One of the hottest topics in recent years is the debate on junk food in schools. Parents, schools and even the federal government all agree that it’s time to up the standards on foods sold to kids during the school day. At HealthyYOU Vending, we believe that when it comes to school food offerings, candy, sugary drinks, greasy and calorie-laden junk foods are on their way to being a thing of the past.
Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010
With the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the USDA was required to improve core nutrition standards for foods sold in schools to kids, including school meal programs and competitive foods. This led to initiatives like Smart Snacks in Schools and Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, all in an effort to raise a healthier generation of kids.
The First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative focuses on leading children down a healthy path from an early age. This includes educating parents about good nutrition, increasing physical activity, and ensuring access to nutritious, affordable, healthy food, especially in schools.
USDA Smart Snacks in Schools
The USDA recently released its Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards for all food and beverages sold to students at schools. This initiative encourages schools to provide more nutritious foods and fewer unhealthy choices, while making allowances for school traditions such as fundraisers. The new guidelines are slated to take effect on July 1, 2014.
Competitive Food Rules
In the past, competitive foods — such as unhealthy meals, snacks and drinks sold by fast food vendors and junk food vending machines in schools — have undermined the goals of school meal programs, which is to provide kids with complete, healthy meals. A vending machine that sells diet soda instead of regular soda is simply offering zero nutrition instead of sugar-laden calories. It’s still not in the best interests of kids.
While many schools have already made improvements to their breakfast and lunch programs and vending machine offerings, others still are selling high-fat, high-calorie foods. New standards would require most snacks in schools to have less than 200 calories and limit beverage offerings to water, low-fat milk, 100% fruit or vegetable juices, and low-calorie sports drinks.
The HealthyYOU Vending Machine Difference
HealthyYOU Vending supports healthy nutrition in schools by offering more than 1,100 healthy snack and beverage options. Each machine holds 21 snack selections and 8 drink selections so there are plenty of healthy options.