Spare Change, Healthy Choices

A different kind of vending machine has made its way into nine Southern Nevada schools. Instead of soda, candy bars and potato chips, the new machines offer organic and healthful snacks, including wheat-free pretzels, soy milk, apple slices, carrot sticks, yogurt, baked potato chips, 100 percent fruit juice and smoothies. Prices range from $1 to $2.

With heart disease, diabetes and high cholesterol rising among kids, the machines—the brainchild of San Diego-based Fresh Healthy Vending—are a welcome step. At Las Vegas High School, the new snacks seem to be a hit. “The machine is restocked every week,” says Dan Triana, who manages the school’s vending machine program. “The prices are a bit higher, but the students really appreciate the healthier options.” The machines can also be found at Canyon Springs, Durango, Mojave and Sierra Vista high schools, the East and Northwest Career and Technical Academies, and Calvary Chapel Christian School. Rachel Savage, the company’s Las Vegas franchisee, hopes to add more sites.

“This project is still so new here,” she says. “We need to care more about what we’re giving our kids to eat.”