healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

Orlando and Central Florida’s Secret Weapon for Healthy Eating

healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

For many in the Orlando and Central Florida area, the holiday season is a time for celebration. Maintaining healthy eating habits often fall to the wayside during November and December. Now that it’s the start of a new year, it’s time to reassess the state of one’s eating habits at work and at home. The Right Choice for a Healthier You™, a workplace nutrition education program that focuses on helping employees make healthy choices, can help.

The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ program is sponsored by USConnect®, a nationwide food service network with providers in the Orlando and Central Florida area. USConnect®’s network consists of the leading independent food service companies in the United States. The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ has an extensive website focused on making healthy choices. Visitors to the website can learn more about nutrition, healthy food options and exercise. The website is loaded with healthy recipes that are delicious and easy to prepare.  Additional resources link visitors to websites that provide fitness tracking, nutrition calculators, ways to sleep better and tips for reducing stress. The Vending Station is an independent vending service provider in the greater Orlando and Central Florida area. It is part of the USConnect network and offers The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ program to its clients. The company provides an extensive variety of healthy food and beverage vending options to their customers. Snacks, beverages and foods that meet The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ dietary guidelines are marked with the program’s heart logo so they stand out as healthy choices. This makes it easier for employees to make healthy selections when they visit the break room.

healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

Employee well-being can be further promoted through corporate wellness initiatives that are supported by The Right Choice for a Healthier You™. Companies can rely on expert help in developing programs through free consultation services with a registered dietitian. Workplace wellness programs go a long way toward establishing a healthy mindset in the workplace and reinforcing good habits that extend into employees’ lives at home.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a continuous work in progress. This time of year, many of us have to work a little harder. The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ guides us towards better nutrition and better living now and all throughout the year. Check out their website at www.therightchoiceforahealthieryou.com.

The Vending Station provides premium vending, office coffee and water filtration services to its customers. Contact us at (407) 891.7632 to improve the healthfulness of your workplace in the New Year.

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

Orlando and Central Florida Office Coffee Service Must-Haves

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

Morning jolt, liquid energy, or as many Orlando and Central Florida residents also know it, coffee is crucial for a successful work day. In fact more than 60 percent of adults recently surveyed by the National Coffee Associated shared that they had consumed coffee at some point during the previous day. Rather than worrying about how many people drink coffee each day, employers should be more concerned about which types of beverages those individuals drank. Providing only traditional coffee in the break room for 60 percent of adults definitely won’t meet the work day demand for different types of coffee bean-based beverages.

Current and potential employees have a number of must-have requirements when it comes to their workplace office coffee service (OCS) and are willing to go off site to find them if they aren’t available in the break room. Must-have doesn’t mean like-to-have or would-be-nice. Must-have means critical, essential, imperative, indispensable, integral, necessary, needed, required, requisite, or vital. To meet Orlando and Central Florida’s employees’ demands and compete with off-site options, break room benefits including OCS needs to exceed current employee expectations. Keeping employees on site for coffee breaks isn’t the only thing employers should consider.

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

Excellent OCS can also be used to meet a variety of expectations among the different generations of your current employees and to recruit new employees. If you’re looking for a way to improve your break room benefits, boost your Orlando and Central Florida break room experience with our top 5 OCS must-haves:

  • Cold brew: It has a smoother taste and lower acidity level than traditional coffee, and is now available almost everywhere.
  • The right combination of brewing equipment: Whether it’s traditional brewing equipment (traditional brewers, single-cup brewers, or bean-to-cup brewers), advanced brewing technology or both, provide equipment that will brew an excellent cup of coffee and barista-quality espresso-based beverages.
  • Consider the optimal mix, varieties, and quality of coffee beans as well as a well thought out menu offering teas and non-caffeinated hot beverages. Rotate the selections, ask for feedback, and use that feedback to improve your services.
  • Offer sought-after snacks, fresh food, and cold beverages including delicious water from a bottle-less water filtration system.
  • Provide nicely organized and fully-stocked OCS condiments including a variety of sugars and sweeteners, dairy and non-dairy creamers, stir sticks, and environmentally-friendly cups, lids, napkins, and utensils.

Which office coffee service must-haves are already available in your Orlando and Central Florida break room? Whether you have none or just a couple of them, we can help you transform your break room into a valued employee benefit. For more information or to upgrade your current space, call The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to hearing from you.

healthy options in Orlando and Central Florida

Healthy and Fun Food Trends in Orlando and Central Florida

healthy options in Orlando and Central Florida

Finding the right balance between healthy and not-so-healthy foods can be challenging especially if one’s current diet feels boring, but it doesn’t have to be. A variety of new food trends can be found throughout Orlando and Central Florida that will satisfy a healthy craving or offer a bit of silliness and hopefully, bring things into balance.   

