Healthy Vending Machines: What Would You Stock In Yours?

By: Gina Ryder / HuffPost\r\nPhoto: Kevin Dooley

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Craving a late afternoon snack? For many of us, satisfaction is found in the form of a vending machine.\r\n

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But what if instead of a bag of Cheetos, out came a perfectly-portioned string cheese? Or what if instead of a blueberry Pop Tart, four quarters got you a handful of actual blueberries? Or instead of a Coke, a seltzer water?

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We have a hunch those changes would add up. According to data from the Institute of Food Technologists, a whopping 25 percent of Americans’ daily calories come from snacks, making those often-mindless noshes just as important as any meal when considering a healthy overall eating plan. In fact, snacks add on a full 580 calories to the average person’s diet every single day.

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For some of us, opting for a Snickers over a pack of almonds comes down to convenience — as much as we encourage people to plan ahead, the reality is that a vending machine is often the only choice, especially in the middle of a busy workday. Some vending machine companies have begun to notice the need for healthier options, swapping out, say, candy bars for an organic yogurt. But for many, healthy vending is still a dream.

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What three things would be in your healthy vending machine?