April 18, 2014

Healthy Vending Machines in Schools Hit the East Coast

The same healthy legislation that I spoke about before that has been taking place in California is now taking place across the United States. News reports have surfaced about the same types of standards being made for healthy vending machines snacks in Washington, Massachusetts, and New York. In New York, unhealthy snacks are banned from the time school starts in the morning until the time the last meal is served as school and then can be served again.  The law in Massachusetts models the laws that are being passed in California.  These laws will not only change healthy vending machines in schools, but it will also affect snacks sold a la carte in cafeterias and those sold at fundraisers.

The Bay State

On Wednesday, July 13th, after five months of deliberation, the Public Health Council in Massachusetts approved their new guidelines for healthier options in schools. While many schools in the area have claimed that they have already taken action toward providing healthier options, this will insure that students are offered nutritional items that adhere to specific guidelines.

According to an article posted by local radio station, WAMC, it is requiring that fruits and vegetables be sold wherever food is sold around schools and “ensures that foods meet the standard for fat, sugar, (and) sodium content.”

The Standards

These are just a few of the standards that snacks will face starting in the 2012 school year.

  • A maximum of 200 calories per item.
  • Less than 35% of calories can come from fat.
  • Less than 20% of calories can come from saturated fat.
  • Less than 30% of calories can come from sugars.

It was a unanimous vote by the Public Health Council. Massachusetts is now one of 29 states that have passed similar laws restricting food sold on school grounds. Some criticism has come from groups that fundraise on school grounds.  They will no longer be able to have bake sales and sell items that do not meet the regulations.  Overcoming this challenge and finding great healthy items to sell will only help accomplish the main goal of this law, which is to help fight obesity and poor childhood nutrition.


HUMAN Healthy Vending Reviews: Asheville North Carolina

Josh Marr is a 7th grade social studies teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina, but he lives a second life after school hours.  No, he is not a secret agent or an undercover cop. He is a HUMAN Healthy Vending Asheville North Carolina machine operator. Marr owns and operates 10 HUMAN Healthy Vending Machines and has plans to increase that number in 4-5 years.

Marr’s 10 machines were placed into varied locations thanks to HUMAN’s location finding services.  Two of his machines are a very large high school in North Carolina, which he says can get over 100 vends a day! His average amount of vends per day is about 40-45.

His favorite beverage is the organic chocolate milk and his favorite snack is the Back To Nature Cookies. Marr has been very happy with the support of HUMAN Healthy Vending throughout the process of purchasing and operating the machines.  Check out his interview below to find out his favorite part about being a healthy vending machines operator.

Hungry? Try 4 Satisfying Snacks from Healthy Vending Machines

The vending machine business has been continually growing and vending machines can be found frequently. Even with the recent shift from traditional vending machines to healthy vending machines, it is still easy to sometimes be steered in a less healthy direction. These four tricks of the trade will help you pick healthier snacks while standing in front of the machine deciding what to get.

Healthy Fats

This may seem like an oxymoron to you, but the truth is that it isn’t.  There are plenty of food items out there that are very high in fat, but are still consideredhealthy.  Some examples of these items are avocados, peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc. Vending machines are stocked with quick fix snacks such as nuts and seeds that are great snacks and are healthy too. Nuts and seeds are full of monosaturated fats, which are the fats that keep you feeling full longer and fuel your body with energy.

Sodium Secrets

Craving something salty? Most of us turn to a bag of chips to fix this craving, but there are some nutritional secrets hidden in those bags that may be causing you more harm than good. Chips and crackers full of sodium have very little nutritional value and are considered simple carbs.  Simple carbs give you a short boost of energy and then leave you with no added benefits. If you are craving something salty, look for chips that contain whole grains and/or fiber.

Sweet Tooth

Just like sodium filled snacks, sweet snacks are also usually full of simple carbohydrates.  Candy bars and chewy candies have a ton of sugar and no nutritional value.  Fruits or even some fruit snacks are a good way to satisfy your sweet tooth without giving you cavities.

