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Making Healthy Selections at Snack Vending Machines

So you only have a few minutes in between meetings or classes and you’re starving. It looks like today’s lunch options are going to be found in one of the snack vending machines in the lounge. Don’t worry you can still often find a filling and somewhat nutritious lunch via a vending machine. Healthy choices are an option if you know where to look. Here are a few tips for making the most of your purchases from office or school vending machines.

It’s important to think about calorie and fat content when making your selections. Many snack vending machines offer a mix of healthier choices as well as high-calorie snack items.

Salty selections

If you’re craving something salty, believe it or not you can choose a healthy salty option. Office and school vending machines often carry baked and whole grain chips. Pretzels are another good option; just keep in mind the portion size of the bag that you’re about to purchase. Another tasty salty snack food is popcorn; reduced fat varieties usually have around 120 calories per serving.

Fruit

While it may not be the most alluring option in snack vending machines, fruit is the healthiest choice. The most common fruits offered in vending machines are apples and oranges due to their longer shelf life. There are many machines that also offer an array of other fresh selections such as fruit cups and yogurts.

Granola Bars

Oftentimes a granola bar can give you enough calories to tie you over and keep your stomach full until your next meal. Choose a granola bar with less than 150 calories you may also want to try cereal bars for another low calorie option.

Nuts and Seeds

Snack vending machines often provide an array of nuts and seeds to choose from. Nuts contain large portions of protein and fiber which can make you feel fuller for longer. Unsalted, raw cashews are a healthier choice than salted peanuts. Sunflower or pumpkin seeds are another good choice due to their high levels of omega-3 fat.

Beverages

When choosing a beverage from office or school vending machines steer clear of soda or fruit juice because these have high sugar and calorie content. Instead stick with bottled or flavored water, unsweetened tea, or low fat milk.

Other Ideas

If at all possible avoid pastry items like Twinkies, cupcakes, bear claws, Pop Tarts, etc. These are the most fattening and unhealthy snacks that you can purchase from snack vending machines. If you’re craving sweets try a Three Musketeers bar, these are much lighter in calories and fats. Better yet stick with chocolate covered raisins or the like. You may also want to try just buying a pack of gum instead. Gum can curb appetites and cravings until you can prepare a healthy meal.