Tag Archives: food labels

Making Healthier Choices at Vending Machines

Vending machines and snack carts have their fair share of tempting snack foods, but you can make healthier choices even when you are in a hurry at work and must rely on these options for lunch or a snack to get you through that next meeting.

Here are some nutritional guidelines to follow when selecting an item from a vending machine or snack cart. Healthier choices will meet the following criteria for a single serving, so be sure to read all nutrition labels:

Fat

  • Contains less than 35 fat calories for every 100 calories of the food.
  • Contains 1 gram or less of saturated fat calories for every 100 calories of the food.
  • Contains 0 g of trans-fat.
  • Nuts are exempt from fat criteria as they are high in monounsaturated fat and are therefore a healthy choice.

Sugar/Artificial Sweeteners

  • Contains less than 15g of sugar per serving, excluding sugar from fruit.
  • Sugar-free choices are acceptable if they meet the fat criteria.

Salt/Sodium

  • Snack items: Contain less than 480 mg of sodium per serving.
  • EntrĂ©e items: Contain less than 1000 mg of sodium per serving.

Protein

  • Item is a lean protein choice (fish, chicken, turkey, tofu, legumes, beans).
  • Must also meet the fat and sodium criteria.

Nuts/Seeds

  • Plain or spiced.
  • No candy-coated or yogurt-coated nuts/seeds.
  • Nuts are exempt from fat criteria as they are high in monounsaturated fat, as stated above.

Assorted nuts

Fruits/Vegetables

  • Fresh, canned, or dried fruits without added sweeteners.
  • Fresh vegetables and salads. Dressings must meet fat and sugar criteria.
  • 100% fruit or vegetable juices without added sweeteners, and meet salt/sodium criteria.

Whole Grains/Legumes

  • Whole grain breads and cereals must meet sugar criteria.
  • Prepared legume products must meet fat, sugar, and sodium criteria.
  • Items with at least 2 g of dietary fiber per serving are preferred.

Milk/Dairy Products

  • Non-fat or 1% dairy products (including cheese).
  • Frozen dairy items must be made with non-fat or 1% milk or meet fat criteria.