Healthy Kids healthy vending machine

Published on September 27th, 2011 | by Nan Gibbons


Rethinking Vending Machines for A Healthier Generation

Helping Unite Man And Nutrition (h.u.m.a.n.) healthy vending machine

The next generation is the first ever with a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

In 1980, only 7% of children between the ages of 6-11 were considered obese, but by 2008, that number had jumped to 20%. In the past 30 years, the number of obese children has tripled.

Parents and schools are the most effective means for reversing this deadly trend. Through the National School Lunch Program, both public and private schools are encouraged to provide meals that are lower in calories and more nutritionally balanced. While the National School Lunch Program is an excellent initiative to make schools more accountable for what we’re feeding our children, there is still a major area of concern: vending machines.

New Alternatives

While kids love vending machines for quick snacks, many of the options contain empty calories and excess sugar.

Some schools still have food and drink vending machines available, while some have eliminated them all together. Vending machines are not necessarily the problem, and taking them out of schools is not necessarily the answer to the obesity problem. Instead of taking the vending machines out completely, schools should try to offer healthy alternatives and teach students how to make wiser decisions when choosing something to nibble on between classes or after school.

Some schools have tried adding carrots or fresh fruit to their vending machines. While this is a step in the right direction, students still crave their favorite junk food snacks.

What Can We Do?

Instead of totally removing junk food options from students’ lives, we should teach them about nutrition, moderation, and foods that are delicious and healthy. Sugar is addictive, and its consumption only calls for further consumption. The same goes for the chemicals in processed foods. Once children become used to eating sugary and processed foods, they’ll crave more. If you work healthier foods into their diets gradually, they will soon naturally begin to crave fresh fruits and veggies instead of Cheetos and Oreo cookies.

Instead of taking away your children’s favorite snacks all at once and removing vending machines from schools, introduce healthier foods and slowly wane processed foods from their diets. Teach children about moderation and let them know that a few times a month, they can indulge in a vending machine snack as a special reward.

If you are able to add fresh fruits and vegetables to a vending machine without compromising their naturally healthy quality by adding preservatives, doing so would be an excellent way to incorporate healthy snacks. You can also replace soda and juice for flavored waters or lower sugar and lower calorie juices. Establishing good health patterns and eating habits will last longer and be more effective than simply removing vending machines.


More than anything, children love encouragement. Do everything you can as a teacher, parent, family member, or friend to encourage and reward kids for healthy eating and outdoor activity. You are their biggest ally for a healthier lifestyle.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by cliff1066

Keep up with the latest sustainable food news by signing up for our free newsletter. CLICK HERE to sign up!

Tags: , , , , , ,

About the Author

Nan Gibbons is a licensed nutritionist as well as personal trainer based in San Diego, CA. She always does her best to make sure she and her three-year-old son, Reid, lead eco-friendly, healthy lifestyles! In their free time, she and Reid enjoy going to the beach, craft projects, and relaxing at home with their labrador pup, Cody.

Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑
  • Let’s Connect!

  • Advertisements

  • Popular Posts & Pages

    Whether you are looking to completely give up animal products or just want to try eating vegan some of the time, we want to support you! Below, you’ll find articles answering some common questions about vegan cooking and nutrition. If you don’t see your question answered below, please get in touch with us! We are happy to investigate for you!

    Find out what's in season now, plus get plenty of recipe inspiration to help you make the most of every season's beautiful, local fare.

    I love infographics. When I came across this one about what, how, and when to plant vegetables, I thought I’d share. Keep reading after the pic for a few of my own lessons learned.

    Putting a healthy meal together can be difficult on a busy weeknight. These quick, easy, healthy meals make even weeknight cooking a breeze.

    Looking for an all vegan grocery store? Even if you’re not lucky enough to have one in your town, there are lots of online options for vegan grocery shopping.

  • Advertisements

  • Search the IM Network

  • The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc., its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.