According to the UK Government “Food served in some schools and academies in England must meet the school food standards so that children have healthy, balanced diets.
They must provide:
- high-quality meat, poultry or oily fish
- fruit and vegetables
- bread, other cereals and potatoes
There can’t be:
- drinks with added sugar
- sweets in school meals and vending machines
- more than 2 portions of deep-fried, battered or breaded food a week
What is Healthier Vending?
Many schools have vending machines but most of them are stocked with unhealthy foods like chocolates, crisps & fizzy drinks. With more and more people becoming health conscious, vending companies have created and launched Vending Machines that stock only healthier products with better choices without compromising the consumer taste like sandwiches, baguettes, yoghurts and fresh fruits.
How can Schools Implement Healthier Vending?
It all comes down to the willingness and commitment from the senior management of the school and the catering service. The vending aspect can’t be overlooked with the overall food policy of the school. It must go side by side. When setting up healthier vending it is very important to engage the whole school community and create a working group involving the management, teaching staff, pupils, parents and local health professionals.
The working group can then discuss the following points:
- List out the healthier food and drinks
- Price range
- Where will be the machine located
- What will happen during holidays?
- Liaise with Vending Machine & Food Suppliers
How to Promote Healthier Vending in Schools?
Most pupils love chocolates and fizzy drinks, hence the initial response to Healthy Vending may not be very positive. But raising awareness about healthy eating habits, nutrition and obesity could be helpful. Following means can be used:
- announcements in year assemblies,
- discussion about the scheme within their tutor groups;
- pricing healthier options competitively;
- establishing theme or special event days, offering different or unusual foods;
- creating a poster display for healthier vending;
- introducing new products routinely to maintain interest;
- writing about the scheme in the school newsletter;