Family makes vending machines healthier

LAKE OSWEGO, Oregon (KGW) – If you ever find yourself feeding money into a vending machine because you missed lunch, you know how hard it can be to find a healthy snack.

A Lake Oswego couple wants to solve that dilemma by replacing unhealthy choices with things like apples and cheese.

I got tired of saying, No you can’t have that and I thought, wouldn’t it be great if I actually could say, Yes, if there were apples, cheese and nuts, said Heidi Adler.

Think of the stuff you find at Whole Foods or New Seasons or Zupans and we’re like, if we had that with us always, wouldn’t that be a nice option, said Scott Adler.

The Adler’s machines have made it into schools in Tualatin, Gresham, Hillsboro and Forest Grove.

One thing that started the ball rolling here in Forest Grove is that they wanted milk, Scott recalled.

They have also kept their prices reasonable, which draws customers. Most snacks cost just $1 and drinks $1.50.

Their taste-testers and sons Max and Merik didn t seem to mind the limited snack choices, either.

My parents bring home food and ask us to taste it. If we like it, they put it in. If we don t like it, they don’t, Max said.

Heidi also used her background as a certified nutritionist and marathoner to create the snack plan.

We get a lot of athletic coaches that are just thrilled [about the new vending machine options] because their kids are coming to practice all hyped up on Mt Dew or M & M’s and crashing half way through, she said.

The Adlers also share profits with schools where they have machines. In Forest Grove for instance, that averages about $1,000 a month.

The key is, when we come into a school and are the only option for snack food, Scott said.

Scott left the corporate world of finance three years ago to start the family business. Like the food in his machines, that choice has been a healthy one.

Why not do something you like and provide something that’s needed, he said.

We wanted something our kids could be involved with, so they could be proud of what their parents do, Heidi added. And kids are not only involved, they seem to enjoy it. The most popular kids snack items in the vending machines have been cheese sticks, nuts and sunflower seeds.

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