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New Healthy Standards May Remove Cranberry Juice From School Vending Machines

A proposed clean up of school vending machines to eliminate unhealthy and high sugar foods from the easy access of school aged children may be targeting some products that have health benefits. While a pop machine in a school hallway or cafeteria is generally agreed to be a bad choice for kids, what about the machines that have juices that need a bit of sweetener to be palatable and have health benefits that far outweigh the small sugar content?
Cranberry juice is one of those products that could be removed from the vending machines due to the sugar content. While the health benefits of cranberries is well known, it is also known they are a very tart berry and need some sweetener to be able to enjoy them. Cocktail blends and other juice blends that have sweetened cranberry juice included could very well be deemed unsuitable for school vending machines.
While it is understandable and even admirable to remove high fat, high calorie, low nutritional value products from a vending machine, the choices that need to be made should take the health benefits of a product into consideration before arbitrarily determining that if it contains sugar it is bad.
This has all begun with the USDA proposing new school menu guidelines to make school breakfasts and lunches more nutritious. This action is necessary to ensure a healthier life for many children who depend on the school for two of the three meals they eat daily.
The guidelines are expected to extend to the vending machine foods and pop machine offerings in school cafeterias and hallways. By providing healthy choices that are easy for kids to make the theory is they will make the right choices. Educating them as to what proper nutrition is is another step the school system needs to take.
While there are many products on the shelves that are marketed exclusively to kids, the package tells parents they are made with real fruit or natural ingredients when in reality they have very little actual fruit. These high sugar and chemical foods do need to be replaced in the school vending machine, with healthy alternatives.
Removing cranberry juice simply because of a small amount of sugar from the school vending machines does not make sense when you take the health benefits into account. A pop machine, or any of the other vending machines would not be there if the school did not make some money from them to supplement the budget that is cut continuously every year.