Michelle Francis, dietitian at American Fork Hospital, has several recommendations to help you and your children make better choices when you’re in need of a quick snack.
Tip 1: Look for high protein and high fiber choices
“The ideal snack is made up of a protein and fiber,” says Michelle. “And you can find healthier choices in the vending machine if you look.” Michelle recommends:
- Packs of peanuts and almonds
- Trail Mix
- Granola or cereal bars containing fiber
- Fat free or reduced fat popcorn
Teach kids to build snacks with protein and fiber in them even when they’re not at the vending machine. Yogurt, cheese and peanut butter are all good protein sources. Combine those with fruits and veggies or whole grains for a nutritionally complete snack that will keep your child feeling full.
Tip 2: Stay away from soda
Stay away from soda if at all possible. Michelle says 100 percent fruit or vegetable juices or water are much better choices. If you must drink soda, look for a diet or sugar free option.
Tip 3: Go for lower sugar options
Instead of buying a pack of cookies, choose animal or graham crackers. You’ll get fewer empty calories and less sugar. Another healthy, low-sugar pick is beef jerky, and the protein will help you feel fuller longer.
Tip 4: Plan ahead
Plan ahead and bring a healthy snack from home. “We usually hit up the vending machine when we’re really hungry,” says Michelle. “It’s easy to make a bad choice when you’re just looking for something convenient and tasty.” Having something on hand to curb your appetite may help you avoid the vending machine altogether.
Get more ideas on healthy vending machine snacks.