Hydration Nation

These sweet and salty cravings can be caused by dehydration.  Drinking a lot of water each day can help curb your hunger and cravings.  Water is the best beverage choice for rehydration.  Energy drinks and sodas are loaded with sugars and carbohydrates that will just make you crash later.  Sweet teas (without the added sugars) or flavored waters are the next best thing.

So next time you find yourself standing in front of a vending machine trying to figure out which buttons to press, think of these four tips.  I guarantee you will feel better if you opt for the healthier choices than the sugar/sodium loaded options.

A Day in the Life of a Healthy Vending Machines Operator

Becoming a healthy vending machines operator is a simple and sure way to make money. The first few steps are the hardest, but there are tools out there to help you.  Once you have your machines purchased and your locations picked, the rest is easy.  Here is a basic run down of a day in the life of a healthy vending machines operator.

1. Checking Your Remote Monitoring System

Before you head out to service any machines, you should check your remote monitoring system to see the activity that has taken place in your vending machines. This program should give you a detailed break down of each machine you own with a list of all the products that are currently in the machine.  Under each item listed, it will provide you with the number of items the section can hold and how many it has left.  This will give you the up to date count of how many of each product you need to bring with you to reload the machine with.

2. Packing Up Your Products

After you have checked your system, you can pack up products accordingly in an organized fashion to make restocking easy. John Pinto, a HUMAN healthy vending machine operator, suggests putting beverages in one container and snacks in the other.

3. Restocking Your Products

Once you have arrived at your location and unlock your machine, you can take a look at your inventory and see what is out and what needs refilling.  Then it is as simple as restocking each compartment. Depending on how well products are selling, it is wise to do tests and see if some products sell better than others in certain locations.

4. Refilling the Coin Dispenser

Then, make sure that your coin dispenser is full, in order to ensure that customers receive the correct amount of change.

5. Collecting Your Money

The last thing left to do is to collect your money from your vends. Be sure to do this in a safe and secure environment and then place your money is a safe place.

6. Locking Back Up

Once you lock your machine back up it will run a quick test to make sure everything is in place and ready to go! Simple as that!

Restocking a machine only takes about 15-30 minutes.  With such a small commitment of time and effort and a good profit margin it seems like becoming a healthy vending machines operator is a wise business move.

Grab Your Cup of Joe While you Work

In this video you will discover the benefits of having healthy vending coffee machines at work.

Drinking the Calories You Just Burned at the Gym

Forgive me while I rant a little.

I also came across this photo, which just made me laugh a little. I highly doubt that she drinks soda while working out and is in that kind of shape.

Politics and Healthy Vending Machines?

Politics and vending machines couldn’t be two more vastly different industries, but now thanks to California legislation the two are blending together into one big happy family . It is currently required by California law that 35% of products in vending machines on state property comply with state health standards.  Just some of these standards include, but are not limited to:

  • No more than 35% of a products’ calories can come from total fat (not including nuts and seeds, which are a healthy fat).
  • Products can have no more than 10% of calories from saturated fat.
  • Beverages that are 100% fruit or veggie juice and contain no added sweeteners.
  • With the exception of water, beverages can be no more than 12 ounces.

A bill has been proposed to change that 35% to a total 100% of products that would have to follow these standards. Changing all vending machines on state property into healthy vending machines has cause quiet a stir in Sacramento.

Lobbyists have argued that requiring 100% of the products to be qualified healthy products is outrageous and “unworkable”.  Their reasoning is that they wouldn’t be able to provide state employees with products that they want. Amongst those in opposition is The California Automatic Vendors Council. If the bill passes it will take effect in 2016.

If my understanding of California state property is correct, this bill would include public schools and government run office building. Judging by my past post about healthy vending machines in schools you can see that I am a pretty big advocate of this bill, or at least increasing the amount of healthy products in vending machines.