Healthy Food Trends

Turmeric Milk or Golden Milk: The primary ingredients in this beverage are cow’s or plant-based milk, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. Not only does this beverage contain antioxidants and powerful anti-inflammatory properties, but it has also been found to help form new connections in the brain and promote brain cell growth.

Gut-Friendly Foods: This group of foods includes sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kefir, and pickles, all of which have undergone the process of fermentation or pickling. A short explanation of fermentation is that yeast or bacteria is added to a particular food and then feeds on the natural sugars in that food. The result is a preserved product that contains gut-healthy probiotics and other helpful nutrients.  

Drinkable Soups: Easy to enjoy on-the-go or throughout the workday, drinkable soups are made with vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant-packed produce and are packaged in ready-to-drink containers. Similar in consistency to smoothies, drinkable soups offer a more filling, higher fiber, and lower sugar option that can replace a less healthy snack.

Healthy is super important, but we also need a little fun in our lives. Enjoying fun food trends (in moderation of course) is a great way to taste something new and have fun.

healthy options in Orlando and Central Florida

Fun Food Trends
Rolled Ice Cream: Part of what makes rolled ice cream so intriguing is its preparation method. Using a process that is similar to the one used to make a classic Yule log dessert, liquid ice cream is poured on a cold slate which freezes the ice cream. The frozen sheet of ice cream is then rolled by hand, sliced, and served with a variety of toppings. Yum!

Doughnuts with Customized-Fillings: ‘Boutique’ doughnut shops have been popping up across the U.S., and the options are endless. Unique ingredients include sweet and regular potato, pumpkin, and fruit jellies. Fillings and flavors such as custard, snickers bars, and banana malt and toppings like bacon, marshmallows, and cereal can also be found. There’s a flavor combination for everyone.

Instead of seeing your Orlando and Central Florida employees always going off site to find something healthy or fun to eat, provide them with a reason to stay on site. Offer a balance of healthy and fun beverage, snack, and food options in your break room micro-market or vending machines. To create a customized menu for your organization, survey your employees about their preferences, but don’t forget to include coffee service options in your survey. Coffee, tea, and espresso-based beverages can also be fun and healthy.

Increase the odds that all of your Orlando and Central Florida employees can find something in the break room with a custom break room menu designed by The Vending Station. We can help you create a space that is inviting, fun, and relaxing all at the same time. For more information, call The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632.

Snacks in Orlando and Central Florida

Salty Snacks Get Better-for-You in Orlando and Central Florida

Snacks in Orlando and Central Florida

With all of the cookies, cakes, pies, and sweet snacks that will likely be enjoyed during the next couple months, Orlando and Central Florida employees shouldn’t be afraid to include a few better-for-you salty snacks to balance everything out. Salt can have a bit of a bad reputation, but the word or concept of salt shouldn’t cause anyone to be fearful.

Salt is a mineral made of sodium and chloride, and it plays an important role in maintaining human health. The right amount of salt helps balance fluid levels in the body as well as helping muscles and nerves function properly.

But, and it’s a big one, consuming too much salt can cause some very dangerous health conditions. And therein lies the challenge — understanding where the line is between too much and too little salt, and choosing healthy ways to get the correct amount of salt for your body.

In 2018, snacks have played a more complex role in our daily diet than they did just a few years ago. David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, explained that “more consumers have moved away from the traditional three meals per day and shifted into a lifestyle involving increased snacking, or multiple smaller meals, throughout the day.”

A recent survey by Surveygoo supports that as 92 percent of the Millennials surveyed said they replaced a meal with a snack at least once a week. 50 percent did it four times a week and 26 percent, did it seven times per week.

Snacks in Orlando and central Florida

New better-for-you salty snacks or mini meals are now made with alternative (non-potato) ingredients such as proteins, grains, vegetables, and superfoods, and include new taste, texture, and flavor combinations. It’s clear that a shift has occurred to include an expanded definition of the snack. Both types of snacks, the traditional and the “mini-meal” healthy snack, need to be available in the Orlando and Central Florida break room.

Employees are looking for new ways to combat the afternoon munchies and to fill a nutritional need during the work day. If that snack is not available at work, they will go elsewhere to find the snack or mini-meal that they need. Offering the combination of new flavors, textures, and healthier ingredients is an interesting way to draw hungry people to the break room.

To offer a wide variety of options for your Orlando and Central Florida employees, update your break room to include vending machines or a micro-market that offer a customized menu of snacks, beverages, and fresh food to meet your employees’ needs and preferences. Whether that means changing up your current offerings, adding coffee service, or updating your entire break room, The Vending Station can help. For more information, contact The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to working with you.

