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Series Website: shiftingthebalance.nhpr.orgShifting the Balance is a station-wide series focused on the positive impact environmental and policy changes can have on the fight against obesity in schools, workplaces, and communities. While so much of the national conversation about obesity focuses on the effect of personal choice, NHPR’s reporters and producers are examining what happens when the choices themselves are changed. Shifting the Balance will present stories of how personal habits, including exercise and consumption, can be improved when even simple changes are made to an individual’s environment, including infrastructure, available food, and the support of leaders and innovators across the culture.

Can Healthy Food Make It As Snack Food?

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<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/fecked-up_art/3300169247/in/photostream/" target="blank">feck_aRt_Post</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons
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You’re at the gym, working up a sweat, burning some calories, getting that metabolism in gear… and then the workout ends and you’re looking for quick refreshment. Grabbing a candy bar or a sugary soda from the vending machine can feel like you’re undoing all your exercise.

The simple solution to this problem is to swap out the unhealthy snacks with healthier fare – and that’s what the New Hampshire company Ecovending is offering. Push a button on an Ecovending machine, and you’ll get an all-natural energy bar or a bag of sweet potato fries – and voila, problem solved. Of course, it usually isn’t that simple. For our series Shifting the Balance, All Things Considered host Brady Carlson talked recently with Ecovending’s owner, Beth Finnigan, and she explained that convincing gyms, schools, hospitals and companies to move to healthier snacks often meets with resistance.