If you have ever experienced an aggressive wave of hunger in the middle of class before, you are undoubtedly not alone. The problem is, if lunch is not next on your schedule, only few options remain to satisfy your hunger. You could either trek to the snack bar, pray you run into a bake sale or simply turn your leftover change into a packaged Cinnabon via the vending machines. Due to the time constraint between moving from class to class, the most practical solution to your hunger is most likely popping quarters into the vending machine, retrieving your snack and carrying on with your day. However, though this option may appear to be the easiest and fastest, it’s far from serving as the healthiest.
In 2014, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) conducted a study regarding the healthy options that vending machines in the U.S. offer. They concluded that approximately 85 percent of all snacks within the vending machines examined (including those similar to those we have on campus) were deemed unhealthy. The CSPI re-performed this study in 2004 as well and yielded similar results. Although making multiple trips to the vending machine in a single day may seem harmless, these unhealthy actions can create habits that will have negative impacts in the future. For example, drinking just one sugar-filled drink each day increases the odds of developing type 2 diabetes in the future by 26 percent. Also, severe, consistent consumption of such beverages can eventually lead to heart disease. Constantly being surrounded by these sugary sodas only leads to a greater chance of this possibility occurring.
Unlike the snack bar or the cafeteria, vending machines are open all day to students, and with the tempting choices to potentially choose from, students can snack whenever they please while at school. A solution to this problem would be to stock the vending machines with healthier options, to encourage students to make smarter choices regarding their daily food intake. Granola bars and packaged dried fruit as well as some chips and drinks deemed to be on the healthier side more than suffices as potential choices. Not only will this promote healthy habits, but it will fuel students’ school day with proper energy, as opposed to the poor nutritional value currently received otherwise.
Vending machines are an efficient way to cure anyone’s hunger on short notice, but with the choices offered, the quick snack comes at cost. However, if stocked properly, not only will vending machines hold you over until lunch, but they will also benefit your well-being too.