October 4, 2011

"This is way too healthy for a snack."

"Kids want healthy stuff like baked Doritos, but not an apple that they can get at home free."

The new vending machine is supposed to provide more "healthy choices," but kids don't buy the fresh fruit and vegetables. Actually, it sounds pretty gross: fruits and vegetables in a vending machine. It's supposed to be fresh, but the vending machine environment seems inherently unfresh.

54 comments:

traditionalguy said...

So how do they put their mandated calorie, sugar, sodium, etc. lists on apples?

Nanny State has to be warning the consumers of food at all times.

John Althouse Cohen said...

There was an episode of The Office about that. There's a contest to see which branch can lose the most aggregate weight, so Dwight replaces all the chips and candy in the vending machine with fresh fruit, which is surrounded by flies.

MarkG said...

I wouldn't by fruit from a vending machine either. Don't most people like to pick and choose which apple or peach they're going buy?

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paddy O said...

No, kids don't want to pay $1.50 for vegetables. The mark up in those 'healthy' machines is absurd.

Which means it's about profit first, likely connected with a corrupt interaction between the policy makers and the company. Then they blame the kids for not wanting to choose the healthy snacks.

It's a choice between a $1 bag of chips and a $1.50 bag of roasted edamame, which means the choice isn't only about health. These are kids with limited cash. Maybe those Buffalo Bills players could use their vast salaries to give more money to the schools so that vending machine companies don't have to be the middle men.

But, then that would cut out the potential for graft, all in the name of health.

MarkG said...

Get rid of the junk food and soda machines completely, and keep only the apples and carrot sticks. Then that's what the kids will eat.

Public education administrators are really dense.

traditionalguy said...

The biggest hang up is going to be the blue berries and black berries coming down the dispenser.

But maybe they could coat them first in a bread. Voila we have a snack food... let's call it muffins.

Kit said...

Dried fruit or nuts or some kind of mix would work. Fresh fruit and vending machines are just not made for each other.

Chris said...

I don't need to see the vending machine to know that the apples and healthy snacks are probably individually packed in clear polystyrene plastic containers. Polystyrene is a particularly noxious non-degradable material. That doesn't sound very green to me. Why do these healthy snack fanatics hate the Earth?

MarkG said...

Why do school keep the junk food machines? Because the schools make money?

Stop wringing your hands over why kids choose Doritos over carrot sticks. Get serious or STFU.

bagoh20 said...

We didn't have any vending machines in my school. But we weren't there for the shopping, or even nutrition. How did we make it though? Both of my parents left for work at 6am and didn't return until after school. I fed myself, and I walked to school (a couple miles). These things were never considered problems by me, my parents or the state. What happened?

Psychedelic George said...

"The vending machine environment seems inherently unfresh."

Now that's a sentence.

edutcher said...

The trick here is to make all the kids who aren't allowed to go out for football to play volleyball - 40 on a side, one row rotates out after each point - for about a couple of hours.

That'll run off those empty calories.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Everyone is missing a key component of the "eat your vegetables" dance -- most of 'em taste like cardboard.

I grow veggies for a living, and my family's been in the produce business since 1868. The way most veggies are grown ... I wouldn't eat 'em either.

Producers ignore completely any nutrients beyond nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It is, however, nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and the micronutrients which make produce taste good.

Grow it poorly. Ship it across the country. Stick it in a vending machine for two weeks. Charge a high price.

Now there's a real recipe for success.

Fred4Pres said...

Fruit is good but from a vending machine does not work from me. I would much prefer to buy it from some field hand who does not wash his hands after going to the "bathroom" (also knnow as Martha Stewart alfresco!).

PETER V. BELLA said...

More nonsense from the nonsensical food police.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Look on the bright side, rotten fruit will never be more than a vending machine away! Perfect for hurling at passing Politicians, Movie Stars, and Janeane Garofalo!

Old RPM Daddy said...

When I was in high school, there were no vending machines. You either brought your food, or ate the lunchroom slop.

When I was in college, there were cigarette machines in some of the dorms. This wasn't all that long ago. To me, anyway.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Get rid of the junk food and soda machines completely, and keep only the apples and carrot sticks. Then that's what the kids will eat.

Or not.

Then you have a vending machine full of rotting fruit, vegetables and moldy hummus.

Nom nom.....not.

The kids will just bring the snacks they want or just not eat that rotten crap.

Ann Althouse said...

"Get rid of the junk food and soda machines completely, and keep only the apples and carrot sticks. Then that's what the kids will eat."

I picture this happening. It's as if all they see are kids who are too fat. But what about skinny kids. As a parent, my problem was trying to find a way to get enough calories into them. And one son (not John) would sometimes resist eating to the point where he was about to pass out. It's not every kid whose hunger will force him to eat what is served. There are those who simply will not eat.

