Healthy Choices for Vending Machines
Healthy eating and vending machines don’t often go hand in hand. However, if you do your research, you’ll discover that there are some healthy choices you can make. They may not be as good as eating fresh food, but some choices are better than others. So if you’re in a position where you have to rely on a vending machine, understand which foods will be most beneficial for you.
Choose enriched and whole grain products if they’re available in the vending machine. These products should be low in saturated fat and a good source of fiber. They should contain iron and B vitamins, with a fat limit of five grams or less. Foods high in trans and saturated fats increase the risk of coronary artery disease. Some of the healthy choices in this category are muffins, cookies, grain-based chips or bars, crackers and snack breads.
Vegetables and Fruits
Orange and dark green fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins A and C, plus they contain fiber and nutrients. However, if you choose to eat dried fruit, you should eat it as part of a meal. Additionally, vegetable and fruit beverages should be limited to 250 milliliters, which is equal to two servings of fruit or vegetables. Examples of healthy choices are canned fruit, dried fruit, fruit sauces, and vegetable and fruit juices.
Pick low fat milk and yogurt as often as you can, since these are good sources of calcium and vitamin D. Although you needed to have more calcium as a child, remember to reduce the amount as you get older. Some healthy choices in this category are yogurt, milk or flavored milk, milk puddings, fortified soy beverages, yogurt-based drinks and cheese. It is best to limit dairy beverages to 250 milliliters.
Meat and Alternatives
Try to select leaner meats, fish and poultry. Some vending machines offer sandwiches with turkey or ham. Dried peas, lentils and beans are also good choices in this category. These products are a good source of iron and vitamin B, and have low sodium. Due to the rise in allergies to nuts, a healthy vending machine might not offer peanuts or nuts.
Foods that are low in sodium, fat and saturated fat, as well as a source of at least one mineral or vitamin are all considered healthy choices for a vending machine. Pretzels, baked chips, plain popcorn and water are all good selections. Water is the healthiest choice of beverage.