When people think of school lunch they probably envision children lined up single file, plastic trays in hand, awaiting scoops or spoonfuls of something moderately hot and not very healthful. Thankfully these days school administrators and parents are putting new options in place many of which include the use of food vendors in school.
More Choice for Students
School budgets don't always allow for the kind of food selection that parents want for their children. For example, whole wheat bread can cost a few cents more per slice than white bread. This might not seem like a much to parents, but when that difference is multiplied times the number of students in one school, it could make a large difference in the overall food budget. Outside vendors selling nutritious meals and snacks can provide more healthful alternatives the school can't afford.
Students have a limited amount of time during their lunch break. When there is only one source of food at a school, students who don't bring a lunch must wait in a line to get their food. Separate vendors or machines containing healthy food and beverages located in other parts of the dining area will attract students and cause a decrease in the number of students waiting in one long line to get food from the school cafeteria.
When school officials allow vending machines filled with healthy foods and beverages on their campuses they have the potential to earn money for the school. Some health food vending companies return as much as 15 percent of the profits to the school where the machine is located.
Having food vendors in place in the form of a vending machine, kiosk or mini-farmers market, provides an opportunity to educate students about making healthy choices. When teachers present lessons about the food pyramid, vitamins and minerals, food production and physical fitness, they can point to the options within the school for examples and opportunities for students to practice what they have learned.
Aline Lindemann is a health, food and travel writer. She has also worked as a social worker, preschool teacher and art educator. Lindemann holds a Master of Liberal Studies in culture, health and creative nonfiction writing from Arizona State University.