air Climb isn’t an option for Seattle employees, there are other ways to add small steps of exercise into one’s day such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from the door, going on a walk during a lunch break and taking a stretch break during the workday. Regular exercise has other benefits as well. It boosts energy levels, improves muscle strength and increases the immune system’s ability to fight infections.

Healthy Options in Seattle

Diet

The type of food and beverages that a Seattle employee consumes can also have an impact on lung health. In addition to improving productivity and alertness, staying hydrated keeps the lungs working more effectively by thinning out linings located in the lungs. 

Portion size is another factor that can affect how well the lungs work. Not only can consistently eating portions that are too big cause weight gain, but they can also cause the stomach to be too full, decreasing the amount of space that the lungs have to expand. Healthy options to consider adding to one’s diet include lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.

Consuming water and other hydrating beverages plus healthy snacks provides a lot of benefits that many individuals never need to consider. In 2020, Seattle employers have an opportunity to help their employees make healthier decisions by considering the types of snacks, beverages and fresh food that are offered in the break room. 

For more information about updating your refreshment menu to include healthier options, please contact Vista Vending at (253) 592-2843.

Healthy Options in Seattle

Offer Healthy and Sweet Treats in Seattle

Healthy Options in Seattle

Healthy treats and sweet treats are often perceived by many Seattle residents to be two very different things. One of them provides nutritional value while the other is full of unhealthy ingredients. But the term “healthy treat” doesn’t always have to refer to something that is a substitute for a preferred sweet treat. 

In fact, a treat doesn’t even need to be edible for it to be a treat. It might be purchasing music, fresh flowers, a new book, or new supplies for a favorite hobby. The most important thing is that the person who is enjoying it perceives it to be special and looks forward to the experience.

Treats, in all their forms, also help Seattle employees build new and maintain current healthy habits. According to Gretchen Rubin, author and happiness expert, “When we don’t get any treats, we start to feel deprived—and feeling deprived is a very bad frame of mind for good habits. When we feel deprived, we feel entitled to put ourselves back in balance…and feel entitled to break our good habits.”

A delicious and healthy sweet treat that employers can offer their Seattle employees, especially Millennials, is chocolate. While there are different types of chocolate consumers, Millennials, the largest generation in the workforce, tend to prefer a mix of dark, milk and white chocolate products made with high-quality cocoa by companies who value social/environmental stewardship. 

Chocolate also offers several health benefits. Made from different combinations of cocoa solids, cocoa butter, cocoa bean powder, sugar and milk powder, there are many options to choose from. Cocoa, the prime ingredient, contains antioxidants which benefits cardiovascular heath while flavonoids perform a variety of jobs such as helping control insulin sensitivity, improving blood flow, and protecting the skin against UV damage. 

Healthy Options in Seattle

Dark chocolate contains the highest amount of cocoa followed by milk chocolate then white chocolate. Milk chocolate contains a smaller percentage of cocoa solids and cocoa butter than dark chocolate plus milk powder and more sugar. While the milk powder and decreased amount of cocoa creates a smoother and sweeter chocolate, milk chocolate also has fewer flavonoids. White chocolate, made from sugar, milk, and a small amount of cocoa butter, doesn’t contain any flavonoids making it quite sweet. 

For chocolate to provide the most health benefits, it needs to be made with a higher percentage of cocoa, and avoid processing methods such as fermenting, alkalizing, and roasting that cause important flavonoids to be lost. Overall, sweet treats can be part of a balanced diet if Seattle employees pay attention to portion sizes and frequency of consumption.

To support your Seattle employees in making healthy “sweet treat” choices during their workday, it is important to create an environment where healthy options are the norm. Vista Vending would like to help your organization customize a healthy refreshments’ menu for your office break room with healthy snacks, beverages and fresh food.

For more information about our micro-market, vending machine or pantry service options, please call us at (253) 592-2843. 

