You’re running late and you haven’t eaten all day. You’re starving, your blood sugar is tanking, and you need a snack now. But wait! The vending machine is your only option.
Americans have busy schedules. They have less time available to plan and prepare a meal. According to government research, half of all Americans eats three or more snacks per day. Two generations ago, snacking was reserved for working men, growing adolescents, and toddlers with small stomachs. Most Americans ate three square meals a day. Now, meal skipping is common place, especially at breakfast. For teens, snack foods eaten outside of a sit-down meal provide one-fourth to one-third of daily calorie intake.
Enter Healthy Vending Machines
At work, school, and in public places, vending machines are often the only source of food for sale. But food and beverages typically found in vending machines are a problem: high in calories, low in nutrients, and full of unwanted ingredients. Vending machines are seen as a major contributor to the poor food choices that lead to overweight and obesity. Improved access to healthy food is a key strategy in obesity prevention, a matter of great interest to anyone concerned about medical costs. (more…)
For the past two weeks I’ve been gabbing about vending machines. These glass-front boxes are the perfect receptical for food on-the-go. Insert a dollar, make your selection, and unless the item gets stuck on the winding coil (dang it, I hate that) you’ll have a snack to put in your face in seconds.
Last week we gave you a list of the healthiest vending machine choices, this week we have no advice, just pure amusement from the land that has turned vending into an art form, Japan!
LETTUCE – Grown with artificial sunlight, this vending machine isn’t very exciting but it does get points for being healthy.
APPLES – Sliced, bagged and ready to go. An apple a day keeps the “ishi” away. Ishi means doctor in Japanese. I Googled it. You’re welcome.
GRILLED MEAT SAUCE – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been walking down the street ready to chomp into a juicy T-bone and then realize I forgot to put meat sauce in my purse.
Last week I told you about some of the wacky vending machine items that clever entrepreneurs are offering up. And while some of them had potential, like the fresh salad machines in Chicago, others were completely impractical, like the caviar kiosk in Los Angeles.
For those of us who just need a little afternoon pick-me-up, the typical vending machine offers a convenient choice of snacks to grab and go, but which item is the best choice?
When hunger pangs hit and you slide your dollar into the machine, remember to choose a snack that has a healthy balance of protein and fiber. This will keep your blood sugar from spiking, combat the dreaded foggy brain, and keep you feeling satiated for a longer period of time. When it’s time to push the button, keep these healthier options in mind.
Planters Sunflower Kernels – 160 calories, 4g fiber
Triscuit Original Snack Crackers – 240 calories, 6g fiber
American consumers are a busy, impatient lot. We want our food fast and our wifi faster. We don’t like waiting in lines (unless it’s for the latest Apple product), which makes order-ahead and cut-the-line at Chipotle such a popular concept. Vending machines definitely help our scarf-on-the-go mentality, and now, a few industrious entrepreneurs are offering up choices that go way beyond the typical soda and candy bar fare.
Be still my heart. In New York, the sweet folks at Sprinkles have developed a 24 hour ATM machine. For $4.25 you can snag a fresh-baked cupcake wrapped in a cozy little box. The gourmet treats are re-stocked several times a day and come in a variety of flavors including red velvet and lemon meringue.
Dude! Forget about mushy gas station burritos that are hot on one end and frozen on the other. The first burrito kiosk has arrived and it promises, “happiness – and a side – in 60 seconds.” Customers make their selection from a touch screen, and are even given the option to add a side of Wholly Guacamole or Daisy sour cream for an additional price. (more…)
Many advocates fighting to end childhood obesity are also fighting to get vending machines out of our kids’ schools. The machines are filled with unhealthy, low-nutrient foods and soda. Many people want to see them kicked out of the schools for good. However, Utah schools may have the one vending machine advocates may start fighting to get in their own schools.
Rose Park Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah has welcomed a new addition to its halls. Thanks to the LiVe public service program, Intermountain Healthcare has installed a fake, talking vending machine. The vending machine looks like any other, full of sweet and salty treats. The difference is that the snacks are fake and the machine doesn’t take money. When the children select an item the machine dispenses a morsel of healthy information.
“I’m a vending machine and can’t move without someone’s help,” a cartoon-like voice says when a student chooses a Lava Cake. “Keep buying food like this and we’ll have that in common.”
The young elementary students are having fun with the machine, even if they are fooled at first. Some of the children have tried to dislodged the faux treats before they realize the game. Older students have taken younger children to the machine to show them how it works and to hear what it might say.