It happens to everyone - that midafternoon energy slump that drives you to the office vending machine for chips and a soda. You know it's not healthy, but when that feeling hits, you only want to get through the rest of the day, which can easily drive you to make unhealthy choices. So, what are the best and worst vending machine snacks? We went straight to the experts and bring you the top snacks from the vending machine to keep you on track with your goals, even when you're ravenous and tired.
1. Best - Nuts
Nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fats, both of which are nutrients that give your body and brain energy. They're also a good source of fiber and antioxidants so they're one of the best vending machine snacks. Just go easy on portion size - you can easily overdo it on calories if you eat too many.
2. Best - Baked Chips
If you must have something crunchy and salty to satisfy a craving, baked chips are your best choice. They're much lower in fat and calories than traditional options and will give you a decent dose of fiber to keep you full until dinnertime.
3. Best - Popcorn
Popcorn is considered a whole grain and you can eat 3 whopping cups of it for just a few calories. The trick is to stay away from buttery popcorn or kettle corn, which is not a good choice at all. Jazz up plain popcorn with a dash of paprika for added flavor.
4. Best - Sunflower Seeds
Much like nuts, sunflower seeds are a rich source of healthy fats and protein so they'll fill you up and help you slog through the rest of the day's to-do list. Sunflower seeds are a great choice for regulating blood sugar and reducing cravings for sugary snacks.
5. Best - Peanut M&Ms
You might be surprised to see candy on this list, but if you must have it, go for the peanut M&Ms. They offer up a good amount of protein and fiber with just the right touch of sweetness to keep you focused on the afternoon's tasks.
6. Worst - Cheetos
Sure, they taste good, but they're packed with fat and calories, not to mention the artificial colors and flavors, making them one of the worst vending machine snacks. There's not enough protein or fiber in Cheetos to satisfy your appetite for too long so chances are you'll have a blood sugar crash and need another snack before dinner.
7. Worst - Cheese and Peanut Butter Crackers
These little gems that probably make you think of your childhood lunchbox might have some protein from the peanut butter, but there's also way too much fat and too many calories to make this a healthy afternoon snack.
8. Worst - Pop-Tarts
Not only are Pop-Tarts packed to the brim with unhealthy sugar, but they don't have much going for them in the way of nutrition either. They might give you a spark of energy, but they digest quickly, leaving you hungry again just a short time later.
9. Worst - Pastries
Packaged pastries, such as apple pies or donuts, are processed to within an inch of their life, contain a mega load of sugar and calories and are too high in fat to be anything other than a sometimes treat. Eating these will just leave you feeling worse later.
What's your go-to afternoon snack?