How to keep your desk job from killing you slowly.

Staying healthy at work can be difficult, from morning sweets brought in by a co-worker to long hours sitting at your desk, all these can factor into your long term health without you realizing it. New research is finding out that a sedentary lifestyle can be as detrimental to our health as smoking a pack of cigarettes every day. Here’s how your desk job is killing you slowly.

“Sitting is so incredibly prevalent that we don’t even question how much we’re doing it. And because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t even occur to us that it’s not ok.” Nilofer Merchant said at TED 2013. An increase in the amount of standing desks entering the workforce is a positive but more can be done. A recent study from Career Builder states that 41 percent of people have gained weight at their jobs and most of that can be attributed to unhealthy snacking.  It’s not just about our activity levels on and off the clock but our eating habits as well.

Below are a few statistics on how sitting can be slowing harming your health and how to make minor improvements throughout the work day.

Health, Work,

Why Being a WBE is Important

workplace-1245776_1920Established in 2002 and certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), National Vending supports the growth of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (MWBE) within the communities we service. But what does it mean to be a WBE?

For National Vending, it means things like supporting entrepreneurial growth and assisting clients in meeting diversity requirements. Statistics show that companies who embrace diversity are more profitable than companies who don’t. MWBE procurement has a direct and positive impact where corporations do business, which builds brand loyalty.

Tier I and II

Companies with supplier diversity programs are also interested in Tier 1 and Tier II supplier classifications. A Tier I supplier has a direct relationship with its client. To qualify under Tier II, a company’s direct supplier, like National Vending, contracts with other MWBEs and reports that spend back to the company.

“The reason diversity works is that on almost every measure, greater racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse workplace teams function more effectively than more homogenous teams. Members from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives avoid “groupthink,” whereas non-diverse teams get mired in it. …In short, the business case for diversity is overwhelming.” [1]

Tax Incentives

The federal government provides tax breaks for companies that utilize minority and women-owned businesses as suppliers.  A second tax incentive reduces tax liability to companies that use minority and women-owned businesses that supply labor or services to a project funded with federal or state grants or loans. State tax incentives may be available as well. Find out more at https://goo.gl/zG8rNa.

Celebrate National Candy Day with These Fun Facts

Candy has become an everyday treat readily accessible everywhere from checkout lines at the grocery store to vending machines at work so we’ve got a few fun facts listed below that you can share with your friends on November 4 for #NationalCandyDay!

The first form of candy to make its way to America was rock candy. As one of the simplest types of candy, it was a luxury only the wealthy could afford. The first American vending machine was introduced in 1888 and dispensed Tutti Fruity Gum, but that wasn’t even the beginning of America’s love affair with candy.

Chocolate started in 1847 in Britain when Joseph Fry and his son mixed cocoa powder and sugar to make a candy bar. After the idea traveled across the ocean in 1875, Henry Nestle decided to add milk to the concoction, making the chocolate taste less bitter. From there Milton Hershey had his eyes on chocolate-making machines he found at the Chicago World’s Fair. After already making caramel, he couldn’t resist the opportunity and one year later, the world got the first chocolate bar from Hershey.

After that, chocolate bars took off as a special treat! Starting with the Clark bar in 1916, Oh Henry! Bar in 1920, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in 1922, and Baby Ruth and Milky Way in 1923. With more and more chocolate delights being added to the industry, it makes sense why the United States consumes roughly $18.27 billion dollars’ worth a year.

We’ve got even more fun candy facts listed below! Be sure to tell us your favorite candy by leaving a comment or reach out to us on our Twitter and Facebook.

CandyInfographicWP

11 Fun Facts about Pumpkins for National Pumpkin Day

PumpkinDayWP02October is coming to a close and with it is National Pumpkin Day! But how much do we really know about these large gourds? We did the digging and came up with 11 fun facts about pumpkins that might surprise you!

  1. Pumpkins were considered a last resort food amongst the colonial settlers.
  2. They can be grown on every continent except Antarctica.
  3. The United States produces 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin each year, and 80 percent of the pumpkin crop is available in October.
  4. The largest pumpkin weighed in at 2,624 pounds and took home the Giant Pumpkin European Championship in Ludwigsburg, Germany.
  5. Every single part of a pumpkin is edible, even the stem.
  6. Morton, Illinois is the self-proclaimed pumpkin capital of the world due to Libby’s pumpkin processing plant, owned by Nestle Food Company. Libby’s cans more than 85 percent of the world’s pumpkin each year.
  7. Each pumpkin has about 500 seeds, which can be roasted to eat.
  8. The largest pumpkin pie weighed in 3,699 pounds and was 20 feet in diameter.
  9. There are more than 45 different varieties of pumpkins.
  10. The oldest pumpkin seeds date back 8,000 to 10,000 years.
  11. According to the American Pie Council, pumpkin pie is America’s second favorite kind of pie. Nineteen percent report preferring apple pie compared to the 13 percent who picked pumpkin.

