Healthier Choices at the Vending Machine
If you've ever found yourself standing in front of a vending machine trying to decide which tasty treat is going to do the least amount of damage to your waistline, Prevention's Liz Vaccariello can help. "You’re not going to make a nutritious meal," she says about the machine's selections, "but you can make a choice that doesn’t kill you with calories and can satisfy your hunger."
Like many people, Liz thought she was making a smart choice with baked potato chips. "In reality, they almost have as many calories as regular potato chips because they are just replacing that fat with potato or flour," she reveals. "So not the best choice." Liz also points out that veggie chips may not be as healthy as you think. "Spinach and kale and carrots are on the front package, but there’s a reason they're sold in the potato chips aisle and not the produce aisle! You're not getting vegetables in there. And we found one bag of carrot chips that came in at 600 calories for 4 ounces!"
Liz shares her top chip choice - Soy Crisps. "It has four times the protein (which is going to fill you up) and five times the fiber of a regular chip. You’re going to get the same amount of calories as a regular potato chip, but you’re going to feel fuller for longer."
If you’re going for salty and crunchy, Liz recommends popcorn. "It’s a whole grain, so you’re going to get some fiber," she says. "Air-popped popcorn is the most virtuous choice, but even the white cheddar popcorn has less fat, calories and sodium than a regular potato chip. And it even has a little bit of calcium because you’ve got some cheese in there.”
Liz warns to be on the lookout for deceiving labels. "The low fat cookie label that you see on a lot of packaging can be very misleading," she says. "They are making up for the fat with calories." So if you’re going to go with cookies, consider oatmeal-flavored because the whole grain provides a bit of nutrition.
While candy may not provide much nutrition, Liz recommends dark chocolate if you need to satisfy your sweet tooth. "It feels more indulgent, more satisfying," she says. Raisinettes, which are available in dark chocolate, are a great choice, according to Liz. "They have half a serving of real fruit."
If you're an M&M fan, Liz suggests going peanuts or almonds, because "those nuts are going to aid in weight loss - they’re heart healthy and they’re going to fill you up so you’re not going to be starving."
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