It used to be that vending machines were the place where healthy diets went to die. They offered limited choices and almost no options for the health-conscious eater; salt, fat, and sugar contents were off the charts. But in the past decade, a sea change has engulfed the vending industry. Most vending machines offer a wider variety of choices, with many more healthy options than were once available.
And there’s more good news; if you’re going to buy junk food, buying it from a vending machine may actually be a healthier choice! That’s because vending machine offerings have built-in portion control that you won’t find at a convenience store or supermarket.
Potato chips and other salty snacks, for instance, are some of the worst culprits for provoking overeating. If you buy a bag of chips at a convenience store, it’s likely to be 10 to 13 ounces; that’s 10 to 13 servings! And most people, despite their best intentions, have trouble limiting themselves to only one serving when they have the whole bag sitting in front of them.
Most vending machine bags of chips are only one ounce: the exact amount of a recommended serving! When you just must have that salty crunch of your favorite snack chip, isn’t it better to have your portion already measured out? The same principle works for other foods as well. At many convenience and grocery stores now, it can be hard to find the “regular” sized candy bars in the midst of all the king-sized ones, but most vending machine candy bars are standard size. And nuts, which are a very healthy snack in moderation (see Nuts to You!), can add up to extra fat quickly. But with a portion-controlled serving, it’s easier to eat the right amount of this heart-healthy snack.
Of course, US Connect’s Bistro To Go™ kiosks take healthy convenience to a whole new level. However, when you want to get a little junky at the vending machine, remember to use the built-in portion control. When in doubt, check out this handy wallet card from the National Institutes of Health; it will remind you of appropriate serving sizes.