Vending Outside the Box

MicroMarkets

The world of vending is expanding beyond the typical machines found in your office break room. Self-checkout (also known as micro markets) is new on the scene and a great way for employers to provide vending solutions in a non-traditional format. Most often found at larger workplace locations, self-checkout markets are growing rapidly with no plans to stop.

The concept of a self-checkout market resembles a small convenience store without a cashier and allows patrons to select snacks, meals and drinks from a variety of racks and coolers. The patrons would then bring purchases to a self-checkout touch screen kiosk. This allows the consumer the convenience to pick up items and check nutrition labels before purchasing them.

These markets also allow for more customization when it comes to products and allow for promotional integration with employer health and wellness programs. In vending, fresh food selections are limited, but fresh is what sells in self-checkout markets. More than 25 percent of micro market sales are from fresh food, which allows for more healthy products to be added. Self-checkout customers were asked what they like most about the new market and a majority, 79.8 percent, like the variety.

It’s like having a convenience store in your own facility; each layout is customizable to the needs of your facility and food preferences. If your company is interested in expanding your vending options, let us know by giving us a call at (888)-795-8363.

Is Diet Soda the True Culprit When it Comes to Health Risks?

DietSodaWP

The results are in and it looks like diet soda may not be as bad for you as researchers thought. Recent studies suggests there are more factors to consider when trying to link diet sodas to obesity, increased blood pressure and diabetes. Experts still worry about the chemicals present in diet soda and for some there isn’t even a question on whether or not diet soda is worth the risk. “Just get rid of it,” Keri Glassman, R.D.N advises. “It is filled with unhealthy chemicals, including artificial sweeteners, which actually make you crave more calories later.”

Some experts suggest taking a closer look at other bad habits to see if they play more of a role in decreased health than an occasional indulgence in a can of diet soda. Other bad habits might be to blame, if you are a smoker or live an inactive lifestyle, diet soda may not be the true offender.

“Consumers of diet soda who engage in other lifestyle behaviors associated with poor health outcomes are at a greater risk than those who balance their intake of diet soda with other healthful habits,” says Cara Harbstreet, of Street Smart Nutrition as Women’s Health notes. “The variables make it difficult to pinpoint whether diet soda consumption alone is the cause of negative health outcomes, or whether it’s the culmination of a number of factors…I lean towards the latter, since nothing in nutrition or health exists in a vacuum.”

For those looking to cut down on the amount of sugar or artificial sweeteners added to your drinks, consider switching to a seltzer or removing soda from your home but ordering it at a restaurant or bar.

“Choosing to drink (or eat) any one specific item is always a deeply personal choice,” Harbstreet says, “So I pose the question, which is the lesser of two evils?”

We want to hear from you! Do you think diet soda plays a key role in decreased health status? Or should consumers consider other bad habits before blaming diet soda?

Snacking around the World

The variety of snacks you can get just by walking into your average grocery store can be pretty mesmerizing. You can get chips that come in a plethora of flavors; you can get pretzels (sweet or salty); you can get candy or chocolate bars; you can get cookies or crackers; you can get nuts or seeds, and the list really goes on endlessly. In the US, chips and cookies are the staple snack, but around the world, palates and flavors differ entirely.

We brought in some unusual snacks from around the world to the office and had everyone give them a try. Then we had everyone guess which country the snacks originated from. It was a blast seeing everyone’s amusement with the kinds of snacks we laid out. Here’s what went down.

We managed to get some of the snacks from local ethnic markets in Des Moines, but had to order the rest online because they were too difficult to find.

Boxes from Amazon

Country-labeled PlatesCountry-labeled Plates 2

First up, they tried some Dela Rosa, a sweet marzipan peanut candy from Mexico. They came individually packed in little round pieces, and it was a powdery consistency that pretty much broke once we opened the little wrappers. No one could guess where this was from, but we definitely weren’t expecting that level of sweetness from it.

De La Rosa box De La Rosa open box

Next, everyone had a go at TimTams. I think these were the safest looking food on the table, and everyone just loved them. We even had people asking for seconds. This Australian chocolate cookie snack is a definite must-try 🙂 They are available on Amazon in the US!

