What to Choose—And What to Lose—From the Minibar

Photo by Plamen PetkovPhoto by Plamen Petkov



By Mike Dawson,
DETAILS

If you can't resist the siren call, here's how to tame those jet-lag-fueled after-hours cravings.

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Cranberry Crunch Trail Mix
(2.6 ounces)
Pros: Packed with fiber, vitamins A and C.
Cons: Chock-full of sugar and carbs.
Verdict: Eat after checking in to help keep your, er, inner workings on schedule.

Clif Bar
(2.40 ounces)
Pros: Nine grams of protein, 50 percent daily value of vitamins E and C, high in fiber, and only 240 calories.
Cons: Dense, dry, with hints of cardboard-the taste may not sate your need to indulge.
Verdict: Eat away. A good, round-the-clock choice as an energy-boosting meal replacement.

Luna Bar
(1.7 ounces)
Pros: Packed with vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. Decent protein at nine grams.
Cons: Taste is meh.
Verdict: Go for it. An excellent pre-workout snack. Eat half the bar 20 minutes ahead of time.

Planters Cashews
(9.25 ounces)
Pros: High in protein, fiber, and magnesium.
Cons: 1,440 calories and Chinese-takeout levels of sodium.
Verdict: Acceptable only in small servings. A tiny handful is fine, but ask: Will I stop there?

Pringles
(1.41-ounce tube)
Pros: Nutritionally none-but you can make a duck's bill with two of them.
Cons: It's a can of carbs.
Verdict: Try not to eat the whole can in one sitting.

Terra Exotic Original Vegetable Chips
(1.5 ounces)
Pros: High in healthy fiber and vitamin C, and has calcium and iron.
Cons: Whole veggies are healthier.
Verdict: Indulge. These are the healthiest chips in the minibar.

Indiana Original Kettlecorn
(1 ounce)
Pros: Low in sugar.
Cons: A little salty but less so than the chips.
Verdict: Healthier than chips. Just don't wash it down with soda.

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Kettle Brand Potato Chips
(2-ounce bag)
Pros: High in vitamin C, and around 2 grams of protein.
Cons: A bad marriage of saturated fats and carbs. In layman's terms: an express train to man boobs.
Verdict: The lesser of the crisped-potato evils. If you must have late-night chips, eat these. Otherwise, skip.

Vosges Mo's Dark Chocolate Bacon Bar
(3 ounces)
Pros: Bacon! Also: This dark chocolate has 62 percent cacao (see: Toblerone) and six grams of protein.
Cons: High in sodium.
Verdict: Go for it. A high-end, healthy candy bar makes for an excellent taste-to-guilt ratio.

Toblerone
(3.52 ounces)
Pros: Six grams of protein.
Cons: Um, 540 calories. And it's milk chocolate, which means it contains no cacao, the immune-boosting, heart-protecting antioxidant in dark chocolate.
Verdict: Skip. Worst chocolate choice.

M&M's, Peanut
(1.74 ounces)
Pros: Good fats aplenty; five grams of protein.
Cons: High in sugar.
Verdict: Skip. Snickers is better.

Snickers
(2.07 ounces)
Pros: Five grams of protein and plenty of good fats, iron, and calcium.
Cons: High in sodium.
Verdict: In a pinch. Think of it as a low-grade energy bar-good for hunger-quelling and, as cheats go, on the healthier side.

Swedish Fish
(2 ounces)
Pros: They contain citric acid, which helps prevent kidney stones.
Cons: They're all sugar, which turns into fat. They also pack carnauba, the stuff used in car and surfboard waxes.
Verdict: Skip. They're like soda in a bag.

Caliente Canyon Bison Jerky
(3.5 ounces)
Pros: High in protein and almost zero carbs.
Cons: Sodium is on the high side.
Verdict: Best food in the minibar. Add a piece of fruit for a well-rounded, muscle-building meal.

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THE HEALHIEST IN-ROOM SNACKING

The James, New York City
The James triple-purifies its tap water, and the same sort of healthy mindfulness informs its minibar selections, which include organic options such as Goggi Beef Jerky, B.R. Cohn Green Olive Tapenade, and Dean & Deluca snacks. jameshotels.com

Hotel Monaco, Portland, Oregon
Leave it to a Portland hotel to feature the most progressive minibar program on the planet: Not only can you choose an entirely organic, gluten-free pantry in your room, you can request to stay on the hypoallergenic floor. monaco-portland.com

Four Seasons, Austin, TexasThe healthy offerings almost outnumber the typical treats (Toblerone, etc.), with items like Ronnie's Real Food Vegan Cookies and the tasty Cashew Fig Carrot energy bars from Austin's own Thunderbird Energetica. fourseasons.com

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