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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Tuck machines offer kids their five a day

SCHOOLCHILDREN are ditching crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks in favour of healthier alternatives thanks to a pioneering set of pupils.

Cartmel Priory C of E School has installed two vending machines filled with fruits, vegetables and wholesome foods in a bid to encourage its pupils to abandon unhealthy snack fixes.

The school is one of 30 in the country taking part in the British Heart Foundation’s Food4Thought campaign by piloting the vending machines.

It was hand picked by the charity due to its work on promoting diet and nutrition to pupils, which includes the pupil-led School Nutrition Advice Committee.

Children from the group came up with the design for the vending machines and worked with the school’s catering manager, Diane Turner, to decide on what should be placed in it.

Emily Barker, 12, a Year Seven pupil and SNAC member, said: “We learn about the importance of eating fruit and vegetables and healthy food, but it’s often easier and quicker to grab a bag of crisps and bar of chocolate.

“With this new vending machine we will only be able to get healthy snacks and drinks so it will help us to eat the right foods during the day and make it easier for us to put what we learn in the classroom into practice. It’s been great fun getting involved in designing the machines and choosing the items to go inside and hopefully the rest of the school will enjoy using it.”

Pupils in the 30 selected schools will play a key role in deciding how the vending machines are run, with one school winning a prize at the end of the school year.

Gemma Brown, PSHE co-ordinator at Cartmel Priory C of E School, said: “We’re delighted to pilot the healthy vending machine. We think it’s a great idea and are confident the pupils will embrace it and enhance their daily school diet. We really hope it will have a positive impact on all of our students and are really grateful to the BHF for giving us this opportunity. We have done a lot of work on diet and healthy eating since nutritional standards came in for schools a few years ago.

“It’s already very popular. We’re only a small village and you see some of the pupils queuing outside the local shop, but there are more and more who are grabbing something from the vending machines instead, especially those who stay for after-school clubs.”

BHF senior dietician Victoria Taylor said: “Our recent survey found nearly one in three secondary school kids in the North West indulge in sweets, chocolate and crisps more than three times a day. We hope the healthy vending machines will encourage kids to make the right food choices and improve their health now and in the future.”

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