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Vending Inventory Ideas by Location: Gyms and Athletic Clubs

Finally, the pandemic seems to be in its waning days. And businesses are beginning to open back up and restore their normal operations. Gyms and athletic clubs are no exception. These are great locations for your healthy vending machines, but the question becomes… what kind of snacks do you stock them with?

Here are some ideas for the best inventory items at gyms and athletic clubs:

Healthy Granola Bars

Protein bars, granola bars, breakfast bars… whatever name they go by, these snacks are perfect for vending machines found in gyms. Not only are they conveniently packaged and perfect for a pre- or post-workout snack, but they also provide the nutrition that athletes are looking for. They’re packed with protein, so they’re great for that extra boost during a workout. The trick is finding healthy bars that don’t contain a lot of processed ingredients and high sugar levels.

Seeds and Nuts

Nuts and seeds are packed with healthy fiber and plenty of protein. Peanuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds are just a few examples. If you can stock your machines with small packages of nuts or seeds, or even trail mix, it’s sure to be a hot seller at local gyms.

Popcorn

Popcorn might not be the first thing you think of when you think of a healthy snack for the gym. But if you do it right, popcorn will be a best-seller from your machine. Low-calorie popcorn is a great option; it’s considered a whole grain and provides plenty of fiber and antioxidants. As long as you steer clear of flavored popcorns, which have a lot of added sugar, or extra-butter versions, it can serve as a healthy and convenient snack, even at the gym.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit like bananas or apples is a great option to include in your vending machines at the gym. It’s conveniently packaged, contains plenty of healthy nutrients, and best of all… it tastes delicious. Consider stocking some dried fruit packages in your gym vending machines. Athletes will appreciate it.

 

Your Partner in Healthy Vending

Naturals2Go is here to help you in every step of your journey as a healthy vending machine entrepreneur. Get in touch with us today to learn more and get started.

A Business Opportunity That Benefits The Entire Family

Self-Care Tips: Try Stress Relief Products

April is National Stress Awareness Month! There’s no better time to take a look at your own stress levels and work on managing them. And because it’s safe to say the past year has made your stress level rise, this information couldn’t come at a better time. Let’s take a look at some stress-relief products that you can use to help you cope and start to feel better:

Calming Gummies

Ingredients like magnesium and melatonin have been shown to have an effect on anxiety, and they can help you sleep. That’s why calming gummies are so popular. There are plenty of options out there to choose from, and it’s a drug-free, simple way to help yourself feel a little calmer. Plus, they’re conveniently portable. That means you can take them with you during your busy day and chew on one whenever you feel the need.

Adult Coloring Books

As silly as it may sound, adult coloring books can really help you to feel less stressed. Coloring has a meditative effect that has shown to decrease stress, improve mood, and even reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Pick one up at your local bookstore and give it a try — you might be surprised at the results.

Exercise Bikes

Exercise bikes are extremely popular right now. And it’s with good reason — they’re a great way to work out at home, and exercise of course has many benefits. One of them is that it helps you to feel less stressed. And you don’t have to purchase an expensive Peloton bike or another name brand; even the simplest exercise bike will make a difference.

Weighted Blankets

Have you ever tried a weighted blanket? It’s a great way to feel calm and cozy, especially before bed. It’s a great way to relax and recharge after a long, hard day. Combine it with other things that help you feel calm — a good book, a cup of tea, your favorite candle — and you have a recipe for a stress-free night.

Epsom Salts

What better way to wash away the stress of the day than with a cozy bath? Bathing with Epsom salts helps to relieve soreness and flush away toxins. You can even add a few drops of essential oils to the tub to really give the stress relief a boost.

 

Make Your Self-Care a Priority

Self-care isn’t an indulgence. It’s an essential part of living a healthy, balanced life. Give some of the stress-relief techniques and products described above a try. You’ll be glad you did!

Naturals2Go Healthy Living Blog

Entrepreneurship 101: The Basic Steps to Starting a New Business

Are you an entrepreneur ready to launch your own business venture? It’s a challenging but rewarding path. And no matter what kind of business you’re thinking of starting, the basic steps remain the same. Let’s take a look at some basic steps to starting a new business.

Define and refine your idea.

The first step is to clearly define what your business idea is. Who will you be providing goods or services for? What will the business operations look like? Will you need employees? Getting answers to some of these basic questions is the first step. From there, you can revise and refine your idea into one polished effort.

Conduct market research.

Now it’s time to conduct market research. Evaluate your target audience; make yourself familiar with the existing market and think about what slice of it your business will occupy. Research your competition so you know what’s out there.

