Vending machines: What to pick and what to skip

candy, Olumia Life, snacks, vending machines

woman at vending machine

 

We’ve all been there: it’s the middle of the afternoon and you’re starving, maybe you’re cruising through a long road trip with only a rest stop between you and the vast plains of America; either way, you need food now and your only option is a vending machine. While more often than not, “vending machine healthy eating” is a contradiction, there are certainly varying degrees of (un)healthiness to the options ready to be munched on.

The problems with vending machines

The main problem with vending machine foods is sugar. Also, while it is currently being phased out by the FDA, you can still find trans fat in some vending machine offerings, especially baked and preserved foods, like fruit pies. However, sugar remains the primary concern, since the most common snack at a vending machine is candy and most common drink is soda.

Apart from candy, though, baked goods use lots of added sugar and preservatives in order to extend their shelf-life. Fresh baked goods made with whole grains can be good for you, but you’ll probably see Bigfoot before you find healthy bread in a vending machine.

Chips and other snack crisps are the final major group of foods you can expect in the average vending machine. While these generally are low on sugar, they are often highly processed, full of carbs that can foul up your Nutritional Ratio for the day and contain excess fat.

OK, let’s admit that none of your options are very good. What then?

Preventative steps are the best solution to this problem. Keeping water handy is a big part of staving off hunger cravings. You might be surprised how often we perceive dehydration as hunger. Also, eating the proper Olumia Life Nutritional Ratio and plenty of fruits/veggies at each meal should keep you fully fueled throughout the day. Since fruits and vegetables exist outside the ratio, you can also eat them as guilt-free snacks when you need to. Keeping some baby carrots or nuts handy can be extremely helpful.

Of course, hindsight is always 20/20, right? If you’re stuck with a vending machine for food/drink, here’s how to eat as healthy-ish as possible:

  • Peanuts, especially plain or only salted ones, can be modestly healthy. Avoid the honey-roasted variety if possible, as they are coated in sugar.
  • Baked chips, while a starch in your Nutritional Ratio, are the healthiest type of chips that may be available.
  • Chocolate candy with peanuts is perhaps the least unhealthy in the candy group. Remember, though, only eat as much as you need. (You might not need the whole pack.)
  • Avoid the baked goods and any “fruit” thing unless it’s an actual, fresh fruit. That’s marketing, not vitamins and nutrients.
  • Make this snacking part of your Cheat Half-Day.
  • Skip all the soda. Almost every soda machine now will have a water option.
  • Power through the hunger. You might surprise yourself. Feelings of hunger tend to come in waves, so your cravings may pass if you give them some time.
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