Vending Machine Food Choices
This Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 photo shows items in a vending machine in New York. Americans are addicted to snacks, and food experts are paying closer attention to what that might mean for health and obesity. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

What Should You Pick From a Vending Machine?

Is a vending machine all that stands between you and starvation? Before you punch that button, discover what your best (and worst) options are.

What’s available: Corn chips, nacho chips, potato chips, pretzels, cheese crackers, salted peanuts, mini-doughnuts, chocolate mini-doughnuts, shortbread cookies, chewing gum, hard candies.

Healthiest snack: Pretzels. Generally low in calories and containing little or no fat, they’re a source of complex carbohydrates, providing an energy boost without the excess calories or the extra fat that may make you feel sluggish.

Runner-up: Salted peanuts. “The vending machine size is less than 200 calories and does provide a good source of protein, 3 grams of dietary fiber, and the kind of fat [mono-unsaturated] shown to increase HDL [‘good’] cholesterol.

Worst snack: Chocolate mini-doughnuts. They often come in a package of six that contains a whopping 800 calories as well as one third of your daily cholesterol limit, says Groccia. “If you must have something chocolate, skip this machine altogether and head for your company’s kitchen. Mix a packet of sugar-free instant cocoa with low-fat milk and you’ll get some protein and calcium in the bargain,” says Block.

SOURCE: Redbook Magazine, 2002

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