 

When you partner with Naturals2Go, this step is taken care of for you. Your target market is health-conscious consumers who are looking for convenient on-the-go snacks and meals that align with their nutritional and dietary desires. And the healthy vending machine industry is perfectly poised to take advantage of this trend.

Make a business plan.

Next, set up your business plan. It’s important to get all of this down in writing as a sort of roadmap for your venture. You’ll use this to set goals and define your strategy. It’s also important to determine what will make your business profitable, what kind of startup money you’ll need, etc.

Make it legal.

There are various types of business formations, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, LLCs, and more. Look into the options so you know exactly what you’re doing as far as making your business a legal entity.

Prepare for growth.

Your business may start small, but it has the potential to grow rapidly once things start falling into place. Get ready to scale up if necessary. And remember that this is easy when you partner with Naturals2Go — we’re set up to add more machines to your roster and help you scout locations in order to scale up your healthy vending business as needed.

 

Start Your Entrepreneurial Journey with Naturals2Go

Naturals2Go is your partner in every step of your journey into the healthy vending industry. We’ll help you scout locations for your machines and provide hands-on personal training and lifetime coaching to make sure your entrepreneurial journey is a success. Get started today!

Learn More About a Naturals2Go Business

Nutritional Tips to Support Athletic Recovery

Did you know that March is National Athletic Training Month? It’s a great time to focus on athletic recovery and how nutrition plays a role in that. What you eat as you recover from a hard workout or an intense game can really make a difference in your body’s return to normalcy. Here are five foods that can help:

Oatmeal

Oatmeal isn’t just a great option for breakfast. Eat it any time of the day as a great athletic recovery food. Oatmeal provides plenty of healthy carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and iron. These nutrients help your body get back the energy lost from your athletic output so that you can keep going.

Bananas

Bananas are a great source of potassium and magnesium. There can more than 400mg in one medium-sized banana! Plus, bananas are naturally portable, so they’re ultra-convenient as a post-workout or post-game snack. Try topping your banana with a bit of peanut butter for an extra protein boost.

Tuna

Tuna fish provides you with protein, omega-3 fatty acids to help combat inflammation around the body, and vitamins like B6 and B12. That’s a lot of benefits packed into one food! And your body will reap these benefits whether you choose fresh or canned tuna fish. Whether it’s a tuna salad sandwich or a baked tuna cake, this easy-to-eat fish makes for a great athletic recovery food.

Kidney Beans

Kidney beans might not be the first thing you think of when you think of a post-workout snack. But they’re great for this purpose. They’re a good source of protein, plus they provide plenty of vitamins and minerals to help support your body’s natural recovery. Consider eating kidney beans as part of a fruit salad, or a piping hot bowl of chili. Delicious and nutritious!

Spinach

Don’t forget your vegetables. Spinach provides you with vitamins A and K, as well as folate. These essential nutrients help your body recover better and faster when it’s pushed to its limits. And spinach is easy to toss onto salads or sandwiches, so it’s simple to include it in your recovery period.

Recover Faster With Great Nutrition

Try supporting your next recovery period with the foods listed above. Get creative with incorporating them into your diet and see how much better you feel!

Take Your Passion for Healthy Living to the Next Level

School Vending Machines: Benefits of Vending Machines in Schools

For decades, there have been ongoing debates about whether vending machines should be allowed in schools. Students are in school anywhere from six to eight hours a day (or more if you include sports, clubs and activities), and access to snacks and drinks helps children and teens stay fueled. However, parents and administrators are often concerned about the quality of the items found in school vending machines.  

 

The good news, however, is that both the USDA and the CDC have supported the idea of healthy vending machines in schools and have provided both guidelines and regulations for those machines. School vending machines that stock only healthy snacks and drinks limit students’ choices to items that are low in fat, sodium and sugar and provide them with access to quality snacks to fuel their bodies and minds.  

Should Schools Have Vending Machines?

Parental concerns about the quality of foods found in school vending machines are not necessarily unfounded. In the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, school vending machines typically only stocked candy, chips and sodas with perhaps one or two healthier options. And if given a choice, many students would choose a candy bar over a bag of carrot sticks or a sugary drink over water. So, should schools have vending machines? 

 

Some still believe the answer is no, but it’s not necessarily the best solution. There are actual benefits to offering students healthy vending options, and the best answer is to provide students with access to vending machines that meet federal dietary requirements and limit their access to unhealthy snacking options.  

