Healthy Options in Western New York

Offer Healthy and Sweet Treats in Western New York

Healthy Options in Western New York

Healthy treats and sweet treats are often perceived by many Western New York 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 Western New York 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 Western New York 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 Western New York

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 Western New York employees pay attention to portion sizes and frequency of consumption.

To support your Western New York employees in making healthy “sweet treat” choices during their workday, it is important to create an environment where healthy options are the norm. Sirness Vending Services 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 585-594-9000. 

Healthy Options in Rochester

Offer Healthy Snacks and Beverages Year-Round in Rochester

Healthy Options in Rochester

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 Rochester 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, Rochester 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 Rochester

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 Rochester 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, Sirness Vending Services 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 585-594-9000.