Tim Tam Tim Tam Open

These little burgers are the cutest thing you’ll ever eat, AND they are delicious! At first, they seemed a little curious, but when everyone had one, we were very much immediate fans of Every Burger! This Japanese snack is actually a rich chocolate sandwiched between mini wheat cookies. Who else would come up with little chocolate burger snacks, other than the Japanese 🙂

Every Burger Every Burger PacketEvery Burger Opened

Dried cuttlefish is actually a pretty typical Asian snack, especially in China. It is very much just plain dried cuttlefish, and it has quite a sweet tang. Unfortunately. it also packs in a heavy fishy smell that had everyone on their feet before trying a tiny piece of this. As it turns out, most Americans probably will have a hard time overcoming that smell long enough to enjoy this interesting snack, although there were one or two people at the office who actually enjoyed this one!

Dried Cuttle Fish Dried Cuttle Fish packaging

These squid-flavored peanuts are common on Korea (although this packet is from Japan). They seemed a little peculiar at first, but everyone seemed to enjoy them. In fact, they were really addictive and the bag was gone before we could get proper pictures of the little squid-peanut balls 🙂

Roasted Squid-flavored Peanuts

Next on the menu, Muruku from India! This was the easiest to guess which country it came from, and everyone got it right. It has a distinct spice and curry taste and is a common savory, crunchy snack in India. Definitely a simple, but flavor-packed snack to try if you ever get the chance !

Muruku Muruku pieces

This last snack is a fun walk down memory lane for 90s kids in Malaysia and Singapore. No one got this guess right, but they were very much amused with its ramen-ness.

Mamee Monster Mamee Monster Opened

That was a real fun activity to have in the office. What other interesting snacks have you tried from around the world? Let us know, and maybe we’ll try them in the next round 🙂

Country Flags Country Flags Country Flags Country Flags

8 Valentine’s Day Ideas that Both of You Will Appreciate

8 Valentine's Day Ideas

  1. Breakfast in Bed
    How often does anyone get to enjoy breakfast in bed? Not very often! But this is a great opportunity to impress him/her. Here are a few Valentine’s Breakfast ideas.
    Breakfast in Bed
  2. Surprise Him/Her with A Decorated Room!
    Surprises don’t have to be all out there, even small gestures, like decorating his/her room is as sweet as ever. And you don’t need to spend much on all the pink deco in the stores that you see, just make some yourself! Boost your imagination with these DIY Decor Ideas.
    Decorate their Room
  3. Make a Homemade Valentine’s Card
    Cards, flowers and chocolates hike up in prices over Valentine’s week. Although they are classic Valentine’s Day gifts, nothing shows how much you care more than a homemade card from the heart. Check out these simple card ideas to make beautiful cards with what you have at home.
    Make a homemade card
  4. Go for a Picnic
    Most people plan ahead for days and weeks for Valentines dinner, but most overlook lunch. Why not plan a picnic for lunch and be creative with your location choice! If it’s nice out, head to a park or to the zoo! If it’s rainy or too cold, you could even have a picnic indoors! Here are a few ideas for you if you need some inspiration for outdoor picnics or indoor picnics.
    Go for a picnic
  5. Spend the Afternoon Making Gifts for Each Other
    Instead of buying expensive presents for each other, how about spending the afternoon showing off your creativity and also getting to spend time with your significant other? It’ll be fun! Need some inspiration for crafty gifts? Click here.
    Make gifts for one another
  6. Cook a Wholesome Dinner Together
    It can be really difficult to get reservations for dinner on Valentine’s Day, and eating out can get pretty pricey too. This year, stay home and cook dinner together! That way, you both have more options and it’s a lot more fun than waiting for someone else to cook your food. Don’t cook very often? That’s okay! Check out this YouTube Playlist or this Recipe Menu for more ideas.
    Cook dinner together
  7. Take a Stroll Under the Stars
    Now that dinner is over, don’t go straight home; head outside for a walk under the pretty stars with your significant other! It’s good to walk a little after meals AND it’s definitely going to be a romantic time well spent together 🙂Take a stroll at night
  8. Send a Care Package
    In a long distance relationship or busy throughout some period on Valentine’s Day? Send over a care package to show them how much you love and miss them! You could pick & choose one from the options there are online OR you could make one on your own! Here are some Care Package ideas.
    Send a care package

That’s our list! You also need to check out this really cool Coke Valentine’s Vending Machine which only appears to couples 🙂

HAVE A WONDERFUL VALENTINES DAY 🙂

Happy Valentine's Day!