Healthy Vending Machine Options

Healthy vending machine options are perfect for schools because students can’t necessarily run out in the middle of the day to grab a snack if they need one. School vending machines that meet governmental requirements provide convenience without contributing to poor dietary habits.  

 

According to the standards and regulations set forth by the FDA’s Smart Snacks in School standards, there are limits on fat, sugar, sodium and calorie count. Smart Snacks in School fall under the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, and schools that receive benefits under these programs are obligated to provide healthy snack access, as well. To qualify as a Smart Snack, healthy vending machine options must meet general nutrition standards: 

 

    • Be a grain product that contains 50 percent or more whole grains by weight (have a whole grain as the first ingredient); or 
    • Have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, or a protein food; or 
    • Be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable; and 
    • The food must meet the nutrient standards for calories, sodium, sugar, and fats. 

 

The nutrient standards for smart snacks are: 

    • Calories: 200 or less 
    • Sodium: 200 mg or less 
    • Total fat:  35% of calories or less 
    • Saturated fat: less than 10% of calories
    • Trans fat: 0 
    • Sugar: 35% by weight or less 

 

Benefits of Vending Machines in Schools

When the food and beverage options are healthy, there are many benefits of having vending machines in schools:  

 

    • School vending machines encourage healthy snacking habits: The FDA’s school dietary regulations require healthy vending in schools, which means those machines can dispense everything from fruit and nuts to milk, cereal and yogurts. When students are limited to healthy snacks during the school day, they start to develop habits that will stick with them throughout their lives. 
    • Vending machines provide options for kids with dietary restrictions: One of the hidden benefits of healthy vending machines in schools is quality options for people with dietary restrictions.  Children with food-based allergies or food sensitivities are often left out of school lunch options or snack options. Healthy vending machines offer snacks and drinks for people with common dietary restrictions. 
    • Healthy snack options fuel concentration: No one can concentrate when they are hungry, and this is especially true for children and teenagers. An important benefit of vending machines in schools is quick access to healthy snacks during breaks. Those snacks can help fuel focus and concentration throughout the school day.
    • Healthy vending machines create accessibility: Accessibility to healthy foods is a huge concern for schools in areas designated as “food deserts.” Food deserts are areas (typically in very rural areas or in inner cities) with limited access to affordable and nutritious foods. Healthy vending machines in schools give children access to quality drinks and snacks during their break times, and they can purchase snacks to take home, as well, since the nature of vending is grab-and-go.
    • Healthy vending also benefits school staff: Remember, schools are staffed by teachers, therapists, support professionals, administrative professionals, maintenance staff and more. These individuals can also benefit from healthy vending machines in schools. 
    • Peace of mind for parents: Parents who strive to feed their children healthy foods can worry when their kids go to school. During the day, they have no control over what their kids choose to eat in the lunch line or between classes. However, when their snack access is limited to quality food and drink, parents can rest easy knowing their kids aren’t going gorging on chips and soda. 

 

Vending Machines Raise Money for Schools  

Schools are expensive to maintain, and every school in a district has budgetary requirements they must meet. These include everything from utility bills to supplies to field trips and more. Healthy vending machines in schools can create an additional revenue stream for schools. The larger the population of a school, the more vending machines can be placed in the building, and the more revenue can be generated.  

 

While some schools may stock vending machines on an individual basis, most districts contract with a single vendor, giving them the rights to place their equipment in each school in the district. Large districts can generate as much as $100,000 per year in additional revenue by contracting with quality vending services.  

 

Healthy Vending Machines in Schools – The Statistics

With so many restrictions on the types of foods that can go into public school vending machines, you may think that school districts have opted out of vending machines entirely, but this is not the case. Schools across the country see great benefit in providing their students with on-the-go healthy vending options 

 

What Percentage of Schools Have Vending Machines in The US? 

The data around how many schools have vending machines fluctuates, but one thing is certain. The older the school’s student population, the more likely the school is to have vending machines. 

 

    • 14% of elementary schools have vending machines 
    • 90% of middle schools have vending machines 
    • 98 percent of high schools have vending machines 


So, even with state and federal governments limiting students’ snack choices, schools still see the benefit of providing healthy vending machine snack options for children. 
 

 

Are Vending Machines Good for Schools?

Healthy vending machines can be good for schools. As we’ve covered, there are great benefits to healthy vending machines for students and staff, and they provide an additional stream of revenue for the school itself.  

 

Benefits of Healthy Snacks for Students 

Healthy snacks help develop healthy children. Providing healthy vending machines in schools can help improve students’ health, academic performance and overall well-being.

