The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Don’t rely on vending, nurse says

By Kelli henderson/reporter

Students may not have time to worry about the health content or prices of vending machine products, but they can find ways to prevent unhealthy snacking or at least make better choices.The brightly lit machines in every building sell an assortment of snacks in colorful wrapping to grab students’ attention. Students line up at the machines before and after class to grab a bite or beverage.“It’s easy, and it’s there, right next to class,” said NE students Allison Griffeth and Amber Baker. “It doesn’t take as much time.”

The snacks may be scrumptious, but, unfortunately, the prices are not. Griffeth said  now that the prices have gone up, she can expect to spend $5 or more a week.

SE student Eric Londoño said he buys from the vending machine daily, spending close to $5 a day.

“I usually like to buy Sierra Mist and fruit snacks. The Sierra Mist and the fruit snacks are easy to eat when in a rush … with only a few minutes to spare,” he said. “I probably spend close to $20 a week on food and drinks from vending machines.”

The vending machines are simple and easy, but the snacks students can choose are not that simple. By tweaking just a few of the normal choices and turning to healthier alternatives, students can save not only their wallets but also their waistlines.

Marilyn Lambert, a registered nurse who works with NE health services, said staying away from vending machines and venturing to brown bags or the cafeteria are better choices.

“Bringing your lunch or eating in the cafeteria is thrifty,” she said. “You [need to] get something with good quality protein and with fruits and vegetables. It’s very important.”

NE student Christopher Mooney said he rarely, if ever, buys from the campus machines. He said he eats a well-balanced breakfast that holds him over for the majority of the day, so he doesn’t have to think about buying from the machines.

“It’s cheaper to buy the food at home and bring it,” he said. “They have mainly unhealthy snacks here, and I already have a problem with my weight. I just don’t need the chips.”

Education Training Research Associates’ Five Ways to Snack Healthy said snacking is helpful with keeping energy up, eating fewer meals throughout the day and maintaining weight. Students need to find healthier alternatives in the vending machines. They can look for lower-fat versions of favorite snacks, but if that is not available, they can go for pretzels, dried fruit or raisins, nuts and diet sodas, the article said.

“I usually bring my lunch. I don’t like spending that much money,” said NE student Alex Harnack. “Bringing your lunch is a lot cheaper because you go to the vending machines and spend $2-$3. If you bring your own lunch, it could be less than $2 depending on what you bring.”

If students are having difficulty finding healthy alternatives, Lambert said that Student Health 101 is a great online interactive magazine located from a link on the Health and Fitness page of the TCC website. The magazine has good ideas on meal plans and can help guide students toward healthier variations, she said.

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