Apple Pay Anyone?

Apple Pay Header

After the release of the iPhone 6, one of Apple’s most talked-about new features is Apple Pay. There has been a lot of buzz in the market regarding the new application for our phones, and we thought it’d be a worthy topic to discuss.

Did you know though, that these wireless payment systems like Apple Pay and Google Wallet are not the first of their kind? The Nokia Communicator, released in 1996, could be considered one of the first smartphones in the world. The Finns were actually the first people to use these Communicators to wirelessly make payments at vending and parking machines. Basically what they would do was send a text message to a particular machine and the payment would be billed to their service provider later.

Nokia Communicator Series

So what about Apple Pay – how does that work? The setup is fairly simple; you can add credit/debit cards to your Passbook application by keying the details in manually, or by taking a photo of your card itself. Once your card has been verified, Apple Pay is then ready to be used in stores and even for in-app purchases. In participating stores, all you need to do at checkout is select the card you want to use and hold your iPhone over the NFC (near-filed communication) system with your finger (registered with Touch ID) over the home button. Voila! Then when a payment is complete, you will be notified by a beep, vibration and a check mark on your screen. Check out this video from Walgreens to see how it works:

Seems simple doesn’t it? But of course, with everything there are its individual benefits and drawbacks. Let’s talk about a few of them that we’ve been noticing in reviews all across the Internet.

Apple Pay Pros & Cons

Benefits:

  • It’s simple and easy to use. It acts as an all-in-one application where all your cards are stored and all you need to do is hold your phone out to make payments in stores with NFC systems at their checkout stations
  • You can even make app and in-app purchases with it
  • Apple Pay uses “tokenization” in storing card information, which is a security feature that allows each credit card’s number to be substituted with a different ID number for every transaction. This ID is the information that merchant’s receive on their point-of-sale systems when customers make payments.
  • To make payments using Apple pay, you require Touch ID (fingerprint verification)

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Lack of participation of merchants. Sure there are a ton of merchants that already accept Apply Pay, but there are still a ton more that need to adopt to idea
  • Only certain credit cards work with Apple Pay, and you might need the latest Apple devices for it to actually work
  • The ‘Find My iPhone’ feature can be used to quickly suspend payments from your phone, but in order for that to work, the phone must be receiving cellular or Wi-Fi signals, which means if phone is switched off, you won’t be able to do it
  • It is definitely convenient, but it can also be a security drawback of how simple it is to take a photo of your credit card to add it to your Passbook

What do you think of Apple Pay? Let us know if you’ve tried it out and how you like it 🙂

All Hallows’ Eve and Pumpkin Festivities!

Happy Halloween!

What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?
PUMPKIN PI!

That’s right, it’s that time of the year again where we stock up candy inventories, plan out costumes, show off makeup skills and start to see pumpkin everywhere. And when we say “everywhere”, we really mean everywhere! We all know about the Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Pumpkin Oreos, but there are a couple of other interesting Halloween-themed products out there every year! Let’s take a look at some of them!

Cheetos Bag of Bones

What do you think of this first one? Cheetos Bag of Bones – they’re not exactly pumpkin-flavored, but they are definitely Halloween-themed! We bet they taste just as good as regular Cheetos and are extra fun to assemble!

Trident Pumpkin Spice LayersThe next one is Trident gum, what about these? Not sure what pumpkin gum is going to taste like and we haven’t seen these around, but we’re sure it’s going to be real interesting.

Jet-Puffed Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows

Jet-Puffed Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows! These have been around for a few years now and come out around this season every year. They’re pretty great actually – they make really interesting s’mores if you like pumpkin 🙂

TruMoo Halloween Milk

Orange Cream-Flavored Milk by TruMoo.This is new to us and is definitely a change from the usual full-cream milk or chocolate/strawberry milk. The color is very much appealing though! This will do great at the side with some pumpkin pie 😛

Disney Parks Pumpkin Fritters

Even the Disney Parks are getting into this holiday mood! Check out their menu add-ons and changes to fit in with this pumpkin-filled season here! These pumpkin fritters look amazing!

Ever wondered how pumpkins became associated with Halloween? It was brought to the US by the Irish; who had been carving “Jack-o’-Lanterns” for centuries. They say that the practice actually originated from an Irish myth about a man named “Stingy Jack”. If you’d like you learn more about Stingy Jack, click here. Don’t forget to share with us what other crazy Halloween snacks you’ve come across!

Have a Happy Halloween everyone!