Food & Diet
8 Healthy Vending Machine Snacks
Healthy snacks that come from a vending machine? Impossible! But is it? As more and more people are trying to eat foods that will give them instant energy for their busy workdays, but won’t make them gain weight, or worse – deteriorate their health – vending machines had to adapt. Now, it is possible to choose a healthy snack that comes from a vending machine when you don’t have the opportunity to eat at home (e.g. tight work schedule).
Not so long ago, vending machines were packed only with foods and drinks full of sugar – unhealthy first-aid foods when you have no other choice but to take something that will silence your growling stomach and give you the energy to go through the rest of the day. Today, you can even find fruit salads (surprisingly fresh), healthy sandwiches and bottled water. This change in the assortment of vending machines made it easier for people to choose to eat healthy even when they need a quick meal that comes from a machine. However, this doesn’t mean that all the products contained in vending machines are suddenly healthy and good for you. The trick is in knowing what to choose from the ocean of options. The products you choose, if you want a healthy snack, should contain little or no sugar, minimal amounts of saturated fats and lots of fiber.
So here are 8 amazingly healthy vending machine snacks:
1. Fresh Salads
There is a variety of fruit salads that you can choose from. One of the most famous vending machines may be the Farmer’s Fridge which contains no junk food, only fresh and healthy. The fruit salads that you can find there are inside plastic jars in which the salad stays fresh because of the well thought order of ingredients (water-retaining fruits down, then nuts and finally greens). There are even detox salads – mixtures of fruits, vegetables and seeds (kale, quinoa, sprouts, fennel, blueberries and pineapple).
There are also many other kinds of vending machines that sell salads, and they are commonly made by experienced chefs who then pack them and send them out to be put into vending machines. You can often find Chef, Caesar and Garden salads in many of the vending machines that sell healthy foods (besides unhealthy snacks).
2. Fresh Fruit
Yes, you can buy whole fresh fruit from a vending machine. If you don’t like buying packaged foods from a vending machine or don’t trust that the salads are fresh, you can always choose fruit. One thing you can be sure of – there is no added sugar, fat or salt.
3. Vegetable Sticks
These are usually refrigerated not to go bad and to preserve their freshness. Some vending machines hold carrot sticks, but you can also find cucumber and celery sticks, either individually or as a mixture of all three. This is a low-calorie healthy snack packed with fiber, which will keep you feeling full (or at least curb your hunger until you have the time for an actual meal).
4. Whole Grain Sandwiches
You can find healthy sandwiches in vending machines, too. When making your choice, make sure you check the label to make sure that it was packed recently and that it’s still good to eat, and then check the ingredients. A healthy sandwich should be made of whole grain bread, contain fresh vegetables, lean meats, low-fat cheese, and other such healthy ingredients. On the other hand, if the sandwich you got your eye on contains margarine, mayonnaise, melted cheese, ketchup or any other such ingredient, that is not a sandwich for you.
5. Low-Fat or Skim Milk
You can find regular milk in a vending machine, and the price is usually the same or slightly higher than in the closest store. With a good amount of protein and dairy sugar (lactose), it will be a good snack if you are not too hungry, and it will give you enough energy to last until your next meal.
6. Nuts and Seeds
These snacks can usually be bought in smaller or larger packages and you can choose either a bag with only one kind of nuts or a combination of them. Nuts are generally healthy for you, but try to choose those that were roasted or dry fried, and not fried in deep oil. Also, non-salted nuts are a healthier choice than the salted ones, as it would be good to watch the levels of sodium you take in. You will probably encounter peanuts, almonds, cashew, hazelnuts, and walnuts. As for the seeds, the most commonly sold ones are sunflower and pumpkin seeds. High in protein and healthy fats, as well as fiber, nuts and seeds are among the healthiest and most nutritious snacks out there. But be aware that they are also caloric, so stay in control of the amounts you eat.
As with milk, choose a non-fat or low-fat variant. With a good amount of protein which will curb your hunger, yogurt is a bit more filling dairy product than milk, and it can be the perfect snack if you need something to get you to the next meal.
8. Whole Grain Granola Bars
As their name suggests, these bars are made of whole grains and make a wholesome snack packed with fiber and almost no saturated fat. Although these snacks usually contain some sugar as well, they are certainly a much better and healthier choice than, for instance, a candy bar. And some of these bars actually contain dextrose or fructose instead of plain refined sugar, while some contain no sugar at all, but fruits that give them the sweet taste. These bars can also be an excellent choice when you are craving something crunchy and feel like eating sugary snacks.