The Surprisingly Healthy Candy You Can Pick Up At A Vending Machine

If you're running short on time and hankering for something sweet, you might steer yourself toward the nearest vending machine for a quick sugary pick-me-up. There are plenty of options to choose from; and, believe it or not, some of those candies may actually be relatively healthy compared to others. Let's narrow it down.

First, if you are in need of keeping your sugar intake low, know that there are some candies that are best avoided. Although it ranks as the No. 1 vending machine candy across the country (via Chomp Vending), Snickers bars are made up of 30 grams of sugar and 16 grams of fat, 40% of which is trans fat, which boosts our "bad" cholesterol (per TODAY). Also best avoided are 3 Musketeers bars, which tops Snickers in terms of sugar content at 40 grams, reports Yahoo!Life. Finally, with even more sugar, consider skipping Skittles. In a 2.17-ounce bag of Skittles, you'll find 47 grams of sugar, along with 2.5 grams of saturated fat. Rather, here's the candy you may want to choose instead.

The perfect combo of sweet and salty

So what's a healthy candy option that you can find in a vending machine? We'll give you a hint: it's the perfect blend of sweet and salty — Peanut M&M's.

In a serving of 10 Peanut M&M's, you'll find 103 calories (via Secret Menus), 5.2 grams of fat, and a little over 12 carbs, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). What gives the candy its main nutritional value, however, is its protein. Per every 10 pieces, you'll get nearly 2 grams of protein. Of course, Peanut M&M's don't come out of a vending machine one at a time. Instead, if you opt for the Fun Size Peanut M&M's package (like the one you might get while trick-or-treating on Halloween night), you'll still get 1.72 grams of protein. Even more, in a regular-sized singles package, you'll find 5.17 grams of protein. In comparison, a regular-sized bag of vending machine Peanut M&Ms trumps many of its sweet competitors when it comes to protein. Consider a Milky Way bar, for instance, which only has 2 grams of protein as opposed to the 5.17 grams of Peanut M&M's (via CBS News). Not to mention, you'll also get the added perk of 2 grams of fiber.

What about the sugar content of Peanut M&M's?

At the end of the day, it's all still candy, right? While Snickers bars, 3 Musketeers bars, or a bag of Skittles can all come with a great deal of sugar, are Peanut M&M's really any better? Actually, it appears they just might be. As per the USDA, a serving of 10 Peanut M&M's contains 10.2 grams of sugar. A Fun Size bag comes with 9.14 grams of sugar, and a regular single-sized bag has 27.4 grams. To review, a Snickers bar harbors 30 grams of sugar, while a 3 Musketeers bar is home to 40 grams, and a bag of Skittles has 47 grams of sugar. Therefore, if you're looking to keep your sugar intake low, Peanut M&M's may be the way to go.

The next time you find yourself in need of a little something sweet and a vending machine is the only option in sight, know that Peanut M&M's may be able to satisfy your sweet tooth and contribute to your daily protein intake all at the same time.