Get a Healthy Sugar Rush From the Vending Machine

Amy Kuras

We all know that we should be relying on healthy, energy-boosting snacks to get us through these marathon days during the holiday season, right? Advice to carry nuts, string cheese, dried fruit, and energy bars with us to boost our flagging shopping mojo is all well and good (although keeping string cheese in your purse is a bad, bad idea; let's just say it doesn't age nicely and digging through your purse saying, "What is that smell?!" is no fun).

But sometimes that doesn't work. Sometimes we find ourselves at the gas station or convenience store shaky with hunger and need something NOW before heading out to do mall battle. And sometimes, a little sugar rush is just the thing to get us through. Some sweet choices are better than others, though, and one healthier choice is really, really surprising. Read on to see the best picks.

The hands-down winner? Rice krispie treats. Homemade ones are only 47 calories per 2-inch square, with less than a gram of fat. You could even be crazy and use puffed brown rice cereal to up the nutrient content.

But that doesn't solve your gas station dilemma. There's no candy that's a healthy choice, but if you're craving chocolate, the Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar With Almonds is a decent bet. It's got 210 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 19 grams of sugar (by way of comparison, a Three Musketeers bar has 260 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 47 (!) grams of sugar -- that's more than 10 teaspoons). Hershey's Take 5 bar is a slightly better bet nutritionally, but has trans fat, while the milk chocolate bar with almonds doesn't.

In a more fruity mood? Strawberry Twizzlers have only 160 calories for 4 pieces and 19 grams of sugar, and are fat-free. Tootsie Rolls fruit rolls are only 140 calories for 6 pieces, but have 20 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fat.

Hard candy is your best sugar go-to, though. Smarties are only 25 calories per roll and have 6 grams of sugar and no fat.

I've saved the best for last: Guess what is one of the healthiest candy choices?

Pixie Sticks!

That's right, those paper tubes of what seem to be pure manic energy-triggering sugar are only 50 calories and 13 grams of sugar for seven straws. Seven! That would power you through hours of shopping!

What's your favorite sugar rush?


Image via Karl Baron(kalleboo)/Flickr

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