Healthy Options in Seattle

Offer Healthy Snacks and Beverages Year-Round in Seattle

Healthy Options in Seattle

Making healthy decisions is always important, but for some, it is even more important as the days get shorter and darker. Whether it’s rain or snow, fall and winter weather can impact everyone. The decrease in sunlight throughout the fall and the increase in time spent indoors as it gets colder or rainier can cause the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). According to the Mayo Clinic, common signs of SAD include lower energy levels, increased moodiness, oversleeping, appetite changes, weight gain and trouble concentrating.  

It’s not just the lack of sunshine causing winter blues and poor productivity; what Seattle individuals put in their bodies plays a role too. Sugary quick fixes might provide a short-term energy boost, but in the long run, they are not helpful. 

For many, there is a tool available to help combat SAD; serotonin. Made from the amino acid tryptophan, serotonin is most often found in the digestive system. To maintain a healthy amount serotonin in the body, Seattle individuals must consume tryptophan via their diet. 

Research also supports a decreased risk of experiencing depression when eating a healthy diet. Unfortunately, the western diet isn’t always considered to be a healthy diet. To maintain healthy levels of serotonin (and a healthy diet), it is important to enjoy foods that are high in vitamins, minerals and amino acids that are vital for serotonin production. 

Seven foods to enjoy during the winter to help combat SAD

Avocado: This fruit is rich in vitamin B6 (and other b-vitamins), which is needed for serotonin production. It is also high in fiber, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, which all contain great mood impacting nutrients.

Bananas: Rich in potassium and fiber, bananas also contain vitamins A, B6 and C; phosphorous; iron and tryptophan – the serotonin level boosting amino acid.

Berries: This colorful group of fruits is high in fiber and important antioxidants, which support the nervous system. While fiber does not directly produce serotonin, it plays an important role in the overall production process. Fiber is an important factor for good bacteria production in the gut, and since 90 percent of serotonin is generated in the gut, a healthy gut is very important.

Healthy Options in Seattle

Dark Chocolate: High in nutrients and antioxidants, dark chocolate, made with a minimum of 70 percent cocoa solids, impacts serotonin on two levels. Enjoying any favorite food increases endorphins which in turn boost serotonin levels. Dark chocolate also contains magnesium, a necessary nutrient for serotonin production.

Eggs: A great source of amino acids including tryptophan, eggs also contain vitamin D and healthy fats. Maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D is important as low levels of vitamin D are connected to depression.

Almonds: As with dark chocolate, almonds are a great source of magnesium. Research has shown that magnesium plays an important role in regulating neurological pathways, and a deficiency can increase the chance of developing depression.

Spinach: Full of plant-based iron and mood-boosting B vitamins such as folate, vitamins B3, B6 and B12, spinach is a great leafy vegetable that supports serotonin production. Even though most dark leafy greens including spinach are not a favorite snack, they are a great addition to smoothies, egg dishes and soups. 

Some of the above foods may not taste the best when enjoyed on their own, but they can be enjoyed as part of a recipe.

An easy way to encourage Seattle employees to enjoy healthy foods while at work and increase endorphins is to host a healthy breakfast party in the break room. Instead of letting everyone know ahead of time, make it a surprise party for an additional endorphin boost. Offer healthy options like yogurt parfaits with berries or bananas topped with almonds, acai smoothie bowls, fresh fruit, dark chocolate oatmeal breakfast bars, cocoa banana muffins or a coffee bar. 

Whether you’re interested in modifying your current break room menu or completely redesigning it, Vista Vending can help. We offer a variety of break room options including office coffee service, vending options and healthy choices. For more information, please contact us at (253) 592-2843.

Bottled Water in Seattle

Bottled Water Causes Hydration in Seattle

Bottled Water in Seattle

Bottled water is a healthy choice. Refreshing and great tasting, it is also convenient and portable. PepsiCo is upping their game and recently announced that they are taking bottled water and hydration to a new level with their Beyond the Bottle program. “The new system makes it easier for people to stay hydrated with great-tasting beverages, digitally track their hydration, and help meet the growing consumer demand for more sustainable packaging.” 

