Smarter Snacks through Smarter Vending in Ohio


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In 2010 Ohio became the first state in the country to turn the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Competitive Foods and Beverages Guidelines, which outline nutritional criteria for snacks and beverages sold in school, into law.

Cincinnati Public School District began to make their changes according to this law in 2010 by re-evaluating their vending machine contracts.

Jessica Shelly, Food Service Director, found vending machines all over campuses throughout the district. Many were not monitored well and there was nothing being done to keep track of the many different brands/types of machines placed throughout the district.

School leaders decided to wipe the slate clean, getting rid of all vending machines and putting out a new request for proposal for machines with timers and that could meet nutritional guidelines. The winning company implemented the machines and set them to only function after 4:30pm, long after the school day had ended.

By limiting snack food options, Shelly has been able to significantly ramp up participation in the school lunch program. “We made a la carte entrees the same price as the entire reimbursable meal so students quickly realized that it didn’t make sense to buy one item when you can have the same item with fruits, veggies, a trip to the salad bar and milk. It is all $2.  So now we have students taking more healthy foods because it is free and it has reduced the stigma around eating school lunch for everyone.”

To see Shelly’s top tips for success and read more about this story from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, visit their website here!

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of Latino parents support public funding for afterschool programs

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