CHI Health St. Francis Introduces Healthier Vending Machines
May 18, 2017
When you think of vending machines, you don’t typically think of healthy snacks. Central District Health Department (CDHD) and CHI Health St. Francis are changing the expectation with the introduction of award-level healthy vending machines for visitors and employees.
Over the past year, CDHD and CHI Health St. Francis have worked closely with VVS Canteen Vending to provide healthier options for eight snack machines and 15 beverage machines. New signage has been installed to prompt visitors and employees to choose a healthy choice.
Vending machine visitors are encouraged to “Choose Healthy Here” by selecting options with less fat, less sugar, less sodium, fewer calories and more nutritional value. To be considered an award level vending machine, machines must contain a minimum of 30 percent healthy food items or 55 percent healthy beverage items. Six machines, one snack machine, and five beverage machines, currently meet this requirement at St. Francis. Visitors and employees can identify these machines by looking for "Choose Healthy Here" signs.
Healthier snack options are also identified in the machines with green leaf stickers. Visitors are especially encouraged to look for food items providing a serving of fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. In beverage machines, visitors are encouraged to look for plain water or 100 percent juice.
"St. Francis has worked with the Health Department to try and provide visitors and customers with a healthier food option when getting food out of the vending machine," St. Francis dietitian Ashli Hoos said. "Vending machines are usually full of easy grab-and-go items that are high-fat and offer little nutrition value. When a vending machine is your only food option, it’s often very hard to find a healthy option. We wanted to try and provide some healthier choices when visitors are selecting food from the vending machine."
St. Francis has set a positive standard for vending machines at worksites. CDHD encourages other employers in the area to institute similar requirements for their employees and visitors to enjoy healthy options. Funding for this program and signage was provided by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
To learn more about healthy vending initiatives and opportunities for other worksites, contact Amy Roberts, Health Educator, at Central District Health Department by calling (308) 385-5175 ext. 101.