 

    • Healthy snacks provide much-needed nutrients: Growing children and teenagers need more nutrients than adults to support healthy body and brain development. The absence of healthy snacks for students can have a real impact on a child’s development. 
    • Healthy snacks support academic success: Children who are fueled by sugar and bad fats run out of energy quickly and have trouble concentrating. Nutrition and academic performance are intrinsically linked. Healthy snacks fuel kids with natural energy helping them focus and concentrate, boosting performance.
    • Healthy snacks boost well-being: We all know how groggy and sluggish we feel after eating a meal of fast food or gorging on unhealthy snacks. When children are fueled by healthy snack foods, they are more alert, their digestive systems perform better, they have more energy and mental sharpness, and they feel better about themselves.  

 

How to Choose Healthy Snacks for Kids

You don’t have to be a dietician yourself to choose healthy snacks for kids in schools. When it comes to vending machines, you simply need to choose partners who understand federal guidelines, provide snacks with transparent labeling and offer a wide variety of healthy snacks and beverages to appeal to both young students and high schoolers.

 

The healthiest vending machine snacks for schools include:

 

    • Nuts and seeds 
    • Granola 
    • Popcorn 
    • Meal replacement biscuits 
    • Dried fruits 
    • Nutrition bars 
    • Jerky 
    • Water (still or carbonated) 
    • Real fruit juice  
    • Non-dairy smoothies 

 

Unhealthy snacks in school vending machines include: 

    • Candy bars 
    • Salty potato chips 
    • Soda 
    • Sweetened teas 
    • Snacks laden with high fructose corn syrup 
    • Cakes, cupcakes, etc.  
    • Pastries 
    • Cup noodles 

How to Get a Vending Machine in a School

Despite such a high percentage of schools having vending machines, many still do not, and others could benefit from upgrading.  As the leading healthy vending machine company in the US, we are well-versed in the Smart Snack program and offer great options for schools and students.

 

Whether you’re looking replace and upgrade your existing vending options or add a new healthy vending machine in your school, we can help.   Contact Naturals2Go today!

 

 
 

Can I Make Money by Placing a Vending Machine In…?

It’s a question that vending machine operators ask themselves often: What locations give me the highest return? The COVID-19 pandemic has only made the answer more complicated, as areas that yield high returns might remain shut down or work on a modified schedule with less foot traffic. So, where can you place your machines right now to see a good return on investment?

Office Spaces

More office workers than ever are returning to their brick-and-mortar buildings. And as case numbers continue to drop, more businesses are going to be bringing their workers back in-office as the year goes on. That means that office buildings and business complexes are great locations for healthy vending machines. Employees want convenient, inexpensive, and healthy snacks or meals during their lunch breaks. And you’re in a unique position to fill that gap in the market.

Supermarkets

The local supermarket might seem like a strange place to put a vending machine. But the truth is that it makes a lot of sense. Grocery shoppers tend to get hungry when they’re browsing the shelves full of food. On their way out of the store, they can grab a quick snack. And people often shop for groceries in between the end of the workday and heading home. It’s the perfect time for a snack.

Apartment Buildings

Apartment buildings and complexes continue to see a high return. People are still coming and going from their apartments, and placing your machines strategically can work to your advantage. Putting machines in common areas, lobbies, or other highly trafficked areas is a great way to make apartment complexes work to your advantage.

Gas Stations

Gas stations are almost always operational, perhaps 24 hours a day. Roadside rest stops and service stations are opening back up, too, as more people travel by car than they did earlier in the pandemic. That means these are good spots for your vending machines. Try placing them in high-traffic areas like the main lobby or by the door.

Find the Proper Placement Today

Having trouble finding the best spots for your vending machines? You don’t have to tackle the problem alone. Our lifetime locating service can help. Partner with Naturals2Go to make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality!

A Business Opportunity That Benefits The Entire Family

It’s National Nutrition Month!

March is National Nutrition Month! This annual recognition is an education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And there’s no better time to become familiar with the history and purpose of this campaign and to take a look at your own nutrition to see if you could be eating better!

The History of National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month started as a week, not a month. In March of 1973, the American Dietetic Association (now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) established National Nutrition Week to deliver education messaging about nutrition to the public. Thanks to growing public interest in nutrition throughout the 1970s, the campaign was expanded to National Nutrition Month in 1980.

