There are healthier choices in vending machines if you look hard enough.
The best thing to do would be to go to the fridge and get your lunch bag. There you’ll find the chicken breast on whole wheat, apple, and bottle of green tea that you packed last night.
What, you forgot to pack it? Looks like plan ‘B.’
Walking down the hall, you look at the line of five or six vending machines full of little caloric time bombs just waiting to explode.
As you press your nose to the glass, it’s impossible to see the nutrition information written conveniently on the back of the packages.
Fear not! Below are some healthy (um, healthier) choices that you can find in most machines. I’ll help you out this time, but please try to pack your lunch tomorrow…
If you’re in the mood for things that crunch, think twice before reaching for the pack of regular potato chips. While none of these alternatives should be your first choice for a healthy lunch, you can at least limit the damage.
One rule of thumb when looking at the chips is to go baked. This will avoid the higher fat content and higher calories found in the fried crisps.
Comparing a 1oz serving of Lays Classic vs Baked potato chips from their web site for example:
|Lays Classic||Lays Baked|
An even better choice is to skip the chips altogether and opt instead for pretzels. A bag of “Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels,” contains only 110 calories, and 0 fat.
In addition to low calories, popcorn provides a higher fiber content which will help you stay fuller until the meeting is over. Provided you don’t add butter and salt, a bag of “Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop” contains just 100 calories and 2 grams of fat.
If your eyes can’t help but drift to the candy and cookie rows, eating healthier is still possible. If you can avoid the candy bars such as a Snickers Bar with 265 calories and 16 grams of fat, there are a few alternatives.
For example, the venerable ‘Fig Newton’ is a choice offered in many vending machines. This choice lowers the calories to 100, and cuts the fat to 2 grams.
Additionally, you may consider a blast from your childhood and choose ‘Animal Crackers.’ These are lightly sweetened, and a 1oz serving (16 crackers) contains just 120 calories, with 1.5 grams fat.
While not the first choice, eating lunch via the vending machine doesn’t have to completely destroy a healthy diet. A little research and careful choices can at least limit the damage. Next time, try to remember to pack your lunch.