PepsiCo’s new program is an innovative ecosystem that addresses consumer desire for low-and-no-sugar beverages, the human need for hydration and the environmental impact of plastics on the earth. Each part plays an important role in both Seattle’s consumers’ daily lives as well as the overall health of the environment. For this post, let’s focus on the individual.

Most Seattle employees do not consume enough water. Unfortunately, that often means that they are not as hydrated as they could be. Staying properly hydrated means that more water is going into the body than the amount of water that is leaving. Dehydration is the opposite. 

If you’re thinking that just because summer is gone, and we’re heading toward much colder weather, you don’t have to think about staying hydrated, you’d be wrong. The effects of heating systems and the cold, itself, tend to draw moisture out of the body. Drinking enough water is important for all Seattle individuals year-round.

Bottled Water in Seattle

Severe dehydration is dangerous and can cause life-threatening medical conditions, but most Seattle employees usually contend with a milder form that still affects their day. Employee dehydration negatively impact workplace productivity because of a decrease in cognitive abilities, a reduction in concentration and alertness, and slower mental and physical reaction times. At work, it might be easy to overcome one or two coworkers who are dehydrated, but when about 75 percent of Americans are dehydrated, it is a real problem.

An easy way to decrease dehydration during the workday is to drink more water. 

Even though bottled water is often a favorite packaged beverage, when it comes to hydration, water is water. It doesn’t matter if it’s a glass of filtered water or bottled water from the office break room vending machine.  

Not a fan of plain water? Try adding a slice of lemon or lime or enjoying your favorite brand of flavored sparkling water. 

Bottled flat or carbonated water with fruit infused flavors offer the benefits of plain bottled water without any diet sweeteners or sugars. They are zero calorie, zero preservative, vegan, gluten-free and kosher. Mineral water offers additional health benefits when compared to traditional bottled water. As mineral water’s name suggests, there are extra minerals such as calcium and magnesium in the water that Seattle employees need. 

It’s time to take the first step. We are here to help your organization customize the perfect refreshment menu for your Seattle employees. Don’t forget to offer healthy snacks with a variety of bottled water choices as well as other healthy, cold beverages. For more information, please call Vista Vending at (253) 592-2843.

Seattle Pantry Service

Pantry Service in Seattle Offers Multiple Benefits

Seattle Pantry Service

Everyone needs to feel appreciated, including Seattle employees. Providing pantry service in the workplace break room is just one way to express employee appreciation. While each organization in Seattle has a different culture, there are several things that create a universal feeling of appreciation and are enjoyed by almost everyone.

How to Show Appreciation

The first one applies specifically to the break room. Ask for your employees’ opinions about which snacks, beverages and fresh food they would like to have available in the pantry service

Also connected to the break room, would be to survey everyone about the type of environment or vibe they want in their break room. The right combination of refreshments at no cost plus a welcoming environment is sure to encourage employees to stay on-site when they need to re-hydrate or grab a bite to eat. 

The next three ways to show appreciation don’t have to be connected to the break room, but they can be. Offer employees special treats or meals that aren’t usually available in the break room such as ‘Waffle Wednesday’ or ‘Freshly Baked Cookie Friday.’ Donuts from a favorite bakery or popular pizza are also great options.

In the non-food arena, giving employees who have gone above what was expected extra time off acknowledges their effort and time. Not acknowledging their time and effort can silently convey to everyone that they, the employees and their coworkers, receive no benefit for putting in the extra work.

Another way to express appreciation is to perform random acts of kindness. Everyone has heard the story about one person in line purchasing a coffee for the person behind them. To the person who received the coffee, the experience was a random act of kindness. The same can be done for your Seattle employees. A simple thank you note or someone’s favorite snack are acts of kindness that show appreciation.

Seattle Pantry Service

Why Show Appreciation

At the surface, expressing appreciation for your Seattle employees improves engagement, retention and motivation, especially during the holiday season. But dig a bit deeper and see a positive impact on employee work/life balance. 

