Healthy Vending Choices for Kids & Parents
Let’s face it! We can’t go a week without a broadcast mentioning Obesity or some obesity-related health concern. In our article Why The Rise In Healthy Vending, we identified that 1/3 of Americans are obese. The first “line of defense” in the lives of kids is with parents, of course. We have to be proactive and intentional in our snack selections for our children.
There are four major things to look for when determining whether a snack is a “healthy” choice.
- No high fructose corn syrup The "skinny" of it. High fructose corn syrup is a man-made sweetener that raises blood pressure and the body has a hard time breaking it down.
- No trans-fats (partially hydrogenated oils) Trans-fats cause problems with cell metabolism which leads to increased abdominal weight gain.
- No artificial flavors or colors Artificial flavors and colors have been linked to a number of health conditions from headaches and hyperactivity to asthma and dermatitis.
- No preservatives Whenever possible, go organic, fresh, and natural.
Parents can actively petition schools and businesses to purchase a healthy vending machine and to stock products that are healthy. In our article Nutritional Facts, we referred to the AirVend Card Reader that actually provides nutritional information at the vending machines. This tool helps customers identify how healthy the vending machine choices really are. For your convenience, here are some healthy snack options to consider in your healthy vending machine:
- Planters Sunflower Kernels (1/4 cup) 160 calories, 14g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 4g fiber The Bottom Line: Full of healthy fats
- Baked! Lays Original 210 calories, 3g fat, 0g sat fat, 4g fiber The Bottom Line: Surprisingly fiber-full
- Sun Chips Original 140 calories, 6g fat, 1g sat fat, 2g fiber The Bottom Line: Made of whole grains
- Snyder's of Hanover Mini Pretzels (20) 110 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat fat The Bottom Line: Naturally fat-free
- Smartfood Reduced-Fat Popcorn 120 calories, 5g fat, 1g sat fat, 2g fiber The Bottom Line: Low fat, and has fiber!
What should we drink with these healthier snack options?
Water, of course, is the healthiest drinking option! When placing water in your vending machine, remember that hard plastic bottles work better in vending machines because they are less likely to jam in the machine. Want more to drink that just “regular” water? Today, there are so many options to choose from if you want diversity in taste. “Hint Water” offers all-natural Blackberry, Cucumber, and Lemon options. Coconut Water is an excellent re-hydration option as long as it doesn’t contain extra sugars. Naked Juice provides a number of options that provide 2-3 servings of vegetables and fruits in a drink. All these options qualify as healthy drinks!
Vending machines aren’t going anywhere, thank goodness!
Machines have been catching the eyes of people since the 1930s. The catch is in knowing what to choose from and why amidst so many options. With the new rise in Healthy Vending options, kids and moms alike can say “YES!” when passing your next vending machine.