You're at the office and you're hungry. It's also late, you're tired, and there's just no way you're going to walk outside the building and buy some truly healthy food—like a salad or an apple. So you stare at the office vending machine for a few minutes trying to decide if popcorn is healthier than granola. Here's a cheat sheet for those desperate evenings.
Fiber One bar, Oats & Chocolate (1.4 oz)
The Good: Nine grams of fiber, calcium-rich, and it's chocolate.
The Bad: High in carbs and sugar.
The Bottom Line: The extra fiber will keep you full.
Planters peanuts (2 oz)
The Good: Decent source of protein, iron, and fiber; these might be the most filling option in the machine.
The Bad: Lots of sodium and 45 percent of your daily fat allowance (though it's mostly the healthy kind).
The Bottom Line: They'll sate your appetite without putting you in a carb coma.
Nature Valley granola bar,
Oats 'n Honey (1.5 oz)
The Good: You get two (pretty tasty) whole-grain bars for fewer than 200 calories.
The Bad: Twelve grams of sugar is hefty for a little snack.
The Bottom Line: It's no apple, but it's relatively guilt-free.
Doritos, Nacho Cheese
The Good: Provides six percent of your recommended daily allowance of bone-building phosphorus.
The Bad: The triangles contain heart-clogging saturated fat, a boatload of sodium, and artificial colors, which stain your fingers (and memos).
The Bottom Line: Skip.
Herr's Original Popcorn (1 oz)
The Good: Low in sugar and contains two grams of protein.
The Bad: The "partially hydrogenated oil" listed on the back of the bag is a fancy term for trans fats.
The Bottom Line: Skip.
Twizzlers (1.5 oz)
The Good: Nutritionally bankrupt, but if you bite off the ends, they work as fun, fruity straws.
The Bad: Eighteen grams of sugar, courtesy of corn syrup.
The Bottom Line: Skip, unless you're splitting the pack with a friend (or seven).
Welch's Fruit Snacks (0.9 oz)
The Good: Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, plus no fat and just 80 calories.
The Bad: Don't fall for the fruit line: This is healthier candy in disguise.
The Bottom Line: As far as treats go, this one is a pretty safe bet.
Popchips (0.8 oz)
The Good: A healthy dose of potassium (thanks to real potato), no trans fats, and only 100 calories.
The Bad: They're high in sodium.
The Bottom Line: Why not?
Pirate's Booty (1 oz)
The Good: Low in sugar, with a shorter list of natural ingredients like cornmeal, rice, and Cheddar cheese.
The Bad: High in fat, low in protein, and zero fiber (you'll be hungry again in an hour).
The Bottom Line: Better than chips, but not by much.
Fig Newtons (2 oz)
The Good: The fiber content means you'll stay satisfied.
The Bad: They're still cookies, and they contain sulphur dioxide, a gas created by burning coal or oil.
The Bottom Line: If you're desperate. They're better than other cookies, and they contain real fig.