U.S. Military Following School Snacking Guidelines

At this year’s annual Association of the U.S. Army conference one of the key topics discussed was vending machines. Well…kind of anyway.
As the Defense Department finalizes their Healthy Base Initiative which seeks to improve nutritional choices, increase physical activity, reduce obesity and decrease tobacco use on U.S. military bases, military officials are looking to make healthier food options more readily available to service members and their families.
Because revising long standing contacts with popular military base fast food restaurants (i.e. Burger King and KFC) could take years, military officials are looking for quick short term fixes including:
• Labeling menus with calorie content at restaurants on base
• Changing vending machines to meet NAMA’s (the National Automatic Merchandising Association) Fit Pick and Fit Pick Select standards
Since 2005, FitPick has been NAMA’s signature initiative that identifies better for your products available form vending and micro market channels. Easy to use, the most recent FitPick standards are as follows:

fit pick tableFitPick Select, is a component of FitPick that is specifically designed to help vending operators in Dallas Fort Worth and throughout the country meet strict school guidelines and achieve and maintain successful operations in places of education. Here are the most recent FitPick Select standards:

fitpick table 2In addition to the above nutrient standards, any food sold in schools must meet at least one of the following four criteria:
1. Be a “whole grain-rich” grain product;
2. Have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, or a protein food;
3. Be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup fruit and / or vegetable;
4. Contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of a nutrient of one of the nutrients of public health concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dietary fiber).*
5. **On July 1, 2016, snack items must contain ≤200mg sodium per item

The Defense Department will be looking at all of the above criteria to see if these standards are strict enough or if an adaption to the FitPick and/or FitPick select programs will be necessary. In her presentation at the conference, Capt. Kimberly Elenberg, Director of U.S. Public Health Service’s Medical Readiness and Training Program, stated what schools and counties working on healthy programs already know, “what we have to balance is a business model that works as well as aligning that we our priorities as a service.”
If you are looking for a Dallas Fort Wort vendor for your school, county/city building, or military base call Vend Pro today at (972) 948-3431. As members of NAMA we are very familiar with the FitPick and FitPick Select standards and can help create a vending menu that is healthy, delicious and can still help drive revenue for your program.

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