In a recent article published by O.C. Tanner, “Showing gratitude can increase a person’s wellness, increase better sleep habits, increase metabolism and lessen stress. This directly impacts work results and employee interaction. With employee appreciation, you’re not only boosting performance and engagement, but the employee’s well-being and health.”

Drill down a bit further to the core and find that increased appreciation causes more positive interactions which then has even more positive ripple effects moving outward. That sounds like a good thing for everyone.

While Vista Vending can’t perform random acts of kindness directly for your Seattle employees, we can help you customize the perfect break room. Whether it’s pantry service, a micro-market or coffee service, your employees will know that you appreciate all that they do. For more information, please call Vista Vending at (253) 592-2843.

Seattle Break Room

Celebrate Fall Activities in Your Seattle Break Room

Seattle Break Room

The break room is the perfect place at work to celebrate fall. If your Seattle employer hasn’t gotten into the fall spirit yet, October 26, 2019 is National Pumpkin Day. In addition to thinking about all the yummy things that can be made with pumpkins, fall is a great time to boost employee moral by encouraging Seattle employees to branch out while having fun and meet colleagues in other departments. 

The following are a few ideas to help everyone celebrate fall.

Host a pumpkin decorating or costume contest:  Everyone loves a bit of competition. With Halloween right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to host a costume or pumpkin decorating contest for your Seattle employees. Both ideas work for single-person teams and multi-person teams, but multi-person teams can increase teamwork and morale. 

Decorate the office: There are a lot of different ways to decorate the break room or office for fall. Place decorated pumpkins (see pumpkin decorating contest above) or gourd arrangements around the room. Add in potted flower arrangements such as garden mums and tall grasses to bring more of the outdoors in. 

Enjoy hot mulled apple cider: Create an aroma based on a popular fall fruit – apples. Enjoyed cold or warm, apple cider delivers a unique flavor combination that is usually only found during the fall months. For a delicious apple aroma throughout the office, heat mulled apple cider on low in a slow cooker in the break room. Provide cups that are meant for hot liquids and a variety of healthy fall snacks.

Seattle Break Room

Offer fall flavored creamers: Pumpkin season brings out a desire for flavors that aren’t usually consumed year-round. Whether it’s cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg, there are a lot of fall flavored coffee creamers, such as pumpkin spice, gingerbread, cinnamon vanilla bean, that can brighten your Seattle’s employees’ day. Don’t forget to offer a selection of non-dairy fall coffee creamers for those employees who do not consume dairy.

Support your community: Whether it’s a 5k or something longer, give back to your local community by sponsoring an employee team. For those employees who can’t or don’t want to run the race, there are other ways to be involved. Gather a group of coworkers to cheer on the participants and to meet the runners at the finish line or encourage employees to sign up to help with registration or to work at a water station. 

Not sure if your Seattle break room is ready for all the pumpkins that will soon be arriving? Vista Vending can help update your entire break room or customize your refreshment menu with sought-after snacks, beverages and coffee. For more information, please call Vista Vending at (253) 592-2843. 

Office Coffee Service in Seattle

Seattle, It’s time to celebrate coffee!

Office Coffee Service in Seattle

October 1 is International Coffee Day, a day celebrated around the world. Each year, the International Coffee Organization, the founder of the holiday, recognizes a different part of the coffee industry. This year, the holiday is focused on the farmers who produce the beans.   

Farmers go through six different stages before the beans are sent to market: 

  1. picking the cherries (what a coffee bean is called when it’s still on the tree); 
  2. washing to remove the outer skin of the cherry; 
  3. drying the beans; 
  4. grading the beans based on size, where and at what altitude they were grown and how they were prepared and picked; 
  5. roasting; and 
  6. cupping or assessing coffee according to sweetness, acidity, mouthfeel, balance and flavor.

Once the beans make it to Seattle break rooms, choosing the right type of brewer becomes the next step. It is important to understand which types of brewers should be used for different types of beverages and the number of employees. 