The Benefits of Healthy Vending Machines – What’s In It For Me?

What is the point of eating healthy?

Why should I spend so much more time trying to find healthy options in healthy vending machines, especially when they cost so much more?

The benefits of healthy eating and snacking are endless. Here are the most important reasons why you should go out of your way to eat healthy.

  • Energy – When you fuel your body with the right things you have much more energy than you are used to.  Heavy foods slow you down and make you feel sluggish.  Try eating less dense foods with more natural ingredients in them and watch your energy level stay up throughout the day.
  • Antioxidants – A lot of healthy teas and even dark chocolates contain antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that stop or slow down the natural process of oxidation that occurs in our bodies. They also help your immune health and have been thought to help lower your chances of cancers, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Vitamins - If your mother is anything like mine she has been nagging you to take your vitamins since you could chew. As much as I hate to admit it, she was right about their importance. Vitamins help with your body’s daily functions and, just like antioxidants, they also help with oxidative damages. In addition to your daily vitamins, you can also get a lot of vitamins from foods and beverages.  Vitamin water, if you couldn’t tell by the name, is loaded with vitamins and minerals and oranges contain a lot of Vitamin C.

These are just three of many health benefits of eating healthy foods and snacking from healthy vending machines. Try paying attention to what you are eating for the next few weeks and let me know if you feel a difference.


Traditional Vending Snacks vs. Healthy Vending Machines Snacks – Part Two

Yesterday I took a look at the average nutritional values of traditional vending snacks. Today I want to show you how much of a difference it makes to opt for healthy vending machines snacks.

Healthy Vending Machines Snacks

We will still base it on the same 2,000 calorie per day diet and still keep in mind that this number obviously varies depending on your gender, age, weight, etc.

  • There are a lot of different options for chips in healthy vending machines. Stacy’s Pita Chips have only 5grams of fat per ounce. That is at least 50% less fat than a greasy, unhealthy bag of chips.
  • Chocolate bars in healthy vending machines are significantly better then traditional chocolate bars.  Health Anytime’s Triple Chocolate Snack Bar are only 7 grams of fat and only 2 grams of saturated fats.
  • Craving something sweet? I know this might seem like a crazy idea, but instead of sugary candy, why don’t you try an apple or a banana. Fruit has natural sugar to cure your sweet tooth and it is good for you!

So, next time you make a trip to a vending machine, try the healthier option.  I bet you will thank me.


Traditional Vending Snacks vs. Healthy Vending Machines Snacks – Part One

Snacking is not a bad thing if you snack right.  I typically have three meals a day with two snacks. It is not uncommon that I forget to bring snacks with me throughout the day so I often rely on healthy vending machines snacks to satisfy my hunger.

I am sure I am not alone in my necessity for snacks, but there are plenty of people who opt for unhealthy, junk food options in traditional vending machines, instead of considering the nutritional difference of healthier and equally tasty snacks. That is why over the next two posts I am going to compare the two and tell you what nutritional values you should be looking at.

Traditional Vending Snacks

Based on a daily diet of 2,000 calories you should consumer an average of 50-60 grams of fat a day. This obviously depends on your gender, age, and lifestyle, but for the sake of argument, these are the numbers we will use.

  • Chips in a regular vending machine are considerably unhealthy.  Most of us don’t realize it because they are in such a small bag, but they contain around 10-15 grams of fat, almost 20% of your daily fat intake!
  • Chocolate bars in a vending machine, such as snickers or twix, have about 300 calories in each and 15 grams of fat, 5 of which are saturated fats.
  • Sweet candy, such as skittles, are low in fats, but extremely high in other areas. They have 47 grams of sugars and 56 grams of carbohydrates.

While these options don’t see horrible at first glance they are definitely not good for just a snack.  If you are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and eat better then stay tuned for part two of this post to read about the healthier choices you can find in healthy vending machines.