What are the Healthiest Vending Machine Foods?
We can all agree that some days are better than others. And there’s nothing like that sinking feeling on your way to school or work—you’ve forgotten something. Your phone? No. Your wallet? No. Your lunch? Yes!
Nobody looks forward to meeting their nutritional needs for the day from a traditional vending machine. Those fat-filled confectionaries, sugary sodas and greasy snacks are a far cry from proper sustenance. You know it. Your body knows it.
The Problem with Sodium
Potato chips have long been popular as a quick snack. However, the substantial sodium content of the “classic” leave-grease-on-your-hands potato chip can have some disastrous consequences on your health. Too much sodium opens the door to problems you simply don’t want.
- Stomach cancer
- Kidney disease<
- Heart failure
. . . and Refined Carbs
The midday crash. The blank-stare-at-your-computer head bob. The fact is, refined (simple) carbs can give you a quick shot of energy, but their impact quickly vanishes—leaving you daydreaming about nap time. Traditional vending machines are filled with refined carbs: packaged doughnuts, pastries, candy, sodas, snack cakes and even some chips. The CliffsNotes version behind why these simple carbs make us so tired is that they quickly spike blood sugar, only to let it crash soon after.
Not only do refined carbs leave us wondering about how we can get away with a nap under our desks, they’re also linked to an increased risk of some serious health conditions.
- Cardiovascular disease
- Insulin resistance
- Inflammatory disorders
The Old Norm
The problem is that most vending machines are filled with sodium-heavy snacks and sugary treats and drinks. The Center for Science in the Public Interest studied 1,420 vending machines in 251 schools. What it found wasn’t especially promising for healthy eating from a vending machine. According to the study, 73% of beverages and 83% of snack options were of poor nutritional quality. More specifically, of all the machines reviewed, 42% of vending slots were taken by candy and 25% of the other slots contained regular chips of low nutritional quality. Did the study reveal healthy options in the machines? Yes, but just 5% of the slots were occupied by low-fat chips or pretzels and 2% by granola bars.
So, there you are, staring at the glowing lights of the vending machine, wishing you didn’t forget your lunch. The options are limited and you know that anything you choose will leave you feeling sluggish and weighed down. Furthermore, if you’re one of the many who have gone gluten-free, you could find yourself with no choices at all from the “old norm” of vending machines.
The New Norm
But there’s a healthier alternative to the “old norm” vending machine. Healthy You Vending provides all of the convenience of traditional vending, only with options that are better for you. Improved stamina, brainpower, clarity and energy are just a few of the benefits that can come with healthier eating.
Encouraging healthier snacking in schools can help curb the childhood obesity epidemic. And promoting healthy eating or snacking in the workplace as a part of employee wellness initiatives can lead to increased productivity and, ultimately, boost the bottom line.
Top 10 Healthiest Vending Machine Foods
1 – Newman’s Own Organic Raisins
A 1/4 cup serving of these organic dried grapes contains 120 calories. These handheld treats come filled with iron, calcium, vitamin C and even a bit of protein.
2 – Materne GoGo squeeZ Applesauce
This convenient, squeezable applesauce isn’t just for kids. One 90-gram pouch comes with a slim 70 calories, 16 grams of healthy carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber.
3 – KIND Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar
Who’s going to turn down chocolate and peanut butter? And KIND bars are healthy! One 40-gram bar includes 200 calories, 7 grams of protein and only 6 grams of sugar. With an array of available flavors, there’s one to suit everyone’s tastes.
4 – Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar Popcorn
A healthy, crunchy alternative to chips, Pirate’s popcorn can fill you up without weighing you down. A 1/2-ounce bag packs only 70 calories and 1 gram of total sugars. Plus, one package delivers important protein, potassium and calcium.
5 – Primal Strips Hickory Smoked Beef Jerky
A classic standby for meeting your protein needs on the go, beef jerky is, indeed, still a healthy snacking option. A 28-gram package of Primal’s Hickory Smoked jerky comes with less than 100 calories, but packs 10 grams of protein. And Primal even has tasty options that pack the same protein punch as its meaty counterparts for vegans and vegetarians.
6 – Back to Nature Honey Graham Sticks
If the taste of graham doesn’t take you back to your childhood days, nothing will. With a touch of honey, Back to Nature’s Honey Graham Sticks are an irresistible and healthy snack. Fourteen sticks contain only 130 calories and a mere 8 grams of sugar. Plus, those 14 sticks deliver 2 grams of protein, all without cholesterol or harmful trans fats.
7 – Tasty Bite Mushroom Masala
Think vending machines are only for snacks and drinks? Think again. Healthy YOU Vending’s SmartMart Side Vendor can vend a variety of healthy entrées, side dishes and even some essential non-food items. Tasty Bite’s Mushroom Masala is a delicious, filling and healthy alternative to wholesome snacks. Pop it in the microwave and in one minute, treat yourself to a healthy lunch. One 10-ounce serving carries a slim 240 calories, but comes with 3 grams of protein and ample servings of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron.
8 – LUNA Bars
Made with organic rolled oats and other fruit ingredients, LUNA bars are sure to please anybody’s taste buds. Many of LUNA flavors come with an impressive amount of protein and are non-GMO and gluten-free.
9 – Planters Sweet & Salty Trail Mix
Yes, peanuts are high in calories. And trail mix is usually packed with “goobers.” Planter’s Sweet & Salty variety is no exception. But, the fact is, peanuts are healthy when consumed in moderation—notwithstanding their calorie content. That’s because they are a rich source of protein and fiber, both of which help you feel full longer.
10 – Savory Wild Vegan Portabella Mushroom Jerky
Calling all vegans and vegetarians! (and anybody else interested in healthy, plant-based foods.) Savory Wild’s Portabella Mushroom Jerky is made without hydrogenated oils or preservatives. One 57-gram package comes with 160 calories, 10 grams of protein and only 19 total grams of sugars.
More Than a Fad
It’s not just those who are tuning in to the nightly news or searching for better health information on the web who are choosing to eat healthier. More and more consumers are making the decision every day to cut sugar and sodium and embrace wholesome alternatives that are part of the “new norm.”
Healthy YOU Vending has set the trend in the healthy vending industry for more than 20 years. We help our independent operators offer wholesome snacks, drinks and entrées to busy on-the-goers in offices, schools, gyms, hotels and many other locations throughout the country. If you’re tired of the “old norm” machine at your place of work or school, contact Healthy YOU Vending.