Pasco County Schools starts healthy vending program

Feb. 22—Pasco County Schools has added 60 new vending machines that offer only healthy snacks to its secondary campuses.

The machines, which were purchased with grant money from the Dairy Council of Florida, offer fresh fruit and vegetables, low-fat and whole-grain chips, yogurt, cheese sticks and sandwiches. All snacks available in the machines meet guidelines set by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Each middle and high school received one refrigerated and one non-refrigerated machine.

Rich Kurtz, director of food and nutrition services for the district, said the new machines are the district’s next step in meeting the district’s wellness committee policy. “The need to be proactive on issues related to the health of our students drives us to pursue innovative approaches that bring students what they enjoy while keeping the selection to a set of health-promoting choices. Our district’s long-range goal is for students to learn to make healthy choices for a lifetime of wellness.”

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
health food medicine stethoscope

For the last two years, Chris Studtmann has jockeyed between Northwestern University’s residential dining halls and athletic training tables in his role of executive chef, trying to meet the health and food preferences of both sides. Now, his team is taking best practices developed for the sports teams to the 20,000-plus student population, working with dietitians from the school’s contract company to better sync healthy menu choices with lifestyle needs.

Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report shows younger consumers are especially tuned in to functional foods that...

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

Ideas and Innovation
reusable coffee cup thermos

We were inspired by a book titled “Influence” to start a sustainable cup program called My Cup. All 15,000 new students receive a reusable cup with their name on it, which they can use at the dining halls. Personalizing helps them invest in the program and actually use it.

Menu Development
quinoa bowl

In a time of growing health consciousness, it might not be enough anymore for food to be merely filling. According to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , diners are looking for food with a function, such as those with high protein content, immunity-boosting properties, antioxidants, probiotics and more. The data suggests 63% of consumers see these foods as healthier than those without any specific nutritional function—and would be more likely to buy them.

But are those stated preferences translating on an operational level? There, the answer is less clear. Baby...

FSD Resources