Federal guidelines to pull plug on sugary treats in school - FOX Carolina 21

Federal guidelines to pull plug on sugary treats in school vending machines

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A quick trip to a vending machine could mean a choice of high-calorie convenient cakes and cookies or healthy treats.

"Creating healthy habits, I think, is the key," Lindsey Bayne said.

She's a mother two and tries to make sure her both her children eat healthy. So, she packs lunch for her 5-year-old daughter, Avery.

"Maybe like a turkey sandwich, wheat bread or some carrots, or she loves broccoli and ranch (dressing and) some grapes," Bayne said.

She remembers her options in the school cafeteria years ago.

"We ate this weird looking pepperoni pizza that was like false meat and probably false cheese, and I'm just glad that my kids aren't going to be eating that," Bayne said.

That's because now administrators with the Agriculture Department decided to put more limits on how much sugar, fat and sodium can be found in lunch lines and vending machines at schools.

"I think there's been a lot of research to show that good nutrition affects better academics," Stacie Bullock said.

Bullock is the clinical nutrition manager with Bon Secours Saint Francis Health System in Greenville.

"You should get a variety of fruits and vegetables with school lunches and with lunches at home," Bullock said.

The new federal guidelines mean high-calorie sports drinks and candy bars will be removed from school vending machines and cafeteria lines by next school year.

"It's multi-factorial. It's not just nutrition. It's exercise, too, and education," Bullock said.

She said Bon Secours Saint Francis also provides healthy options for employees and promotes grocery store tours, which allows families to get tips on which healthy foods to choose.

However, according to reports, some with the School Nutrition Association said even though healthier foods are better, it's also expensive for schools.

A spokesperson with Chartwells School Dining, a company that provides options for students in school lunch lines, said they're aware of the new guidelines. The spokesperson said the company already provides healthy options like lean meats, whole grains and low-fat cheeses for several Upstate school districts. 

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