Also, I'd just like to say, I see plenty of kids around here because there's a school a few blocks away and a school bus stops right in front of my house. And I'm not seeing all this obesity. The kids look pretty normal to me.

I question the whole obesity scare.

Ann Althouse said...

By the way, cut up fruit and fresh vegetables can be contaminated. Look at the recent deaths caused by listeria. I think the widespread aversion to this kind of food, when we're not personally picking it and immediately eating it, may be deeply engrained in our evolved instincts.

Fred4Pres said...

Schools should get rid of vending machines. Have the cafeteria serve decent food. Not "healthy" per se, just decent. Kids tend to not be foodies, but they will (believe it or not) eat from a reasonably stocked and fresh salad bar. Serve a balanced lunch thyat is not weird looking and tastes good and the kids will eat it.

MadisonMan said...

The kids look pretty normal to me.

Agreed. They walk along my street, I'm 3 blocks from the High School, and they look like normal skinny kids. Maybe all the fat ones are riding the bus and are dropped off right at school, but I doubt it.

Re: That vending machine: Who's gonna pay $1.50 for two boiled eggs? And you know you can't have a knife in school to cut through the hard plastic that encases them. Why not just have a vendor selling fruit that the students can see and pick up. They do it on the Library Mall here at the UW, I don't see why it wouldn't work in a High School (although I will guess that Union Rules are somehow involved here).

Fred4Pres said...

Most kids have a hyper metabolism anyway and they need to eat a lot. What you want to get them away from his hyper glycemic snacks and soda and into normal food.

Just serve them good food and they will eat it. Make it like the restraurants they like to go to.

MarkG said...

The kids will just bring the snacks they want or just not eat that rotten crap.

I'd bet most of the snack purchases at school are "impulse" buys. Eats to relieve boredom rather than hunger.

I agree getting rid of junk food won't get all kids to eat fruit, but those impulse buys will be limited to heathier stuff -- if you ignore the fruit-in-vending machine issue.

edutcher said...

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Everyone is missing a key component of the "eat your vegetables" dance -- most of 'em taste like cardboard.

Good point. That's why the people who make Wish-Bone and Hidden Valley Ranch do so well.

shu said...

Shucks.. In 1960 at Nathaniel H. Narbonne H.S., Harbor City, CA, there was a fruit vending machine near the embussing area. I often bought a piece of fruit to eat while waiting for the bus after school.

I also remember getting some strange looks from a teacher as I sat on a low wall one afternoon peeling an orange with my pocket knife. I thought every kid carried a pocket knife.

ricpic said...

All the puritanical prohibitionists have mutated into nutritionists.

Coketown said...

What kid wants to snack on fresh vegetables? Losers, that's who. Everyone else will bring soda and chips from home when their sugary sustenance is taken away. But then, when I was in elementary school everyone used the vending machines, but very few people were fat. Have you seen elementary schools today? Fat farms! Little porkers waddling around everywhere. The vending machines are blameless; it's the parents who console their children with whole bags of chips and bottles of E-Z Cheeze after school that are responsible.

Let's wait until "unhealthy" snacks are taken entirely out of schools and see what little effect it has on childhood obesity.

Joe said...

What kids like baked Doritos? None that I know of.

Dave said...

I bought an apple out of a refrigerated vending machine almost every day when I was in high school in the early ‘70s. It was located right next to the cafeteria. The choice was Red Delicious or Golden Delicious. They were large, crisp and relatively sweet. Not once in three years did I get an apple that was damaged or rotten. I wasn’t the only student buying apples since the kitchen staff replenished it at least twice a week. And this high school was not some anomalous vegetarian hippy co-op day school. It was a relatively large (1800 students grades 10 – 12) affluent West Coast suburban school. There was NO pressure to eat or avoid eating anything in particular. I was not unusual. I carefully balanced my apple with hot dogs, burgers, pizza and milkshakes which were available in the cafeteria. I avoided the subsidized school lunches like the plague.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It was a relatively large (1800 students grades 10 – 12) affluent West Coast suburban school.

Well. Goodie for you.

What works in your school may not be effective in an inner city poor neighborhood school.

One size does NOT fit all.

prairie wind said...

When I was in high school, late 70s, we had a ten-minute 'break' in the schedule, mid-morning. Students hit the break room where they bought a snack. The most popular purchase was a can of Mountain Dew, a maple stick (like a long john), and a bag of Doritos.

While I like the idea of a fruit stand near the school, I don't see that happening. Not when parents aren't even allowed to send home-baked goodies to school for classroom treats. Unwrapped fruit would never fly.

Patrick said...

An Apple from Washington St is not that healthy for you. It's been genetically altered to look big and red, be resistant to bugs and disease, and grown under less than natural conditions. It tastes awful compared to a natural apple, but looks more appealing to the naked eye. Such is the state of mass food production as symbolized by a vending machine

Patrick said...