There are four types of brewers that are primarily used in break rooms: automatic brewers, drip brewers, single-serve machines and bean-to-cup brewers. 

Automatic Brewers: Never run out of freshly made, hot coffee with an automatic machine. Connected to an incoming water line, an automatic brewer can brew either a single pot or multiple pots at one time. Automatic brewers are built to handle high levels of daily traffic.   

Drip/Pourover Brewers: Built similarly to automatic brewers, drip or pourover brewers can handle high amounts of daily traffic. The key difference is that drip brewers are not connected to an incoming water line. The user is responsible for adding water to the machine each time a new pot is brewed. 

Single-Serve Machines: This type of brewer can meet a different set of needs when compared to the previous two brewers. A single-serve machine requires less physical space in a break room and can cater to employees who have very different coffee preferences, but it works better in areas with less traffic. 

Office Coffee Service in Seattle

Bean-to-cup Machines: A bean-to-cup machine uses a built-in grinder to deliver freshly ground and brewed coffee. As with traditional single-serve machines, only one cup can be brewed at a time, but Seattle employees have the option to make a variety of espresso-based, specialty beverages.

There’s one other thing to remember when choosing a brewer. It’s important to understand the steps involved to keep your machine in top shape. Not only will regular maintenance extend the life of the machine, but it will impact the taste of everyone’s coffee. 

But don’t worry, Vista Vending can help your facility/office manager choose the best brewer for your organization, perform required maintenance and create a customized refreshment menu that meets everyone’s snack and beverage needs. We offer a variety of office coffee service, micro-market and vending service solutions for your Seattle break room. 

For more information, please call Vista Vending at 615.824.2000. We look forward to celebrating International Coffee Day with you.

Bottled Water Options in Seattle

Bottled Water Options in Seattle

Bottled Water Options in Seattle

Bottled water has done it again. “For a third year in a row, bottled water is the No. 1 packaged beverage in the United States,” according to Jill Culora, IBWAs vice president of communications. Bottled still and/or sparkling water is also 72 percent of Americans’ preferred non-alcoholic beverage, an increase of nine percent over 2018. For those who prefer bottled water, taste is the most important feature (98 percent) followed by quality (98 percent), and safety (90 percent).

With 84 percent of Seattle residents trying to drink more water, and the hot summer season upon us, let’s take a step back and look at fun summer beverages that often began as flat or carbonated water.

  • lemonade: water, lemon juice, and a sweetener, to taste
  • iced tea: water, tea, and a sweetener, if desired
  • fruit/veggie/herb-infused water: water plus any combination such as strawberry & lime, lemon & basil, strawberry & basil, lemon & raspberry, and cherry & lime

If none of those flavor combinations sound appealing, consider choosing one or more of the following fruits and vegetables that are in-season in the Seattle area: mint, blueberries, apricots, kiwi, cherries, cucumbers and peaches. There are also a number of different ways to infuse the water with the flavors of your choice. 

Bottled Water Options in Seattle

You might try squeezing a bit of the juice from citrus fruit (ex. lime, lemon or orange) into a glass or pitcher of water and enjoying. Depending on the size of the container, sliced or chopped fruit can be placed at the bottom of a pitcher or glass and soaked overnight (pitcher) or for a couple hours (glass). Berries can be mashed and placed at the bottom of a glass, and the glass filled with water. For herbs, such as mint leaves, tear up the leaves, cover them in water, and let the water steep. 

The number of flavor combinations and preparation methods are limitless, but not everyone will have the option or want to prepare a water-based beverage. 

While almost three-quarters of Americans voted bottled water as their first choice, don’t forget about other popular beverages. Sixty-one percent of those polled ranked coffee in second place and soft drinks in third with 59 percent. In 2019, Seattle employees have a lot of healthier options available including natural and organic sodas and carbonated juices. 

Vista Vending would like to help Seattle employers provide their employees with healthy beverages and snacks in their break room vending machine. Hydrated and satiated individuals have more energy and are more focused. For more information or to schedule a product sampling today, call Vista Vending at (253) 592-2843.