Healthy YOU Vending Supports Better Nutrition in Schools
Many students consume half of their meals in school—so the foods they eat can have a major impact on their health. That’s why HealthyYOU Vending proudly supports better school nutrition and healthy food initiatives for kids by providing healthier snack options in school vending machines.
Nutrition in schools is a crucial factor of student well-being and overall health. Proper nutrition plays an important role in physical and cognitive development in children and young adults. It can improve academic performance, reduce the number of absences and promote health and well-being.
Why is nutrition education important in schools?
The benefits of nutrition education in schools can help students form an early understanding of healthy eating habits and how diet can affect well-being and health. By learning about nutrition early on, students can make informed decisions about the foods they choose to eat throughout their lifetime.
Providing nutrition education in schools can also contribute to combating childhood obesity and the health problems that come alongside poor diet choices, as well as giving students the skills they need to develop lifelong healthy habits.
Improved nutrition standards in schools
Both the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, passed during the Obama administration, and the implementation of the USDA’s Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards, put healthy meal standards at the forefront of school lunchrooms. With the passage of these acts, America has made critical steps on the road to delivering healthier food choices to our nation’s schoolchildren.
“Give us a couple of years and you will see the effects across the country of not just school meals, but of all food sold in schools,” said Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer services for the USDA, which regulates school breakfasts and lunches. “I know it can make a difference.”
In the past, competitive foods, such as high-calorie, unhealthy snacks, drinks and meals, have undermined the goals of school meal programs, which were designed to provide kids with complete, healthy meals. To meet the Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards, there are specific requirements that snacks and beverages sold in schools must follow.
All snacks sold in school vending machines are required to have less than 200 calories, less than 35% saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat. Beverage offerings must be limited to water, low-fat milk, 100% fruit or vegetable juices and low-calorie sports drinks. And most importantly, they must have nutritional value instead of “empty calories.”
How can we promote nutrition in schools?
There are several different tactics that can be used to encourage better nutrition for students and promote better nutrition in schools overall.
Providing healthy meal options through a school lunch program is a great way to offer nutritious options for students to choose from during the day. Many schools are a part of the National School Lunch Program that provides free or low-cost meals to students in need. These meals are already required to meet specific guidelines when it comes to nutrition, something that could be expanded to the school-wide level.
Another way to promote nutrition in schools is to offer classes and awareness programs that inform students and foster a healthy relationship with food. Teaching students about portion control, balanced meals, healthy eating habits and more can encourage students to start choosing healthy food options from an early age.
Why do we need healthy vending machines in schools?
One of the best ways to encourage students to eat healthier is to provide easy access to healthy and nutritious snack and beverage options. Healthy vending machines snacks in schools offer more nutritious options such as water, juice, organic fruit leathers, baked vegetable chips, nuts and seeds, energy bars and much more. By reducing the number of unhealthy snack selections that are often high in calories and sugar, students can choose options that better fuel them throughout the day. Hopefully this will encourage students to choose a more balanced diet and eat healthier options for the rest of their lives.
With the passage of Smart Snacks in School, rules also banned the sale of junk food in school vending machines—think traditional junk food like burgers, pizza, soda, chips, candy bars. That’s where we come in—Healthy YOU Vending is poised to provide schools with satisfying, yet healthy options for students.
Healthy YOU Vending in schools
Having a variety of healthy snacks and drinks in school vending machines is a great way to help students stay healthy and motivated. Easy access to quick, healthy convenience foods can help busy students and teachers avoid long cafeteria lines or give them the boost of energy they need to finish off the school day strong. School vending machines can also prevent students from leaving the school campus to buy junk food from the local burger shop or convenience store.
Healthy YOU Vending has more than 1,100 healthy snack and beverage options available for vendors and schools to choose. Each vending machine holds 21 snack selections and eight drink selections so there are plenty of healthy vending snacks that appeal to kids. This may vary depending on age group—elementary kids will crave different types of snacks than high schoolers, for example. We recommend school administrators meet with their local Healthy YOU Vending operator to discuss the most popular, nutritious snacks to stock in their school machines.
Good nutrition at schools is more important than ever. It can lead to improved focus, more energy and better health, while teaching kids a lesson to last a lifetime: healthy eating can taste good!
Healthy YOU Vending is proud to support healthy food initiatives for kids, while offering health-conscious entrepreneurs the opportunity to own their own business. Learn more about bringing Healthy YOU Vending to your elementary, middle school, junior high, high school or college.