Vending vendetta: How healthy are snacks and drinks on campus?

Lizzie Duke, Reporter

Once a week, I walk to the far end of the College Center to purchase a bag of Lay’s potato chips and a bottle of Cherry Coke from one of the many vending machines on campus.

I’ve never stopped to read the nutrition facts on the chip bag or Coke bottle. Actually, I’ve religiously avoided reading them. I had a feeling that looking at the 60 grams of sugar and 205 milligrams of sodium in the two combined would deter me from this otherwise seemingly innocuous snack.

I’ve recently heard a few complaints about the nutritional quality of the vending machine options—from people who actually read the nutrition labels.

Students say they want healthier options in the college’s vending machines. I know I’d feel less guilty about my occasional purchase if when I put in a dollar I received, instead of a bag of Type 2 diabetes, a fruit or vegetable. But, that’s not why I go to a vending machine.

I’d like to think I’d choose healthier options if they were offered, but when it comes down to it, I’d almost always pick up a bag of chips rather than an apple, especially if the apple were a dollar more. I could complain about the negative health benefits of vending machine options but still spend $1 on a bag of half air and partially hydrogenated oils or $1.60 on a bottle of sugar, rather than going to the cafeteria to buy a healthier option.

The good news is that the vending machines help students and staff stay healthier, not by filling the corkscrew mechanics with fruits and veggies, but by rejecting our money. Think of all the calories burned when the vending machine rejects the wrinkled dollar bill that I smoothed repeatedly against the corner of the machine, ironing out the creases, turning it over and trying again, only for it to be spit back out.

Desperate for a bag of chips, I’d run across campus to the next vending machine only to be rejected again, then run to a third machine to experience the rejection once more over and over again.

Just like Groundhog Day, no matter what I do, I’m doomed to failure. Without changing any of the foods in the machines, the machines are offsetting the high-calorie foods with a high-calorie workout.

People who want healthier options simply haven’t had enough bad experiences with vending machines, shaking it with all their might when it fails to supply their request, banging against the plastic front as their choice dangles, unwilling to let go and fall into their grasp.

So, to think the options in Pierce’s vending machines should be healthier, is to ignore the workout obtained while struggling for a snack.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

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Vending vendetta: How healthy are snacks and drinks on campus?

by Lizzie Duke time to read: 2 min
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