Mitzi Dulan – America's Nutrition Expert
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Healthy Vending Machine: An Oxymoron?
by Mitzi Dulan, RD, America’s Nutrition Expert®
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Sometimes it happens: you’re stuck late at the office or out running errands, your stomach is growling and you reach into your purse to find . . . nothing! Forgetting to pack a healthy snack happens to the best of us, and it often means a choice between being hungry and cranky or stopping by the nearest vending machine to feel full but guilty. Never fear, because healthier vending machine options are here!

You may have heard that New York City public schools are getting a vending machine makeover, featuring drinks that are low calorie, caffeine- and carobonation-free, and without artificially flavored sweeteners. Snacks will be limited to 200 calories and 200 mg of sodium, with sugar and fat not exceeding 35% of calories and saturated fat no more than 10% of calories.

In Miami, Florida International University is trying its hand with healthy vending machines as well. Five new machines on campus feature only healthy products: dried fruit, nuts, trail mix, granola bars, and baked vegetable chips are some of the options. Even better? Their products cost just the same as their unhealthy counterparts! The only catch is that if sales decrease, the healthy vending machines will have to go.

Don’t have a healthy vending machine near you? Not to worry! Just because you can’t see the nutrition label on the back of the products until after you purchase doesn’t mean you can’t pinpoint the best option for you!

  • When it comes to beverages, you can’t beat water! Juice might seem like a healthy option, but all too often you’ll find it full of added sugars that will quickly send your energy crashing.
  • Trail mix can provide you with protein, healthy fats, vitamin E, iron, and fiber.
  • Granola bars can be a good source of fiber! If you can find one with fruit and nuts, stick to that over the kind that more closely resemble candy bars.
  • Baked chips or crackers are lower in fat than their fried counterparts.
  • Dark chocolate is a delicious way to get some antioxidants! Just don’t eat the whole bar at once.

Interested in getting a healthy vending machine in your workplace? Check out!

What’s your go-to healthy snack?

5 thoughts on “Healthy Vending Machine: An Oxymoron?

  1. Awesome tips Mitzi. Sometimes between classes at school I get super hungry. I wish that the healthy vending machines would be available to me, but they just aren’t yet. It is important to grab a healthy snack when you are hungry because allowing your stomach to growl for too long leads to over-eating later. Thanks for the ideas of what I should grab from a vending machine during my breaks at school to keep myself from getting too hungry and over-eating later!

  2. I’m so glad that healthier options are finally available in vending machines – easy and accessible! My go-to healthy snack is apple slices with peanut butter or just a plain glass of low fat milk (white or chocolate).

  3. It’s good to finally see not only the workplace but the college campus take some steps towards providing healthy snack to workers/students. I wish I had these options when I was an undergrad!

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