Vending Machines Promote Healthy Snacks

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Customers crowd around two of three new vending machines, eager to purchase snacks. It’s the school’s first pair of healthy vending machines, introduced at the beginning of the 2014 school year to promote healthy snacks. “...I think it’s good they added them,” said Kim Nguyen (9).

Alexa Conrad, Editor

Radford is promoting healthy eating more than previous years when it comes to offering a healthy alternative in snacks for students.

Principal James Sunday said that the Fresh Healthy Vending machines will give students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to purchase healthy snacks.

Fresh Healthy Vending machines were first launched in 2010 to schools across the nation, to provide less junk food and more nourishing snacks, according to www.freshandhealthy.org.

Three vending machines were brought onto campus, packed with pop and kettle cooked chips, coconut and aloe water, and granola bars. Two machines are placed next to the cafeteria for students’ use, and the third is in the office for faculty and staff.

“It is not always easy to run off of campus or call parents to drop off food.  We all know that when we are hungry we cannot perform at our best,” Principal Sunday said. “Hopefully having an opportunity to be able to purchase a snack will alleviate any stress of not having food available.”

Most snacks range between $1 and $2, seemingly suitable enough for any student’s wallet.

Cheyenne Nguyen (9) said that “…as long as they aren’t expensive, they seem okay.”

While the snack choices haven’t garnered any complaints, potential customers are frustrated over the time restriction. Machines are currently available before school starts, and up for purchase after 1 p.m.

Evan Collins (10) said that he would like to see the machines available to students all day.

“With the vending machines being closed during the actual school day, students aren’t able to think of it as an alternative,” Khailie Parinas (12) said, who buys the water from the machine.

Principal Sunday said that for now, the machines are on a timer.

“During the month of September we do not want to interfere with our cafeteria operations. We encourage all students to eat lunch in our cafeteria,” he said. “The vending machines are an option at the end of the day for now.”

However, Principal Sunday said, “We will look into the possibility of having this available during the school day.”

So far, students have been flocking to the machines after the designated time.

“I think they will cut students back on the sweets that are usually in vending machines,” Richie Smith, security guard, said.

These new snacks have the potential to decrease obesity. Not only can they do this, but student behavior is positively affected by healthier eating too, according to a study by www.globalpost.com. Students who were fed healthier meals and snacks received higher test scores than those who did not, and demonstrated calmer, happier behaviors, along with better memory performance and concentration.

According to a Teen Ambassador Sunny Chandasekar, on the television show “The Biggest Loser,” healthier eating can lead to healthy weight loss.

“It’s never too early to lose weight…” she said on the show. “I promise you being in good health is the best feeling you can have.”

By adding these snacks into the general school population, Rams can become more used to snacking on lower calorie, low sodium snacks, which may improve eating habits for the future.