A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Is it Hard to Have Healthy Vending Options?

If you work in an office building, most likely there are several vending machines that provide food and drink options. Are there any healthy options in the machines, or just something deemed “healthy” by a green circle and checkmark?


Recently, I have been going back and forth with my company’s department responsible for the vending and the actual vending service. I inquired about the possibility of stocking our machines with healthier options as their current “Balanced Choices” were inadequate. The choices they considered healthy were only on the farthest right column and consisted of Baked! Lays, Snyder's Pretzels, Welch's Fruit Gummies, 2 flavors of Nature Valley bars, Sun Chips, and some breath mints. I pointed out how the baked items usually contain more ingredients and sodium than their original counterpart, and how the Nature Valley bars are candy bars in disguise.
I asked for the list of balanced choices they have to select from and was given this:

Frito Lay

Baked Lays Regular
Baked Doritos Nacho Cheese
Baked Sour Cream and Onion
Baked Ruffles Cheddar Sour Cream
Baked Lays BBQ

Breathsavers Peppermint
Breathsavers Wintergreen
Ice Breakers Cool Mint
Ice Breakers Wintergreen

Olde Tyme Pretzels
Mini Pretzels

Special K Bar - Blueberry
Special K Bar - Strawberry
Austin Zoo Animal Crackers
PopTarts Strawberry
PopTarts Brown Sugar Cinnamon
Nutri-Grain- Strawberry

Fat Free Fig Newton's
Fig Newton's
Fig Newton Minis
Newton Minis Strawberry
Snackwells Vanilla Sandwich
Mr Nature

Unsalted Trail Mix

Basil's Low Fat Animal Snackers No Trans Fat
Basil's Low Fat Ginger Snaps No Trans Fat


WELCH'S Mixed Fruit Snacks

I know I’m more extreme than most on determining what’s good, but this list is no good! I slightly agree with the Snyder’s pretzels as the ingredients are only what’s needed and can be identified as real food and the raisins (as long as no oil is added). But, the enriched flour and less than 1 gram of fiber makes the pretzels a sub-par snack option in my book. As for the other options, they should not be part of any “balanced” options as most of them are sugar-filled junk being marketed as a healthy choice.

Now, I don’t even make purchases from vending machines, but would love to see my co-workers (and everyone) given healthier options and knowledge to make better choices. Bringing your own snacks prepared at home is the best choice. If I could go back in time, I’d be a registered dietician or something of that nature, but I’m in accounting and the job isn’t bad. It might be an uphill battle, but I am still trying to push for better options and will keep my readers updated.
I was inspired to change the vending options from reading information from the following sites:

This would be a bigger change to make, and not likely something I, a guy from accounting, will be able to determine. Being the stubborn person I am, I will try my hardest!

Obviously, packaged food is not the only culprit of junk food posing as a healthy choice. Here are a few fast food items from this link that are called healthy by the establishment, but contain the same crap as junk food.
•Wendy’s Baja Salad contains 1,990 milligrams of sodium; more than should be consumed in an entire day.
•McDonald’s Fruit & Maple Oatmeal contains more sugar than a Snickers Bar.
•Subway Fresh Fit 6” Turkey Breast Sub jumps to 24 grams of fat with standards such as cheese and mayo. It contains processed meat, which is linked to increased cancer risk.
•Sonic Strawberry Smoothie contains more sugar than five Twinkies.
•KFC Kentucky Grilled Chicken contains PhIP, a chemical classified as a carcinogen by the federal government.

Before I end my rant, I’d like to add that entire fast food chains have succeeded in advertising so well, that people think they are being healthy just by choosing to eat there. Subway is a great example of this. Remember people, eating healthy is as simple as preparing your own fresh, whole foods not in a package. I will part with a link to a study that found Subway patrons consume more calories than McDonald’s consumers.

Case in point, fast food chains are just that….food made to be served fast. The actual nutritional value is not a big priority as taste is what sells.  Don't fall victim of the Fast Food Health Halo!

1 comment:

  1. I don’t even make purchases from vending machines, but would love to see my co-workers (and everyone) given healthier options and knowledge to make better choices. Bringing your own snacks prepared at home is the best choice. Miami Vending Machines