If you were to travel to the poorest part of Peru you would find that a basic potato there or a chicken dish tastes fabulous and makes American food seem like an industrial paste fit only for covering drywall.

American have been educated to have great illusions about the quality of their mass produced foods. A theory would be that a lot of the emerging industrial diseases are connected to a weak food supply.

Dave said...

Re: Patrick

I agree with you. I live in Washington state and don't buy the Delicious apples. The ones I was referring to were consumed forty years ago and came from Hood River, OR. Things are, sadly, very different now than they were then in terms of quality.

Dustin said...

Those tray lunches are disgusting.

Doritos are probably better.

And if the kid is exercising, that kind of diet is perfectly healthy. Lots of carbs are good if you're actually burning fuel.

Every teacher and administrator should be required to dine via the tray lunches. Every parent should get a taste at least once a semester, during the school's open house.

The school up the road from me has gravy every single day. And almost always fried grade d meat or pizza pop tart thingies.

Let's fix it. I would suggest something fundamentally affordable and healthy. Like two boiled eggs and a large bowl of steamed rice, with a piece of fruit and a serving of canned veggies. Keep it extremely simple and you can make things healthy and affordable.

Kids want something tastier, then make them bring it with them.

Parents don't like this, them let them provide their kids with whatever they want. I ate an extra serving of whatever was for dinner last night, 85% of my public school career.

Dave said...

Re: DBQ

Unusual for you – you snark about a point I didn’t make. I agree with you that “One size does NOT fit all.” I didn’t advocate a top down approach. I used my own anecdotal experience to make the point that fruit vending machines aren’t necessarily bad ideas. Nothing about making kids eat anything in particular. In fact, I think I said, “There was NO pressure to eat or avoid eating anything in particular,” and yet some students still chose to eat vending machine apples. Most of the students? Of course not. Really, what difference does it make? The public schools I attended and those my kids attended significantly over-estimated their influence on the students in most things. Most kids don’t look to teachers or school administrators for dietary guidance. Those that do, tend to be the overly earnest types who end up as teachers themselves because, apparently, there’s no greater feeling than spending a lifetime telling others how to live. And so the cycle continues with a new generation of "educators" demanding more funding to solve another social issue.

E.M. Davis said...

When I was in high school, there were no vending machines. You either brought your food, or ate the lunchroom slop.

Oh how I miss my elementary school lunchroom slop. I was too young and stupid to know it then, but that homemade spaghetti and giant rolls were so delicious. Salad with homemade Italian dressing.

Hamburg gravy over whipped potatoes!

We had older women making food in an actual kitchen.

What my son is offered at school these days is pitiful in comparison.

prairie wind said...

Let's fix it.

Yes, let's. Let's cut out hot lunch altogether and let kids bring their lunch and eat breakfast at home. Perhaps if we expect parents to do that, they will.

The big seller for our hot lunch was chili and cinnamon rolls. Though they were paired just as consistently, pizza and mashed potatoes didn't take off quite the same way.

Shanna said...

Like two boiled eggs and a large bowl of steamed rice, with a piece of fruit and a serving of canned veggies.

That sounds really gross together. Boiled eggs and rice?

When I was in elementary school it was very small and we didn’t have a cafeteria, so we brought everything from home (but we did have a microwave). In jr high/high school we had a cafeteria, but the only thing I ate with any regularity were the rolls. Yeast rolls, fresh baked, with butter. 15cents a piece. They were heaven!

We did have vending machines, but you had to sneak into the teachers lounge to get cokes, everything else was pepsi and thus undrinkable to me.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Unusual for you – you snark about a point I didn’t make. I agree with you that “One size does NOT fit all.

I wasn't trying to snark at you. But pointing out that what works in a suburban affluent school (sounds like you and I went to high school in similar California area and time frame) would be a flop in an inner city poor community.

We also had vending machines. I don't think our high school had an actual cafeteria. We mostly ate outside sitting on benches in the quads.

Unfortunately, with our top down government controls everything mindset, the one size fits all method is what we seem to be getting. This is never going to work.

In addition, the obesity problem, assuming there really is one, is not universal to all areas. Suburban schools with higher income families who also stress nutrition at home are not subject to the obesity levels as inner city or poorer neighborhoods where the food at home is not home cooked and is highly loaded with sugar, carbs and fats.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Patrick -- I've spent a LOT of time in rural Peru and will agree with you in general about the spuds.

Bolivian potatoes are even better, plus they have two other common tubers, oca (an oxalis root with a delightful tart-buttery flavor) and ulluco (small, round potato-like tuber, but from a completely different genus.

Must, however, disagree about Peruvian chicken. Nearly every one that ran, er, a-fowl of me was thin, tough, stringy, and likely to be cast aside by any self-respecting fox.

