We’ve all been there: starving, standing in front of a vending machine, and not being able to decide what to get. The biggest question at that moment is, what will give me the most ‘bang’ for my ‘buck’? In other words, what will fill that stomach of yours the most, if you had to choose only one thing (provided you either don’t have the extra coins to spend on more than one item, or you simply don’t want to).
The first thing to ask yourself is whether or not you’re expecting an upcoming meal. If you eat too much, or the wrong type of snack, you could spoil the more proper and filling food that awaits you. If you know you’ve got to eat in a little while, it’s best to chose a snack that will only partially hold off your hunger pangs. In this case, you want to stay a little hungry. Try a small bag of baked chips. Or, if you’re able, just get some gum or some candy to give yourself the sensation of eating something, without actually committing the crime of spoiling mom’s dinner.
Other than the scenario described above, you can count on the following to fill you up and not empty your wallet:
1) A heavy, nutty chocolate bar, like Oh Henry. The nuts will be more filling and the sugar in the chocolate bar will give you carbohydrates as energy fuel.
2) A granola bar, breakfast bar or protein bar. These are vending machines’ healthier options if you’re trying to watch your weight, or your heart rate. Beware however, that granola bars these days can be so full of sugar and junk you might as well go for the better stuff and get a chocolate bar.
3) Trail mix. A pack of nuts and dried fruit is also a healthy option from a vending machine and will help you stay energized, while doing a good job of filling your stomach. Not only that, the vitamins and protein from the trail mix are an added benefit that may even help your body’s digestion.
4) Muffins, cookies or baked goods. If you can find them in the vending machine, go for them, especially if it’s early and you need some tasty breakfast. This option may not be the healthiest, but at least it will have the most carbs to trick your stomach into thinking it’s full for a while.
5) Bag of chips. Yes, the good ol’ favourite bag of chips – pick a flavour from the snack machine that will make your tongue water. The taste of these goodies are often salty, which will satisfy that lunch-time or late afternoon craving for ‘real’ food. Great for holding off hunger to get work done when you’re in a hurry.
6) Cup of noodles. Sometimes dried noodles can be found in vending machines, and if you have access to hot water to cook them in, by all means go ahead. This will make a good meal if you forgot to bring a lunch, or just don’t have the patience to buy takeout somewhere else.
Keep in mind that different people will be satisfied by different things, so when in doubt, trust your stomach’s cravings more than this list! If this happens to you often, you can even try different options on different days to toss things up a little and make it interesting. Then you’ll really know what fills you and what doesn’t!