Food is everywhere in today’s office environment, but often, it’s food you didn’t plan on eating. Like when you’re bored or stressed or just jonesing for snack and end up at the vending machine. In fact, a quarter of office workers consume 1,300 extra calories per week at work, according to a June 2018 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—much of them empty calories that come from foods high in refined grains. Over time, those empty calories can add up to nearly 20 extra pounds a year, if you don’t cut back on other meals.
Fortunately, you don’t have to become the workplace health zealot to make better vending machine food choices, says Vandana R. Sheth, RD, a registered dietician and spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If you’re absolutely starving at 3 p.m., and your only source of nutrition is the vending machine, just try to make a healthier choice. Here’s how.
8 Healthier Vending Machine Swaps
|Breakfast tarts||Granola bar||280 fewer calories and 31 fewer grams of sugar|
|Bag of potato chips||Bag of popcorn||55 fewer calories, 3 fewer grams of fat, 12 fewer grams carbs, almost 2 grams more fiber|
|Candy bar||Dark chocolate and nuts bar||75 fewer calories, 3 more grams of protein, 23 fewer grams of sugar|
|Cookies||Fruit snacks||242 fewer calories, 21 fewer grams of fat, 12 fewer grams of carbs|
|Bag of cheese crackers||Bag of pretzels||100 fewer calories and 10 fewer grams of fat|
|Soda||Diet soda||Zero calories and zero grams of sugar|
|Fruit juice||Unsweetened ice tea||Zero calories and zero grams of sugar|
|Energy drink||Unsweetened cold brew||137 fewer calories and zero grams of sugar|
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.