February is all about love, and American Heart Month is a great time to remind us to love and nurture our own hearts. One way to do that is with healthy eating—and that starts with making healthy food choices. A healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do for your body, especially in the fight against heart disease. Heart-healthy eating habits are especially important when it comes to snacking.
Healthy snacking doesn’t have to mean tasteless, bland or boring, especially when we’re on the go—as long as you know what healthy vending choices to look for. Next time you’re in the mood to munch, give these 10 heart-healthy vending snacks a taste.
Start your day with a steaming bowl of oatmeal. Rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium, oatmeal is a superfood that can lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and protect arteries.
Recommended healthy vending snack: Quaker Real Medleys single-serve oatmeal; Special K Nourish
2. Dark chocolate
Everyone wants permission to eat more chocolate! Just skip the Snickers and choose antioxidant-rich dark chocolate instead. Studies show that dark chocolate may improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, and have a beneficial effect on cholesterol.
Recommended healthy vending snack: 70% or higher dark chocolate
3. Apple chips
High in heart-healthy antioxidants, pectin and other phytonutrients, apples deliver a host of cardiovascular benefits.
Recommended healthy vending snack: Bare Fuji Red Crunchy Apple Chips
4. Coconut chips
Coconut is rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids and polyphenols, which have many potential heart-health benefits. It also contains healthy fats and fiber.
Recommended healthy vending snack: Bare Coconut Chips, Dang Coconut Chips
5. Raisins, dried cranberries
Dehydrated fruit has had all of the water removed, leaving a nutrient-dense portable snack. Dried cranberries, raisins, dates and apricots are loaded with heart-healthy micronutrients, fiber and antioxidants.
Recommended healthy vending snack: Organic raisins, Craisins, Kar’s Unsalted Nut ‘n Berry Mix
6. Nuts and seeds
The Mayo Clinic recommends eating nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet. Nuts contain unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, Vitamin E, plant sterols and L-arginine, which can all have positive effects on heart health.
Recommended healthy vending snack: Planters NUTrition Heart Healthy Mix, KIND Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt Bar, almonds
7. Almond butter
An excellent source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats, almond butter also contains anti-oxidant Vitamin E.
Recommended healthy vending snack: Justin’s Almond Butter
8. Dried chickpeas
Including chickpeas in your diet may play a role in reducing risk of heart disease, with the added benefit of helping you feel fuller longer. That’s important when it comes to snacking! Chickpeas contain soluble fiber, which helps lower bad cholesterol, and are an excellent source of protein, magnesium, zinc, copper and some B vitamins.
Recommended healthy vending snack: The Good Bean Dried Chickpeas (also check the HealthyYOU Vending optional side dish vendor for hummus)
9. Whole-grain crackers or pretzels
The America Heart Association reports that whole grains can provide important heart-healthy benefits when included as part of an overall healthy diet.
Look for the Heart-Check mark on food labels.
A great addition to a heart healthy diet, tuna contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Keep in mind that how you prepare the tuna will impact the nutritional quality.
Recommended healthy vending snack: Bumble Bee Fat-Free Tuna and Whole Wheat Crackers Snack on the Run
As a reminder, always check the nutrition labels, and consult with your health care professional to make the best choices for your optimum health.
HealthyYOU is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and providing healthier food, drink and snack choices on-the-go and at work. With more than 2,500 healthy vending products to choose from, HealthyYOU Vending is committed to making healthy snacks, drinks and fresh foods available to everyone.