Nutritious choices made easy: Healthy vending machines debut around campus

By: Noelle Harada, Columnist, Vice President of Nutrition Club

Are you looking for something healthy to consume during a busy day or right after an intense workout in Burdick Hall? Have no fear, the new enr.G vending machines are here. You can find these machines in Burdick hall, the University Union, the CLA building and the CFA building.

These vending machines are not your mundane, junk food-filled outdated machines that get you into a wrestling match when they steal your dollar. These enr.G machines run on the latest vending technology and are designed with sustainability in mind. They use LED lighting, motion sensor dimmers and source locally produced products when available.

Yes, it can be hard to set aside the time to eat healthy, especially during the semester when we all have so much to accomplish. But healthy snacking can provide vital nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to maintain high energy levels throughout the day. The enr.G machines contain snacks filled with these nutrients.

These snacks are an alternative to the high-fat, high-sugar and high-sodium snacks in regular vending machines, and harmful trans fats are not allowed. Also, there are all natural, organic, vegan, gluten free, kosher and non-GMO products available.

Many of the selections can help to achieve personal health and wellness goals, and the majority of the items contain less than 250 calories, 10 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 230 milligrams of sodium and 20 grams of sugar, which help to maintain energy throughout the day. For example, the Lightly Salted Edamame contains 14 grams of protein in just one-quarter cup. This snack is also low in saturated fat and is a good source of fiber. Mrs. May’s Naturals Classic Crunches contain healthy fats, protein, fiber and antioxidants and are preservative free, gluten free and Kosher.

For those with a sweet tooth, you can find Barbara’s Snackimals Oatmeal Cookies. While regular cookies are high in saturated fat, these Snackimals have no saturated fat and are made with whole grains. 

If you are a “bar” person there are KIND bars, Nature Valley bars and NuGo Fiber d’Lish bars. Fiber d’lish bars contain nearly 12 grams of fiber, are vegan and low in fat, saturated fat-free and made with whole grains. 

Do not be fooled by the products that claim to be healthy for you. Read the labels and know what you are eating.  Just because it’s surrounded by healthy does not mean it is healthy.

For example, many people love Clif Builder’s Protein Bars, which contain 20 grams of protein. But the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor also 25 percent of your daily value of saturated fat. And why aren’t Welch’s Fruit Snacks in there? Just because it says made with real fruit on the packaging does not mean it should take the place of a piece of fruit. Eating actual fruit is much healthier because it contains fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, no added sugar and no artificial anything. So if you have a hectic schedule and need a quick bite to help build and repair muscle, sustain your workout or just need some extra energy to get through your day, don’t forget that the enr.G vending machines are a new option on campus.

For more info, contact TU dietician Kerry Ballek at kballek@towson.edu.

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