An afternoon pinch of hunger has you staring at the shiny, colorful wrappers inside a vending machine. You know you shouldn’t. But your mouth is watering. You know you should just turn around and walk away. But it’s just one candy bar, so it’s not a big deal. Or is it?
If this internal conversation usually ends with you forking over your cash and dignity for 90 seconds of flavorful, emotional gratification, you may need a fresh perspective. For such a small amount of pleasure, you are setting yourself up for extra physical activity just to keep that snack from setting up a permanent residence on your thighs and stomach. Before making your final decision, consider the value of gratification versus the cost in exercise. What will it take to burn off the calories from some vending machine staples in one hour?
Three Musketeers Candy Bar
The commercials imply that this candy bar is light by showing it floating out of a woman’s purse, but a Three Musketeers candy bar packs 240 calories that will weigh you down if you don’t work it off. The WebMD Fit-O-Meter indicates it will take a 45-minute brisk walk (3 mph) for a 210-pound man to make up for this sweet treat, and a little more than an hour for a 140-pound woman.
If you answered the sweet call of a Butterfinger, expect to shake your hips for about an hour to keep this candy bar from sticking to more than your teeth. WebMD Fit-O-Meter suggests the 210-pound man will need to dance for about 40 minutes and the 140-pound woman for about 60 minutes to burn the 270 calories in this Bart Simpson-approved snack.
Stop. Before you punch in the code for this snack, step away from the vending machine. The package hopes you’ll choose to live in denial when you see there is only 190 calories per serving. Look closer. Yeah, that’s for one pastry. Each package contains two. If you fall for this trick, you have 380 calories to burn. You better pull out the bicycle for this one. Expect to pedal at about 10 mph for 40 minutes to an hour to make up for this slip up.
Lay’s Classic Potato Chips
Just 15 Lay’s Classic Potato Chips have 160 calories. Chances are your vending machine bag has 1.5 of those servings. Go ahead and do the math: 240 calories. Burning that many calories is no walk in the park. In fact, you might want to pick up the pace and run about 5 mph for 20 to 30 minutes to earn forgiveness for this sin.
Welch’s Fruit Snacks
You may think that just because this snack isn’t covered in chocolate or fried in oil it’s a better option. In the 2.25-oz. package, you’ll eat 260 total calories. It’ll take 30 to 45 minutes of leisurely swimming to pretend like these gummy snacks never crossed your lips.
Fiber One Oats & Chocolate Bar
While a Fiber One bar is probably not the worst snack you can get out of the vending machine, eating it means you still have an extra 140 calories to burn. It’ll take 10-15 minutes of moderately paced jumping jacks. If you really must get something, the Fiber One Oats and Chocolate Bar may be the least of all the evils calling your name from behind that glass.