Note from Connie: Today, the Sugar Shock Blog presents a guest post from fellow writer/health coach/IIN grad Suzanne Boothby about new vending machines that healthier foods than you usually find. Full Disclosure: Suzanne is a spokesperson for HUMAN Healthy Vending, the company about which she is writing. In this instance, HUMAN stands for Helping Unite Man and Nutrition.
There's been a lot of buzz recently about school nutrition and, in particular, the problem with junk-filled vending machines in schools.
"Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years," writes Dr. Oz Garcia in The Huffington Post. "Statistics show that nearly one in three American children are either overweight or obese."
Dr. Garcia points out that while parents play the most important role in teaching children healthy habits, the U.S. school system plays a very central part in developing a child's eating habits.
Another article on BusinessWeek, "School Vending Machines Undermine Student Nutrition," referenced a report from the Journal of Adolescent Health, showing the negative impact vending machine foods had on the purchasing choices of students at about 150 different U.S. schools.
More than 80% of the schools studied carried vending machines offering foods with minimal nutritional value, including chips, soda and candy bars.
Enter Sean Kelly and Andy Mackensen, co-founders of HUMAN Healthy Vending machines, which offer healthier fare in the 30-billion vending machine industry.
HUMAN Healthy Vending Machines offer foods that cater to various dietary needs, including those that look for foods that are 100% organic, no-sugar-added, gluten-free, allergen-free, low-fat and carb.
Some of the vending machine's bestselling snacks include PopChips!, TERRA Chips, Larabars, and BARE FRUIT snacks. Drinks include Fiji water, Poland Spring water, Perrier, Horizon Organic Milk and Vita Coco water.
The new digitally interactive, eco-friendly Healthy Vending machines have some unique features. They display all ingredients via LCD before you purchase it. What this means is that you can select a product from a touch screen keypad, and then before you make your purchase, the machine shows you the nutritional info on that same touch-screen. Therefore, you don’t have to lose change by buying snacks that don't work for your particular diet.
In addition to providing healthier choices, HUMAN Healthy Vending machines include an eco-component with remote monitoring systems to ensure eco-friendly refilling. Plus, they contain LED lighting and energy-efficient refrigeration units to save power. In addition, the company donates 10% of proceeds to charitable causes that fight childhood obesity and malnutrition.
You can find these HUMAN Healthy Vending machines in schools, offices, hotels and hospitals, as well as health clubs, gyms and spas. In New York City, you can find these machines at the Aveda New York Institute, Mt. Sinai Medical Center and in the new offshoot of Equinox, Blink.
Suzanne Boothby is currently a spokesperson for HUMAN Healthy Vending, as wells as a Brooklyn-based wellness author and writing coach who dabbles in social media and marketing. She is a proud graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
Comment from Connie: Special thanks to Suzanne for this blog post. These machines are a welcome development in our junk-food oriented society! These vending machines seem to contain something for everyone. Please note, however, that while these snacks are far healthier than what you find in traditional vending machines, not all of these foods are healthy by everyone's standards. So just follow your doctor's guidelines and eat what works for you. By the way, I'm thrilled with the feature that you can save yourself time and money by being able to check out the ingredients first via LCD screen. What a unique, cutting-edge feature!