According to CBC News, thirty one percent of Canada's children are overweight or obese. Poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle both contribute to this problem, which affects both children and adults alike.
Children are often taught about healthy eating and nutrition in health class at school, then given easy access to snacks full of sugar and fat from school vending machines. Schools have been reluctant to remove vending machines because they are a steady source of essential income.
Luckily, there are now alternatives that benefit both the children and the schools:
Healthy alternatives for school vending machines
Socially-conscious entrepreneurs have begun offering vending machine snacks that are both nutritious and popular with children. Healthy snacks are only useful if children will eat them, so they must be familiar offerings. Examples of prepackaged healthy alternatives to traditional vending machine fare include:
- Nuts and trail mixes. Full of protein and healthy fats, without chocolate or other candies added.
- Low-fat yogurt. Packaged with unsweetened cereal toppings, yogurt offers protein and probiotics, which promote digestive health.
- Low sugar and/or low fat muffins, granola bars, and other baked goods.
Self-operating school vending
Schools can also prepare and serve their own healthy snacks in their own vending machines. Companies that lease vending machines also offer single serve packaging that is compatible with their machines.
Schools can maximize their profits by packaging snacks themselves, while adapting the snack offerings to the needs of the student body. Gluten-free and peanut-free snacks can be made available in specific machines to students with food allergies, and regional favorites can be offered in diverse areas of Canada.
Farm to table options for schools
Access to locally-grown produce is growing as consumers choose to purchase directly from local farms. This is beneficial because it provides the public with freshly grown fruits and vegetables that haven't been transported across the country or imported from countries with less stringent food safety requirements. It benefits farmers whose profits are often limited by selling to food distributors.
Farm-to-table availability can now also benefit schools that choose to supply their own vending machines with healthy snacks. Seasonal fruit can be offered to students shortly after it was harvested through agreements between local schools and farms. Fresh dairy products that are produced locally for schools can be verified to be free of antibiotics or hormones.
When children experience at school what they have learned in class, it provides a greater impact, and will influence their food choices outside of school. To learn more, contact a company like Definite Food Services Limited & BluenoseVending Services with any questions or concerns you have.