A healthy change
Pop and candy used to be the beverage and snacks of choice for students gathered in the commons area during the school day at Rugby Jr.-Sr. High.
Today, those are rarely seen, replaced with water, sports drinks and snacks with less fat content and sugar.
“It’s definitely different from years past,’ noted David Zwingel, Jr.-Sr. High principal.
This change to more healthy eating is by no accident.
School officials a few years ago decided to replace the junk food in the school’s vending machines with food and drinks that aligned more closely with a policy of promoting healthy food choices.
The change was met with initial disappointment by students, but over time they have accepted it.
“Actually, the vending sales for snacks are a little higher now,’ Zwingel admits.
Candy bars and chips were replaced with such items as granola bars, Pop Tarts and pretzels, all snacks that cannot have more than 35 percent fat.
Senior Josh Stutrud said Pop Tarts are the favorite among students. “It’s not as sweet and it’s a breakfast food,’ he said.
Soda was replaced with water, sports drinks and juices, and while sales are down, it’s not a huge drop.
A decline in vending sales was a concern when the change to more healthy foods and drinks was proposed. The school relied on the proceeds from the vending sales to pay for planner calendars for the students and lyceums and other activities. However, the change hasn’t been too significant to the bottom line.
Perhaps the best evidence the change to more healthy eating is rubbing off on students is that fact fewer students are choosing to bring pop and junk food to school, which is still permitted.
“Some still do, but a lot of the students are used to the (selections now available) and will get items here,’ said senior Cortney Stewart.
Sports have also contributed in students’ decision making to pick snacks and beverages. “Many don’t drink pop during the sport seasons,’ said senior Alex McClintock. “They choose Powerade (and other sports drinks) instead.”
Of course, Rugby is not alone as many schools across the state have implemented similar policies to ditch candy and pop for healthier alternatives in their vending machines.
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