Vending machines on college campuses are filled with junk food. More and more students are becoming unsatisfied with these options and demand healthier snacks to be made available between classes. There are many benefits to healthy vending machines.
Just 15 minutes. That’s typically how long college students have allocated to travel between back-to-back classes across campus. Now imagine you have three of these classes in a row: 10 to 11:15, 11:30 to 12:45, and 1 to 2:15. When are you supposed to eat lunch? It’s impossible!
You barely have time to cross campus let alone stop at a dining hall for a bite to eat. Thankfully, there are many vending machines spread throughout various buildings on campus.
Vending machines are a quick and convenient way to feed your hunger. Simply grab a bag of chips and a soda and you’re all set until you have time to eat something more substantial. However, most of these quick snacks, although tasty, are terrible for your health.
If you can’t make it to a dining hall, there should be nutritious snacks for you to grab on-the-go. When students were asked about their satisfaction with the vending machines on their campus, the majority of them said they wanted an improvement in the availability and accessibility to healthier options in the vending machines.
Current vending machines offer poor choices. The majority of the snacks are low in fiber and high in empty calories, saturated fats, and a ton of sugar. Similarly, most drinks are high in calories and sugar as well.
By having these machines spread throughout campus, it makes “high energy, low nutrient” snacks the easy or default choice for students. If colleges are supportive of healthy eating, then they need to provide a better assortment of snacks in vending machines. In fact, the following points are the main reasons why healthy vending machines are beneficial for one’s health:
Gain easy access to healthy foods when you are in a time crunch.
It’s no surprise college students are always busy. They try to cram as much as they can into one day, staying up till late hours to complete assignments. Vending machines are always accessible on campus and in the college’s residential halls. This provides students regular access to healthy food when dining halls aren’t open.
Promotes healthier eating habits.
People who use vending machines are more susceptible to poor eating habits than those who do not use them. Having healthy foods available pushes students to make healthy food choices.
Many studies show that increasing nutritious foods in vending machines does not impact overall revenue, but instead, leads to an increase in sales of healthier snacks.
This shows that when given the freedom to choose between junk food and healthier options, students can and will make the right choice for their health.
Reduces health complications with poor weight management.
Promoting a well-balanced diet leads to better weight management and decreases campus obesity and related health issues. When students choose more nutritious snacks, they are reducing the number of empty calories, the amount of sodium, saturated fat, and sugar that they are consuming.
Students will continue to develop cravings for healthier foods and will, therefore, continue to eat more nutritiously in their own kitchen and in dining halls. In the long run, this will lead to healthier lifestyles.
Save money through prices.
Although not all vending machines will do this, there is evidence that pricing strategies have a positive effect on healthier snacks. By lowering the price of nutritious snacks and increasing the price of junk food, students will pick the cheaper option. Who doesn’t want to save as much money as possible on food?
Healthy eating leads to better grades.
You hear it all the time, “eating your fruits and vegetables leads to a clear, focused mind which in turn, gets you better grades.”
Although there is actually little research on this topic, experts do say the majority of studies have concluded that healthier diets are associated with better academic performances.
Healthy snacks provide students with nutrients without taking up much of their busy schedules. They are given the tools to have a healthy body and a healthy mind.
College students’ eating habits are influenced by many factors. Limited time, unhealthy snacking, the convenience of high-calorie food, stress, expensive healthier foods, and easy access to junk food, all help students gain that ‘freshman fifteen’ they all want to avoid.
By eliminating some of these factors through healthy choices in convenient vending machines, colleges can make a positive impact on their students’ eating habits.
It is quite easy to find substitutes for the healthy snacks you love. HealthyYOU Vending offers a wide variety of products to stock vending machines that are both healthy and delicious.
Popchips, Boulder Canyon chips, and Pirate’s Booty snacks can fulfill satisfy junk food cravings. Surf Sweets, Glee Gum, and Endangered Species Chocolate will hit that sweet tooth. And quenching students’ thirst with Jones Soda Company, Kombucha Wonder Drink, or POM Wonderful is just as good as a Coke or Sprite, but with fewer calories and sugar.
These are only a few solutions to re-stalking vending machines.
Overall, healthy vending machines on college campuses are extremely beneficial. College is where students create the habits they will have for the rest of their lives.
Having a nutritious diet is setting them up for success. Even if it seems impossible to eat healthy at school, there are always solutions and resources to help navigate this already stressful experience in one’s life.