Healthy Food Face-Off: Vending Machines

on April 10, 2012

Tootsie Roll Pop vs. Starburst

Few candies can match the longevity and pairing of flavors and textures of a Tootsie Roll Pop, not to mention its 60-calorie count. In comparison, a pack of eight Starbursts has more than twice the calories, at 160 calories.

Nestle’s Crunch Bar vs. Snickers

With 50 fewer calories, less fat, no hydrogenated fat and no corn syrup, Nestle’s Crunch Bar wins. It’s hard to find a full-size chocolate bar that comes in under 250 calories, but this bar does, at 220 calories and 11 grams of fat.

Dark chocolate vs. jelly beans

Sorry, jelly beans. Chocolate wins, with antioxidant flavonoids that reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow, including circulation to your brain. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, a biochemical that produces that I’m-in-love feeling. It’s worth every one of those 200 or so calories per serving.

Oatmeal vs. chocolate chip cookies

Oatmeal cookies win, with calorie and fat savings that really start adding up the more cookies you eat! Plus, you get about one gram of fiber per two-cookie serving.

M&M Plain vs. M&M Peanuts

Calorie- and fat-wise, plain M&Ms have a slight edge: one serving has 207 calories and 9g fat vs. 220 calories and 11g fat for peanut M&Ms. But the peanut version provides 4g of protein, which could keep you satisfied longer.

Energy bar vs. candy bar

Some energy bars are little better than candy bars. To make sure you’re getting the most benefit, look for bars with at least 7g of protein and 3g of fiber, no trans fats and less than 3 grams of saturated fat, for under 250 calories. Some also have added vitamins and minerals, a plus if you don’t take a multi-vitamin.

Peanuts vs. pretzels

Even though they have more calories and fat (mostly healthy monounsaturated fat) peanuts stick to your ribs better than pretzels. They have good amounts of protein and fiber, and dry-roasted, salted peanuts have less sodium than hard, salted pretzels. Enjoy the peanuts.

Pretzels vs. baked chips

You are always going to get more pretzel than chip per calorie, even with baked chips. What makes chips so wonderful is also what makes them so deadly: that crunchy texture, that burst of salty flavor. Pretzels are plain in comparison. Bottom line: Which will you end up eating less of?

Popcorn vs. pretzels

Pretzels will usually win out against the usual heavily buttered and salted popcorn found in movie theaters and convenience stores. But plain or lightly buttered popcorn holds its own against pretzels. It is low in calories, high in fiber and whole grains and filling.