Which Is Worse? Battle of the Vending Machine Snacks
Here’s a guide to the choice that’s best for your waistline when you need to satisfy a snack urge
By CYNTHIA RAMNARACE
Snickers or Peanut MandMs?
Chocolate accounts for one-fourth of all candy and snack vending machine sales, according to Automatic Merchandiser, an industry group publication, and Snickers and Peanut M&Ms are the top sellers. Both have peanuts and chocolate and weigh about 2 ounces. But which is worse for you?Amazon.com
Snickers bars are the losers here when it comes to nutritional value. Why? "Both have peanuts with naturally good fats in them," says Miriam Pappo, R.D., director of the department of clinical nutrition at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "But the M&Ms are lower in calories, sugar and sodium, and you get double the fiber." And more fiber means you'll feel fuller longer, reducing the chances of a return trip to the vending machine.Amazon.com
Doritos (1.75 ounce) or Crunchy Cheetos (2.125 ounce)?
People love chocolate, but they love salt more -- savory snacks like these make up one-third of all snack vending machine sales. Both snacks are made from corn and contain less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol. But which is worse?Amazon.com
No dietitian would consider either of these snacks healthy, but if you had to choose the lesser of two evils, the Doritos wins out for one reason, says Sarah-Jane Bedwell, R.D., of Nashville. "The smaller bag is the main reason to pick the Doritos," she says. The sizes shown here are the most widely used in vending machines so you're getting more fat, calories and sodium in the Cheetos than the Doritos. The best choice in the cheesy snack category? Opt for baked chips if you can find them.Amazon.com
Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts (3.6 ounce) or Rice Krispies Treats (1.7 ounce)?
Regretting that you skipped breakfast or simply in need of a mid-morning nosh? The Pop-Tart will likely fill your belly more, since it has two tarts versus just one Rice Krispies bar. But the Rice Krispies treat has 16 grams of sugar, compared to 34 in two Pop-Tarts. So which is worse?Amazon.com
Pop-Tarts lose simply because they come two per pack, says Pappo. "If you eat both of them, then hands down the Rice Krispies treat is the better choice just in terms of calories," she says. Two Pop-Tarts have 400 calories, while one Rice Krispies treat has 200. "But if you eat just one Pop-Tart, you're getting 60 milligrams less sodium. So the best choice is to share the Pop-Tarts."Amazon.com
Lay’s Potato Chips (1.5 ounce) or Fritos (2.25 ounce)
The serving size of Fritos is larger, but it does have more fiber and protein than the Lay's. So which is worse? The potato or the corn chip?Amazon.com
"The potato chips are lower in everything," says Pappo--but primarily because the traditional vending-machine package size is smaller (1.5 ounces versus a 2.25-ounce bag of Fritos). That means the Lay's Potato Chips have less fat and sodium and fewer calories, making them the more attractive option.Amazon.com
Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Cereal Bar, Apple Cinnamon or Nature Valley Oats ’N Honey Granola Bars?
At 130 calories, one Nutri-Grain bar wins out over the two granola bars' 190 calories that you'll get in one pouch. But both feature whole grains with 2 grams of fiber. Nature Valley's two bars have double the protein -- 4 grams versus 2 in the Nutri-Grain bar. So which is worse?Amazon.com
Answer: Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars, Apple Cinnamon
The two are pretty close in terms of nutritional value. But the Nature Valley granola bars come out slightly ahead as they are likely to leave you feeling fuller, longer (because of the extra protein) for only 60 extra calories, and that can help avoid more snacking, says Bedwell. Still, either of these picks are better than many of the snacks you'll find in a vending machine.
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