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

Coffee, Cells, and the Domino Effect in Orlando and Central Florida

Coffee options in Orlando and Central FloridaFour cups of coffee. That’s all the caffeine it takes to trigger a protective effect in the human heart. Researchers have known for awhile that drinking coffee plays a positive role in lowering the risk of developing type II diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, but the how remained somewhat elusive. Until today. Researchers at the Medical Faculty, Heinrich-Heine-University and the IUF-Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Duesseldorf, Germany have discovered new knowledge about how caffeine interacts with cells in the human body.

All living beings, including humans, are made up of cells. In fact, there are about 200 different types of cells in a human body that do everything from creating linings to repairing different parts of the heart muscle. It’s the caffeine in those four cups of coffee that triggers the domino effect which ends with the protection and repair of the heart muscle.

In a very simplified explanation, caffeine is like the hand that knocks over the first domino in a long line of dominoes. Each time a domino falls, it starts a new reaction in the next domino until the very last domino tips over, and the process is complete. For one of the types of cells in the human heart, caffeine creates an environment where the heart muscle cells are protected from damage or repaired when damage happens.  

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

In a different line of dominoes, caffeine is one of the many components that help Orlando and Central Florida employees stay healthy. Healthy employees then contribute to the process of creating a successful workplace by being productive, alert, and energized. Employers have the opportunity to play an important role in this line of dominoes by providing a variety of snacks and beverages that contain caffeine in the break room vending machine.

Coffee isn’t the only beverage that contains caffeine. Both hot tea and cold sweet tea contain caffeine although the caffeine levels will vary based on the type of tea. Matcha (tea) has the most caffeine followed by Yerba Mate, black tea, and oolong and green tea. Other cold beverages with caffeine include carbonated colas and energy drinks. Caffeinated snacks include products made with chocolate, protein bars, energy bars, espresso beans, and energy gum.Thankfully, there is a caffeinated option for almost everyone.  

Which caffeinated break room beverage or snack do your Orlando and Central Florida employees seek out the most? Is it coffee, or maybe something else? In any case, it is important to learn your employees’ preferences to be able to encourage them to stay onsite and visit the break room instead of leaving the premises and going to a local cafe or restaurant. The Vending Station would like to help your organization customize your employee break room to meet your employees’ coffee, snack, and beverage wishes. For more information about about micro-markets, coffee service, or vending services, contact us at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to working with you.

break room options in Orlando and Central Florida

Provide Hospitality Not Service in Your Orlando and Central Florida Break Room

break room options in Orlando and Central FloridaWhy does is matter if an employer’s break room provides its employees only with services? Isn’t it good enough if the space just fulfills specific employee needs? For example, an employee is thirsty, so they go to the vending machine and purchase a cold beverage. The vending machine provided a service to the employee by delivering the purchased beverage.

The short answer to the previous questions is no, it isn’t enough, and because people or employees are more than just their thirst or hunger.

In 2018, only delivering services in the break room is not enough. Today, the majority of Orlando and Central Florida employees want to feel confident that their employee benefits and perks will have a meaningful and positive impact of their quality of life. In other words, they want to experience that hospitality brings. These benefits and perks often include onsite gyms, dry cleaning, and in-office meal options such as pantry service, a micro-market, or gourmet cafe-style coffee service.

To elevate break room perks beyond being only a service, employers need to add the practice of hospitality into the mix. According to the Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, hospitality is

  1. “[the] generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests” and
  2. “the activity of providing food, drinks, etc. for people who are the guests or customers of an organization.”

break room options in Orlando and Central FloridaJim Sullivan, author, and CEO and founder of Sullivision.com, recently described hospitality as “smiles, sincerity, warmth, [and] connection” and said that “hospitality fulfills people.” After blending hospitality with their Orlando and Central Florida break room, employees can experience an inviting atmosphere that boosts morale, encourages collaboration, and provides a variety of beverages, snacks, and food. But what does this mean in terms of the physical space?

The difference between service and hospitality in a physical space is subtle, but very important. Specific features including updated lighting, plants or other connections to nature, specialty coffee (ex. free-trade or a private label), high-end micro-market fixtures, and locally-made snacks or fresh food are added to the traditional, tangible items like vending machines, coffee equipment, and open racks and glass front coolers. Not only are the needs of thirsty and hungry employees being met, but Orlando and Central Florida employees’ desire for specialty coffee or snacks and a higher-end experience are being fulfilled — and that is hospitality in the break room.

To customize and upgrade the hospitality level in your office break room, call The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to hearing from you.

