To Eat or Not to Eat From Vending Machine?

Students share their opinions on Kean's vending machine options.

Essentials > To Eat or Not to Eat From Vending Machine?
To Eat or Not to Eat From Vending Machine?
Having a discussion on the content of Kean's vending machines.
Jean Gardere

Students who have been on campus long enough may have noticed them. There are a few in the Miron Student Center, Nancy Thompson Library, Hennings Hall and other buildings across campus. What are they? Vending machines, of course.

Vending machines offer quick and cheap food options for students on the go. Feeling a little peckish, but can’t wait for that Cougar Den or Smashburger order to go through? Vending machines are the ideal choice in situations like this.

“I use the vending machines a least two times a day,” said Bella Barlett, a freshman studying psychology. With classes from roughly from 11 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Barlett can use the pick-me-up.

Out of all the items offered by the vending machines, Barlett prefers two; Honeybuns and Grandma Vanilla Cookies. These two choices are “usually more filling…if you eat one of them then you don’t want anything else.”

Kira Zimbalist, a freshman studying technical theater, loves Skittles becuase they are “cool.” Although she loves the variety of chocolate options in the machines, Zimbalist wishes they would offer more apples.

“[Vending machines] could offer food that’s higher in protein because you’re not supposed to eat just Skittles and chocolate," said Zimbalist.

While vending machines offer a variety of snacks, a majority of them lack nutritional value. Rhiannon Carle, a sophomore studying advertising, also wished that Kean could include healthier options.

“There’s a lot of healthy snack options out there rather than offering nine different flavors of the same chip,” said Carle. 

Carle likes to eat snacks that are lighter, and not packed with so much sugar. She felt that eating foods that were “super” high in sugar would make her more tired.

“If I'm in class or if I’m…playing a sport, I kind of need all the energy I can get,” said Carle. She thinks that accessibility to more protein-rich foods would be helpful for her and others.

In addition to healthier choices, students felt it would be nice to have options that meet their dietary needs. Cavin Matthews, a sophomore studying business management, happens to have a gluten allergy.

“There’s only two things I can eat in [the vending machines] because I'm gluten-free….there’s not many options for me,” said Matthews.

Matthews also tends to avoid the vending machines because “it is mostly junk-food.” 

Freshman Theater Major Ren Mirenda, has a gluten allergy and is lactose intolerant. For her, gluten-free snacks from the vending machines often contain lactose. 

Mirenda felt that “there aren’t as many options that are conscious towards allergies.” Like Carle and others, Mirenda would be open to healthier options for people with dietary constraints. 

Vending machines offer a quick and convenient snack or drink, but the options could be better from a health perspective. Especially when it comes to keeping Kean Cougars healthy and sharp for the challenges ahead.