The cuyes (guinea pigs) one the other hand were universally fantastic. Usually they live under the kitchen counter and get all the vegetable scraps, along with occasional handsful of barley.

Gutted, cased out like a glove, and gently boiled whole they were always a delight.

The only real meat on 'em was the haunches and the backstrap, so basically you'd grab 'em by the head and eat 'em like a drumstick: sweet, nutty, and tender.

The remainder would go back into the broth, which tomorrow would be full of potatoes, veggies, and quinoa.

The only thing most rural Peruvians did with their chickens was boil them into a broth and toss the entire carcase outside for the dogs to fight over.

gregq said...

Wow, just what I want, to eat something that's been sitting, unbagged, in a vending machine. Yeah, THAT sure is "healthy".

JAL said...

We had an apple machine in the lobby of our gym in 1962.

That's right -- 50 years ago.

The machine was refrigerated. The apples were good.

We had a very active after school sports program at the time, and that's one way the kids could grab something before the bus or ride home. I think I even bought one or two.

I'm beginning to think I am going to sound like Carol_Herman if I keep typing.

Dave said...

Re: DBQ

High school in suburban Portland. I went to college in southern California and lived there again in the mid-80s. The 12 months of nice weather can really grow on you, particularly after living with the Northwest’s gray and drizzle.

I understand the urban/suburban issue. I think you’re correct about that. Part of the problem is dietary tradition. Less affluent people used to work primarily in more labor intensive industries. Their diets were typically carb intensive. Not only were carbs cheaper but they actually needed the carbs for fuel. There are fewer people anywhere in America doing manual labor for a living than there were even forty years ago. But diets don’t necessarily change that dramatically from generation to generation. I think lifestyles have changed a lot (i.e. more sedentary), but diets not so much. And frankly, what tastes better than carbs with a side of fat. Oh yeah, and sugar.

Franklin said...

Once we have a TRUE PROGRESSIVE in the White House instead of this moderate-Republican, Obama we'll be able to FORCE the children to eat fruit. And then to labor gloriously in the geothermal and solar plants!

SunnyJ said...

Seriously, this whole discussion is why we have "eating disorders". Food is nothing but fuel. It is not a reward. It is not a punishment. 90% of humans will gravitate to eat what meets their own needs if left to choose. The other 10% may have medical disorders that complicate those choices and will need guidance.

All young humans go through phases of eating...relax, how many adults do you know that will only eat one thing? That will change on it's own.

Do not make food into a control issue. You will lose. Kids know that you cannot make them swallow, at least they should know it if you've raised them to just say "no" to drugs or alcohol. Let them learn that ability to control what goes into them by starting with nixing green beans. Seriously, it will be ok.

Food is not a control mechanism...it is fuel. Nothing more or less.

Dustin said...

"That sounds really gross together. Boiled eggs and rice? "

I am pretty unusual in my tolerance for food and didn't realize it would come across as gross.

Honestly, I would enjoy a lunch like that. And it's incredibly nutritious and cheap.

I think if folks prefer something else, they should just go ahead and bring it. We're talking about a government subsidy that is both more expensive and less effective than my solution.

Eggs are nature's multivitamin. Rice is a terrific way to get energy and fiber and a bit of protein. Fruit and veg can be seasonal and whatever is cheap.

I think those who find this gross could learn to enjoy it. This is a normal way for a human being to feed himself, outside Western hyperprocessed culture.

Dustin said...

btw, I don't actually boil my hard boiled eggs. I bake them at the lowest temp my oven can go, for about an hour, with a little dill or onion powder or something.

It's worth trying for those who have an interest in nutrition on the cheap.

Shanna said...

This is a normal way for a human being to feed himself, outside Western hyperprocessed culture.

I've got no problem with either of those items on their own, but the combination together just doesn't work for me. Why not beans, which are equally cheap and together with rice create a complete protein and have the benefit of actually tasting good?

Peter said...

"So how do they put their mandated calorie, sugar, sodium, etc. lists on apples?"

By putting it in a clear wrapper with some text on it that applies to the average apple.

It's not impossible to put perishable foods in a vending machine- after all, some dispense sandwiches.


But I don't think I'd buy one unless I could see a date clearly printed on the product's wrapper.

Dustin said...

"Why not beans, which are equally cheap and together with rice create a complete protein and have the benefit of actually tasting good?"

I think eggs taste good, but hey, I have no problem with beans. I had them in mind when I was talking about canned veggies.

Eggs are superior to beans, but the school doesn't have to give kids 100% of their nutrition at lunch.

My point is simply that there are inexpensive and simple foods that will give kids a healthier lunch than the slop they get now, but the problem is many will prefer some other food, and I think those folks should bring their own food.

The argument works just as well with beans, though.

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