March 3, 2013 | by Contributor
Shepherd Needs Healthier Vending Machine Options

Across campus Shepherd University’s vending machines are filled with unhealthy options. But with just a few changes, the choices could be more balanced.

Whether it is in a dorm room or in White Hall, the accessibility to swipe one’s Rambler Card for a quick snack makes vending convenience extremely viable on campus. Sometimes those extra Calories can be just what a student needs to get through a long lecture, finish up a last minute paper, or just satisfy midnight hunger pains.

Yet while the availability is great, the selections are not. The vending machines on campus have about three rows of chips and three rows of sugar and candy. Fattening chip options available are various flavors of Doritos as well as Funyons, Cheetos, and Bugles. As for the sugared treats, there are two rows of cookies to provide options such as Pop Tarts and fruit snacks and then one row of candy bars.

Though these choices are typical for vending machines, that still doesn’t mean it has to become the standard. Shepherd University could swap out one or two of the less popular unhealthy items for a more reasonable choice. It would give those that utilize the machines the variety of having a healthier snack instead of just having to spend money on something unhealthy.

Plus, having six rows full of harmful treats is just excessive. There is no reason that out of the 35 slots offered, all of them have to be high in Calories.

Vending machines have the ability to be a saving grace in the classic case that a student or professor forgets lunch or an afternoon snack one day. However, if the person is making healthy lifestyle choices and the only assortment available is sabotage, it can be depressing.

Since the years ahead will transform the school from being less commuter to more walker friendly, little changes such as what snacks are placed in the machines might aid in the transition. Food is fuel, and the better choices available could have an overall impact on the campus.

Moreover, as of Feb. 1, the United States Department of Agriculture laid the groundwork for a similar proposal. It is called “Smart Snacks in School” and will be the first step to ensuring that schools have access to healthy vending machine and snack bar options. This proposal aims to create a national standard.

Shepherd’s snacks available in the dorms and lecture halls can definitely be more balanced by adding a few less sugary carbohydrate possibilities.

Students and professors who enjoy indulgences could still have more than two dozen delights to choose from. Those who are looking to skip out on the additional Calories should also be able to also access the machines without having to go hungry or munch on something that isn’t unhealthy.

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