Are Healthy Vending Machines the Next Big Thing in Schools?

| by Mitzi Dulan
Sometimes it happens: you’re stuck late at the office or out running errands, your stomach is growling and you reach into your purse to find . . . nothing! Forgetting to pack a healthy snack happens to the best of us, and it often means a choice between being hungry and cranky or stopping by the nearest vending machine to feel full but guilty. Never fear, because healthier vending machine options are here!

You may have heard that New York City public schools are getting a vending machine makeover, featuring drinks that are low calorie, caffeine- and carobonation-free, and without artificially flavored sweeteners. Snacks will be limited to 200 calories and 200 mg of sodium, with sugar and fat not exceeding 35% of calories and saturated fat no more than 10% of calories.

In Miami, Florida International University is trying its hand with healthy vending machines as well. Five new machines on campus feature only healthy products: dried fruit, nuts, trail mix, granola bars, and baked vegetable chips are some of the options. Even better? Their products cost just the same as their unhealthy counterparts! The only catch is that if sales decrease, the healthy vending machines will have to go.

Don’t have a healthy vending machine near you? Not to worry! Just because you can’t see the nutrition label on the back of the products until after you purchase doesn’t mean you can’t pinpoint the best option for you!

  • When it comes to beverages, you can’t beat water! Juice might seem like a healthy option, but all too often you’ll find it full of added sugars that will quickly send your energy crashing.
  • Trail mix can provide you with protein, healthy fats, vitamin E, iron, and fiber.
  • Granola bars can be a good source of fiber! If you can find one with fruit and nuts, stick to that over the kind that more closely resemble candy bars.
  • Baked chips or crackers are lower in fat than their fried counterparts.
  • Dark chocolate is a delicious way to get some antioxidants! Just don’t eat the whole bar at once.

Interested in getting a healthy vending machine in your workplace? Check out!