Avoid Vending Machine Pitfalls

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We've all been there. Afternoon hunger hits, and you're standing in front of the nearest vending machine.
One person told us, "The first thing I pick is a Snicker, a Snickers bar."
A second said, "Health does not concern me when I'm at a vending machine."
A third explained, "If there's something I like that's healthy, I'll get something healthy."
But selecting a smart option isn't always a slam dunk, so ShopSmart magazine worked with outside, registered dieticians to pinpoint some better choices.
Okay, it's no mystery you should stay away from the Pop Tarts. They can pack in 420 calories,
4-and-a-half grams of saturated fat and a whopping 32 grams of sugar. That's around eight sugar cubes!
And steer clear, too, of the Hostess Powdered Donettes, which have almost twice the saturated fat.
More surprising advice? Skip the Austin Cheese Crackers with cheddar. There's actually just 2% or less of cheddar cheese.
And if you've just gotta have a chocolate fix?
Judy Rohlena with Consumer Reports Shop Smart found, "Peanut M&M's are a better choice than, say, a Milky Way or a Twix."
That's because the peanuts at least offer a bit more protein and fiber. And here's another guideline.
Judy adds, "Choose something that takes a while to eat so your brain has a chance to register that it's full."
Some good choices - fat-free Snyder's Mini Pretzels, SunChips, or Planters Salted Peanuts, which also offer a good protein boost. But even better - packing that apple!
Vending machines are notorious for junk food, but there are newer machines that offer vastly healthier snacks, including grapes, baby carrots, and bananas.
Fresh Del Monte Produce has launched a line of these healthier vending machine snacks and has even created special technology to keep bananas fresh for a longer time.

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