Vending machine options in Orlando and Central Florida

Find a Bit of Spice in Your Orlando and Central Florida Snack Vending Machine

Vending machine options in Orlando and Central Florida

With Halloween rapidly approaching, it’s time to reassess the sweet treats in your Orlando and Central Florida vending machine and consider which sweet snacks would be better with some heat. Spicy snacks have been around for awhile, but they were usually located in the ‘not-sweet’ snack section of the break room vending machine. It’s time to explore new flavor combinations and see what happens when your favorite candy is mixed with a bit of spice.

Historically, cinnamon was the most frequently used spice in the U.S. to add heat to candy. With the increased awareness of and interest in Latin American flavors, that has changed. Today, Orlando and Central Florida employees can find a mix of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors from cayenne, habanero, or sriracha in their sweet vending machine snacks. And Orlando and Central Florida employees are buying a lot of them.

Based on recent sales’ data from CandyStore.com, sales of spicy and hot-flavored candy increased 25 percent between June 2017 and June 2018. Larry Levin, EVP of Consumer and Shopper Marketing at IRI, a market research firm, reported that “sales for non-chocolate spicy and hot attributed candy products are growing eight times faster than non-chocolate in general, at a rate of 25%.” A 25 percent increase over a 12-month period is huge considering that growth in candy, as an industry, has been less than one percent.

Vending Machine options in Orlando and Central Florida

There’s just one more thing to mention.

If Orlando and Central Florida employees are not used to the heat from certain spices, it is important to offer them different options in the break room that will cool the heat. The following suggestions might might help when things are just too spicy.

Milk: Plain milk is one of the best remedies, but if it’s not available, yogurt from a fresh food vending machine or a micro-market would be a great alternative.

Sugar: A teaspoon or a single packet of sugar from the office coffee service could also do the trick.

Milk Chocolate: The fat and casein (the protein in milk) content found in a milk chocolate bar from the vending machine can help combat the heat. While dark chocolate may have more health benefits, milk chocolate is a better choice in this case.

What combination of sweet and spicy do your Orlando and Central Florida employees hope to find in their break room? Whether it leans more to the sweet side or the spicy side, we can help you customize a solution that meets your employees needs and wishes. The Vending Station offers a variety of vending services including micro-markets, office coffee service, and vending machines. For more information, contact us at (407) 891.7632.

Healthy snack option in Orlando and central florida

Finding Healthy Snacks in Orlando and Central Florida Break Rooms

Healthy snack option in Orlando and central florida

Demand for great-tasting healthy snacks in Orlando and Central Florida break rooms is on the rise. As consumers become more conscious or mindful of what they eat, employers have the opportunity to bring healthier snack options into their break rooms and educate their employees about healthy snacking. Malcolm McAlpine, business manager at Branded Snacks — Foodservice and Vending, Mondelez International recently explained that “consumers are becoming increasingly attuned to the nutritional value of the food they consume” and are changing a single-minded focus on low calories to “an emphasis on premium quality, traceable, trustworthy sourcing and simple, clean label ingredients.”

To ensure that potential healthy snacks meet these criteria, Orlando and Central Florida employees are asking the following questions:

  • What is this snack’s origin? Does that make some or all of its ingredients organic? non-GMO?
  • Is the brand or manufacturer transparent about the product? What is the complete list of ingredients? What is the production process?
  • Can this snack be personalized? Will it meet my individual dietary needs for snacks that are gluten free, paleo, keto, or dairy free?

The key to meeting a variety of dietary, transparency, and source or origin requirements is to offer a balance of snacking options including a variety of product types that meet a large number of different needs as well as provide scientifically accurate information for those snacks.This information will educate and support Orlando and Central Florida employees in making healthy decisions and clarifying some of the confusing or mixed messages that are out there.

Healthy snack options in Orlando and Central Florida

Encouraging Orlando and Central Florida employees to try new healthy snacks that are available in the break room vending machine or micro-market often requires several different approaches. One approach is to educate employees about terminology. For example, how is organic different from non-GMO, or what are the different names for sugar that are used in an ingredient list? Education will enable each Orlando and Central Florida employee to make decisions on their own that are appropriate for them.

Another approach is to provide employees with the opportunity to try new snacks or beverages that focus on a specific dietary need. Worrying about the taste of a new healthy snack, and if it is ‘worth it’ to spend the money, are hurdles that employees must overcome before buying something they have never tried. Offering that item as a monthly special with discounted pricing helps those employees who otherwise might not try an item feel better about buying it because they are spending less.

