Loma Linda University Health has decided to practice what it preaches by swapping the candy bars and soda in its campus vending machines for whole grain-based foods and bottled waters.
The Seventh-day Adventist organization announced that it would spend the next few months loading new, healthier choices in the 30 vending machines at its eight professional schools and Loma Linda University Medical Center's six hospitals in southern California.
Loma Linda University Health, a global leader in education, research and clinical care, also will overhaul menus at its cafeterias to include healthier options.
“This will reinforce our commitment to wholeness and living longer through healthy lifestyle and eating habits,” said Susan D. Onuma, a spokeswoman for Loma Linda University Health.
Loma Linda University Health has long encouraged the Adventist ideals of a plant-based diet, regular exercise, rest and relaxation, and its researchers have conducted ground-breaking research, collectively called the Adventist Health Studies, that shows Adventists live 10 years longer because of their healthy lifestyles.
Onuma said the new vending machine food would include gluten-free selections and items with low-salt, low-calorie, and low-sugar content. A university statement said food would be flavorful and “often gourmet-like.”
A single vendor is supplying the food, and customers will not see any discernable price difference with the change, Onuma said.
“We are getting very competitive pricing on the items,” she said. “Should there be any price differences at all, it will be barely noticeable.”
The new vendor was chosen after a recent food fair where staff, students, clinicians, and administrators sampled a variety of food and rated them on flavor, presentation, cost and healthful ingredients.
Daniel Fontoura, vice president for wholeness at Loma Linda University Health, said people are drawn to his organization because of its legacy of wholeness.
“We want to continue this tradition well into the future, and changes to vending machine and cafeteria food offerings are one of many exciting steps that will aid in improving overall health,” he said in a statement.