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  • Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS


    Souhegan High School Chef Manager, Jim McAden opens the healthy foods vending machine, Friday afternoon to better show its contents. The machine is so popular that Chef McAden and School Nutrition Director, Danielle Collins say that it needs to be restocked twice a day. It's offering fresh fruit, vegetables and hummus and sandwich meals that come with a carton of milk for $3.25.
  • Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS


    A yogurt parfait is seen within the new healthy vending machine at Souhegan High School, Friday afternoon. The machine is so popular that it needs to be refilled twice a day with this particular item selling out every time.
  • Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS


    The healthy foods vending machine at Souhegan High School is seen in a line of other vending machines including a drink machine and another food machine that carries the typical fare including potato chips.
  • Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS


    The new healthy foods vending machine sits in a line along with a drink machine at Souhegan High School, Friday afternoon. The machine is so popular that the school's Chef Manager, Jim McAden and School Nutrition Director, Danielle Collins say that it needs to be restocked twice a day. It's offering fresh fruit, vegetables and hummus and sandwich meals that come with a carton of milk for $3.25.
Saturday, April 7, 2012

Souhegan High School unveils new healthy vending machines

AMHERST – Homemade food from a vending machine? That’s not a contradiction at Souhegan High School, where the Nutrition Department recently installed a refrigerated vending machine that distributes meals and snacks using student lunch accounts.

The new setup provides healthy food options all day and evening in the school’s annex and can provide a lunch in less than 20 seconds.

“We are the first in the state to have this state of the art vending machine that allows students to use their school meal accounts for the purchase of either meals or refrigerated healthy snacks,” said Danielle Collins, SAU 39 school nutrition director, in a press release.

All the vending foods are homemade each day by the school staff, and the machine is filled with items like fresh whole fruit, salads and sandwich meals, yogurt parfaits made with homemade granola and homemade hummus with celery sticks, carrot sticks and cucumbers.

Collins said they also will offer California rolls and custom sandwiches made on pretzel rolls and other unusual breads and will alternate options based on staff and student suggestions.

She said the high-speed lunches also might alleviate cafeteria traffic on the school’s busy double-block days.

Students who receive free and reduced lunch can use the machine for the purchase of meals during the lunch period because of technology allowing it to operate just like a serving line with complete anonymity.

The press release about the new vending machines included testimonials from staff and students.

“If I’m staying late and missed lunch, I now have healthy options,” student Erin Heaney said.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@cabinet.com. Also, follow Cleveland on Twitter (@Telegraph_Kathy)