The Purpose of National Nutrition Month

The Academy’s mission is to advocate for its members and promote excellent nutrition and well-being for all people. The mission focuses on making informed food choices, and developing quality eating and exercise habits. Additionally, the month serves to promote the Academy itself and position the organization as the leading source of credible, timely food and nutrition information to be found anywhere.

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day is observed on the second Wednesday in March every year as well. This day is meant to celebrate Registered Dietitians and recognize them as the premier providers of nutritional and food information for the general public.

How to Promote Good Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Great nutrition and healthy eating starts with your own personal choices. Make the decision to eat better, and you’ll feel better too. And it never hurts to consult with a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, or your personal care physician to make sure you’re eating and exercising right.

There’s No Better Time to Boost Your Nutrition

National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to take a second look at your nutrition. Are you eating a balanced diet? Exercising regularly? Sleeping well? Taking steps to care for yourself in this way is the best way to live a healthy, happy, and long life!

Naturals2Go Healthy Living Blog

Are Healthy Choice Vending Machines The Future of Snacking?

A lot has changed over the course of the past year. It’s not always easy to see, but some of that change is for the better. And the future has potential. When it comes to healthy eating, the trend of healthy snacking options is only set to grow. And the healthy choice vending machine is set to play a huge role moving forward.

Customers want healthy OPTIONS.

Healthy living is far beyond a trend. For decades now, more and more consumers are looking for ways to eat healthily. And vending machines, historically, haven’t always filled that need. We’re used to vending machines being stocked with fatty and salty snack options, like potato chips, pretzels, candy, and sugary sodas or energy drinks. But the healthy vending industry is turning that notion on its head. When customers can get healthy snacking options from a vending machine, it solves all of their needs in one package.

Customers want convenience.

The convenience of vending machines is still one of the biggest draws for consumers. We’re busier than ever with work, children’s schedules, after-school programs, volunteering, errands… the list goes on. There are times when you need the quick on-the-go snack or meal from a vending machine, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice healthy eating. Healthy vending machines fill this gap in the market — convenient snacks and small meals that are actually good for you.

CUSTOMERS WANT SNACKS THAT ALIGN WITH THEIR DIETS.

Consumers are savvier than ever when it comes to what they spend their money on, and what they put into their bodies. They want snacks that align with their specific diets, and their values as a whole. That’s why healthy vending machines are positioned so well for the future. When you can offer organic foods, non-GMO foods, vegetarian or vegan options, or foods that align with the Keto and Paleo diets or other popular diets, your vending customers will reward you with sales.

Look to the Future

There’s no better time to explore the world of healthy vending. Healthy snacking is the future, and you can be a part of it. Get in touch with Naturals2Go to get started on your entrepreneurial journey.

Learn More About a Naturals2Go Business

Healthy Eating Series: Meal Prep Ideas for a Keto Diet

Have you heard of the keto diet? It’s basically a low-carb, high-fat diet that makes your body burn fat instead of carbohydrates. The goal could be weight loss, increased athletic performance, or just better health. But what kind of meal prep ideas fit into the keto lifestyle?

 

Avocado Tuna Salad

An avocado tuna salad couldn’t be easier to make, and it’s super-simple to divide up into smaller meals for the week. Plus, it’s delicious! All you need is a few sliced avocados, tuna fish that’s been drained and flaked, sliced cucumber, and red onion. Then, you just need a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Find the full recipe here.

Crustless Quiche

Quiche is surprisingly portable and easy to prepare in advance for on-the-go meals. Try this crustless recipe filled with cheddar cheese, broccoli, bacon, and tomatoes. The great thing is that it works for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or anything in between. And it only takes about an hour to make before it’s ready to be eaten or set aside for the week’s meals. Find the recipe here and give it a try.

Keto Bagels

Who doesn’t love a bagel as a breakfast treat or a mid-day snack? By using coconut flour, you can keep them low-carb and stick to the keto diet. They take a total of 40 minutes to make and couldn’t be easier to pack away for a grab-and-go breakfast or a quick lunch. Top the bagels with a little butter, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or any other keto-friendly ingredients you like. Here’s the recipe.

Cauliflower Mac n Cheese

For keto-friendly comfort food, there are few better options than creamy mac and cheese. By swapping out the normal pasta for cauliflower, you’re sticking to the keto regimen and giving yourself a healthy vegetable at the same time. This recipe also includes delicious bacon bits and cubed ham for an extra kick.

Try Keto and See How You Like It

Have you ever tried a keto meal? Try the above recipes or find your own meal that suits your tastes — it’s healthy and easy to prep for busy weeks.

Naturals2Go Healthy Living Blog