On-the-go students resort to vending machines

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Students raid the SWKT vending machine room in this time-lapsed photo on Feb. 11, 2016. (Natalie Stoker)

Maintaining a healthy diet on a tight budget is a common struggle for most students. Complicating the matter is the presence of BYU’s on-campus vending machines, which offer a variety of cheap snacks such as drinks, chips, apples, sandwiches, candy, frozen foods, vegetables, yogurts and ice cream, among others.

There are more than 45 locations with vending machines available to students on campus according to the BYU app vending services feature. This feature is one of the most used aspects of the app. It maps out the location of each vending machine on campus and provides product information.

Nutrition and dietetics professor Susan Fullmer said the best way for students to avoid a trip to the vending machine is to take time to plan menus for the week and go grocery shopping.

“We have less willpower to make a healthy choice when we are really hungry, but if you have planned ahead, you’re more likely to make a healthy choice,” Fullmer said.

Ana Johnson, a junior studying pre-management, said the reason she ends up at the vending machine is because she is in a hurry and needs something quick and easy.

“Sometimes I forget to plan lunch or I end up on campus longer than planned,” Johnson said.

Meal planning can be intimidating to some students according to Megan Kennedy, a nutrition and wellness specialist at BYU Women’s Services & Resources. She said meal plans don’t need to be complicated if students just break it down.

“Everyone is a little bit different, and choosing your meal plan can be personalized,” Kennedy said. “There are healthy options, it’s about finding a way to balance your diet.”

Some students like Brooke Lavery, a junior studying athletic training, don’t want to eat on campus because not only is it unhealthy, but because it’s expensive too. Lavery said she has one key to success when it comes to meal planning.

“When I pack my meals and snacks, I do it the night before because it’s more efficient,” Lavery said.

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