Amending Vending: School Machines May Go Healthy

New standards could be due

By Matt Bartosik
|  Monday, May 17, 2010  |  Updated 5:53 PM CDT
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PHOTOS: Hot Digital Vending Machines Hit Chicago

Schools' vending machines may see healthier options soon.

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Chicago public school students often face an all-too-common scenario. They're thirsty, and want something quick, so they use a  vending machine to get a daily sugar-loaded, calorie-heavy, nutritionally useless soft drink.

That could change soon due to a provision in the Child Nutrition Act passed by the Senate, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The House is now considering the bill which would allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to regulate nutrition standards for public schools' vending machines and a la carte lines, in addition to setting lunchroom food criteria.

That means less fruity candy and more actual fruit.

Details of those new standards have not yet been released, but it is likely that vending machines would carry items like fruity organic water, healthy nut clusters, crispy edamame and fresh bananas,  according to the Chicago Tribune.

Del Monte Fresh Produce Company already tested fresh fruit machines in a few Chicago locations and reported positive results.

"I think it's fantastic because it's training them at an early age," Kara Schnabel, a representative of SoNu fruit water, told the Chicago Tribune. "And they will have no choices but healthy choices."

As for the adults... well, we'll just keep piling our veggies on top of our hot dogs.

Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.

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