Vending Machines at Your Kid’s School Will Look a Lot Healthier Starting Next Year
Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed by Congress in 2010, school lunches are healthier than ever. The amount of fats, sugars, and sodium has been standardized and now The New York Times is reporting that the newest tier of enforcement will fall on the contents of school vending machines.
Some school across the U.S. have already elected to stock their vending machines with apples and whole wheat crackers on their own, but come the beginning of the 2013–2014 school year, it will be mandatory to replace those candies and chips with granola and dried fruits, among other healthy choice snacks.
“By teaching and modeling healthy eating habits to children in school, these rules will encourage better eating habits over a lifetime,” said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which worked on the legislation. “They mean we aren’t teaching nutrition in the classroom and then undercutting what we’re teaching when kids eat in the cafeteria or buy food from the school vending machines.”
This new mandate is just the next step in the gradual transition schools have been going through since the law was first passed. We love that this is a gradual change, because we understand how difficult it is to force a child into healthy habits all at once. Or, rather, how impossible it is.
We also appreciate the fact that the Grocery Manufacturers Association, The American Beverage Association, and the Agriculture Department are all working together with nutrition advocates to make this change happen for our youngsters. This is a huge leap toward a healthier country.