Living a healthy lifestyle in college can be difficult. Many of us rush from one activity to the next and find little time for healthy eating habits. Eating properly requires money and time, both of which are difficult to secure on a daily basis.
That being said, there are those who make an effort to eat well. Fifteen percent of Baylor undergraduates are currently enrolled in Health and Human Sciences courses, and the student population has a Vegetarian Club, the Baylor Student Nutrition Association and numerous athletic clubs. This shows a clear interest in well-being, as students are motivated enough to put extra time into activities that encourage fitness and health. This portion of the student body also includes those who have food allergies and are required to find a healthier lifestyle.
Baylor’s campus provides few healthy options. While Freshii is located in the Bill Daniel Student Center and serves food that is edible for vegetarian and vegan students, it is one of the priciest food vendors on campus. A way to aid these students and gain interest from others would be to install healthy vending machines around campus.
Currently, there are snack and drink vending machines in most buildings around campus. There are a few newer machines in the upper levels of Moody that claim to be healthy, but many of the snacks included are processed and hold little nutritional value, even though they have a smaller calorie count than those in the ‘less healthy’ machines.
There are multiple companies that have created fruit vending machines. These are similar to refrigerators and hold specially wrapped food that is able to remain on the shelves for longer without losing freshness. This makes the vending machines less likely to have large amounts of food waste.
One company in particular, Fresh Del Monte, provides a mix of products including bananas, grapes, cut pineapple, apple slices, baby carrots, celery and tomatoes. These products can be accompanied with light ranch or caramel dips, and the sizes of the packages can be selected individually as well. The company also can provide juices and sandwiches in their machines.
A machine like this would be easily personalized for the budget or tastes that the buyer might see fit. The vendor would be responsible for the installment and refilling of the machines.
If Baylor is skeptical of how well the food would sell, it could implement the new machines in smaller numbers and watch how they are received among the student body. Many vendors allow for individual purchases of fruit vending machines, but buying a larger number would be more economical in most cases.
While a fruit vending machine is ideal for healthy eating, a push towards other healthy options would be helpful for the campus if fruit machines were deemed too expensive in the near future. Replacing a few soda machines with fruit juices or having dried fruit added to the machines already on campus would make a big enough of a difference to be considered.
America is an overweight nation. Obesity is currently the second-largest preventable cause of death of Americans, as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 32.3 percent of those aged 20-39 being classified as overweight.
The decision to add a healthier on-the-go option for the students on campus would make a difference in the lives of those who make an effort to be healthy in an environment where it is easy to do otherwise. It could also be an encouragement for those who currently buy from less healthy vendors to change their lifestyle.