Healthy vending machines

Any products sold in the machine can contain no more than 35 percent calories from fat, 10 percent from saturated fat, and 35 percent from sugar.

Kyle Burton/Special to AFN

With school starting bright and early tomorrow, students at Mountain Pointe High School will notice new vending machines offering nutritional snacks to give them the right amount of nourishment at school.

Healthy Vending of Arizona, powered by H.U.M.A.N. Health Vending, piloted the new program coming to the Tempe Union High School District, and Mountain Pointe will be carrying the torch to this healthier way of snacking.

The healthy vending machines have a slim and sleek look to them, which makes it difficult to not be curious about what’s inside them.

Located on the side panel of each vending machine are bullet points letting customers know that 10 percent of the proceeds will be donated to fight childhood obesity.

There’s currently three healthy vending machines scattered throughout the school where students have the choice between 14 different snack items and 14 beverages. The items range in price from $1.25 to $2.50.

On top of the vending machines are mini screens displaying different nutritional facts about the items being sold and a PSA focusing on health topics.

Incoming freshman Tanner Perry said he’s seen some people use the vending machines.

“If I see the healthy vending machines I’ll probably use them because there are better snacks than candy, and you can actually get a good snack,” Perry said.

Some of the snack choices students are able to purchase range from Clif Bars, Veggie Fries, Popchips, Vitamin Waters and Muscle Milks.

Jena Irby, owner of Healthy Vending of Arizona, said the company’s goal is to integrate healthier food choices into schools and local businesses.

She added that in 2014 there will be new laws and regulations implemented by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which will require certain standards for foods.

“Any products sold in a machine can contain no more than 35 percent calories from fat, 10 percent from saturated fat, and 35 percent from sugar. It’s the 35, 10 and 35 rule,” Irby said. “We are passionate about making sure we are meeting those standards, and consistently coming up with healthier, cleaner and better options that meet those standards, but also taste really good for the kids.”

To make sure students are enjoying the different selections from the vending machines, Irby and her team had a taste testing at Mountain Pointe recently, making sure that students are enjoying their new nutritional snack selections.

They received good feedback and there will be another taste testing on Aug. 16, Irby said.

Dr. Amy Puls, from Healthy Vending of Arizona, said they have a pretty good pulse on what people like from the snack options.

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