Do your Orlando and Central Florida employees have a list of healthy snacks that they wish they could enjoy while at work? As their employer, you have the opportunity to provide that benefit and customize the break room to meet their needs. Vending machines and micro-markets can be designed to offer the right mix of healthy and traditional snacks and beverages. It’s a great first step to help employees stay healthy and be productive at work. To learn more about upgrading your break room, call The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to working with you.

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

Coffee and Collaboration in Orlando and Central Florida

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

Getting together with friends to grab a cup of coffee and catch up is a popular activity for many Orlando and Central Florida residents. But what about at work? Do those same individuals have the opportunity to enjoy a hot caffeinated beverage with their colleagues and talk or collaborate about work-related topics? If they don’t, it might be time to look at a new approach for combining coffee and collaboration at work.

You might be wondering what the connection between coffee and collaboration is. Before we get to that, let’s look at the benefits of collaboration by themselves. Collaboration, at its core, is the act of freely sharing knowledge quickly and easily. The result of collaboration is an increase in innovative products and solutions, which leads to improved employee engagement and satisfaction. In the long run, profitability also often increases. Unfortunately, a third of Orlando and Central Florida employees don’t experience the level of collaboration that they need to be successful.

This is where a cup of Joe comes into the picture.

Coffee, or more specifically the caffeine found in it, positively affects the outcome of group performance when the individuals in that group consumed caffeinated coffee beforehand. Recent research at The Ohio State University found that coffee made people more positive by making them more alert. This in turn created a better personal and group experience and better overall team performance results. Another related study found that the participants who consumed coffee in a group setting were also more likely to participate in the conversation and spent more time talking on-topic.   

Coffee option in Central Florida and Orlando

To increase the likelihood that coffee and both spontaneous and planned collaboration occur more frequently, there are a few changes that can be made to your Orlando and Central Florida work environment.

Start by creating “collaboration zones.” That will mean different things to different organizations. For some, it might entail updating the office break room to include a micro-market and coffee service with lots of smaller tables and seating areas that encourage conversation. Other Orlando and Central Florida businesses might prefer multiple smaller locations throughout the building with coffee service and vending machine snacks and beverages.

The key is to customize the space to fit your organization. That’s where The Vending Station comes in. We help Orlando and Central Florida businesses discover the right combination of beverages, snacks, and food to create a break room that supports employee collaboration. For more information or to take the first step, call us at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to collaborating with you.

Break Room Perks in Orlando and Central Florida

Orlando and Central Florida Employees Value Their Break Room Perks

Break Room Perks in Orlando and Central Florida

Employees value their break room perks. Whether it’s flexible working hours, professional development opportunities, gym memberships, working remotely, or meals or catered food, perks can have a big impact on an employee’s lifestyle quality. Perks also create a positive return on investment for employers. Lisa Oyler, human resources director at Access Development explained, “Perks are about creating a culture and environment where we hope we can find that work-life balance. If employees are happy at work, they’re going to produce more. This leads to higher retention.”

A cost-effective employee perk that is highly valued is the break room. But it isn’t just any type of break room. This break room should support community building, be aesthetically pleasing, let their employees know that employee well-being is important, and offer a variety of healthy and traditional snacks, food, and beverages.

Community

According to a recent survey by Clutch, a B2B research, ratings, and reviews company, “about half (47 percent) of part- or full-time employees value a community atmosphere in the place where they work.” A common way that groups of individuals build a sense of community is to share a meal, and that includes Orlando and Central Florida employees. The office break room provides a location where that can occur.

In order to draw employees into the break room, the space must be aesthetically pleasing and welcoming.

Break Room Perks in Orlando and Central Florida

Aesthetics

More than 60 percent of employees surveyed by Clutch want a pleasant, modern, and comfortable workspace. The problem arises when only 47 percent of those employees actually have a space they find agreeable. This discrepancy should be concerning to Orlando and Central Florida employers.

Creating an aesthetically pleasing break room can vary from a few small design changes to a complete overhaul. Features that appeal to most employees include increasing the amount of natural lighting, updating fixtures, incorporating aspects of nature such as plants, wood, or water, and adding new places to socialize or take a nap.   

Current and Future Employees

A transformed break room creates a community atmosphere and helps employees connect with each other. It also draws in potential new hires. Break room perks like micro-markets and pantry service in inviting spaces help Orlando and Central Florida employers build a stronger relationship with current employees as well as show new hires that their quality of life matters.

Unfortunately, two out of five employers don’t offer any employee perks. Use this knowledge to your advantage — customize your Orlando and Central Florida break room so it meets your employees needs. Whether it’s adding office coffee service or healthy vending machines, or designing a completely new space, The Vending Station can help. For more information, call us at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to hearing from you.