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Vending Machines Could Offer More Healthful Snacks

A+student+makes+a+selection+from+a+vending+machine+in+the+commons+area+of+Allen+Community+College%27s+Burlingame+Campus.
A student makes a selection from a vending machine in the commons area of Allen Community College's Burlingame Campus.

A student makes a selection from a vending machine in the commons area of Allen Community College's Burlingame Campus.

Jordan Grindol

Jordan Grindol

A student makes a selection from a vending machine in the commons area of Allen Community College's Burlingame Campus.

Jessica Sharp, Activities Editor

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College students live a hectic, crazy life that can often require sacrifices. For example, sleep, exercise, and sometimes entertainment has all been pushed aside for the sake of studying and various school activities. However, there is one thing that does not need to be sacrificed: nutrition. Eating healthy at college is not always easy, but can always be done, regardless of circumstances. Cafeterias make an admirable effort to provide health-conscious meals, and coaches encourage nutrient-filled snack choices.

These are all excellent, and should be encouraged, but can our school do more for its students? I believe the answer is yes. If other students are anything like myself, they almost always feels “snacky”, and never feel like preparing a full meal. Unless the cafeteria is open, some students don’t have the resources to get a fresh meal that has the nutrients we all need to keep our bodies energetic and healthy. So how can we, the college, help our students?

There are many options, but one specifically that we can change is our vending machines. Currently, the vending machines at both Burlingame and Iola are on the traditional side and have food items like candy, chips, cookies, snack cakes, and crackers. A machine at Burlingame has pre-packaged, rather suspicious looking sandwiches. The drink machines vary widely, ranging from apple juice to Rockstar energy drinks. Is this really the best we can do?

Healthy vending machines are increasing in popularity. Their purpose is to bring nutritious snack foods into schools and work places, offering a convenient, health-conscious option as opposed to candy bars and soda pop. This can include fiber bars, dried fruit, smoothies, pretzels, sunflower seeds, and protein shakes. With machines filled with snacks like these, students can satisfy their food cravings and still maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Am I saying that less healthy snacks like cookies and cakes should be banned from the school grounds and never be seen again? Of course not. Foods of all kinds, healthy and unhealthy, have a place and students naturally have a choice in what they eat. However, we have a responsibility to make nutrition a top priority, and the least we can do is to assist our students and make these kinds of food accessible.

 

Another Viewpoint

By Jordan Grindol

News Editor

Although the differences between the vending machines on the two Allen Community College campuses are slight, one big difference is the Burlingame campus’ sandwich vending machines. The options range from ham and cheese to turkey, but in many students’ opinions, they all seem unappetizing, with preservatives that are far from mouth-watering.

Other options in the vending machines include candy and energy drinks riddled with sugars and artificial sweeteners. While these are easy options to grab when in need of a snack or a “pick-me up,” they are also incredibly unhealthy and result in a major energy crash later on.

Healthier options such as baked chips, granola, or even dried fruits are more appealing substitutions for the treats you find in your cafeteria now. They may not be as appetizing as the snacks we have to choose from currently, but your body will thank you for the choice of these snacks over others later on.

While I do agree with the substitution of healthy choices as opposed to unhealthy ones, I don’t agree with the abolishment of all sugary treats in schools. Students, especially those at a college level, should be able to make their own choices on what foods they eat. Some would like to choose healthier options to keep themselves from crashing later on while others would just like a tasty treat to snack on during a break between classes. I agree that a decision between the two may be hard for some students to make, but at this stage in our lives aren’t we supposed to be responsible for our own choices?

Vending machines have received a bad rap for their impact on the student body and mind, but there are various things we can do to change that. A little more variety in the healthier direction would be a step forward for Allen

 

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