There is a lot of discussion these days over vending machines in schools and what effect soft drink and snack food machines are having on the health and fitness of today's students.

Soft drink fund raisers, which are what soft drink vending machines really are, can in fact be very profitable.

The fact of the matter is that students in high school and even middle school consume a lot of soft drinks. A wise school or school group can take advantage of that fact by offering soft drink vending machines as a means to raise money. Responsible schools, however, do not offer fattening soft drinks that have no redeeming value or are just extra calories that need not be consumed. There are plenty of diet drink options available to place in the machines.

In addition the school can have the vending machine operator include fruit juices and water in the machine as genuinely healthy alternatives. These days you will find machines selling bottled water in grocery stores and other high traffic areas.

These types of machines are highly recommended in high school and can be very good drink fund raisers. Creative groups can even brand the water for the school with the school logo or mascot to make the bottled water even more appealing to the students and visitors.

The same argument, however, is more difficult to make when it comes to snack foods. There is little if any redeeming value to candy and the typical snacks found in the machines. Of course people can point to the occasional granola bar as an example of healthy snack food. But the fact of the matter is that those types of snacks do not sell nearly as well and are passed over for the more fattening alternatives.

There are some machines that can dispense fruit instead of candy. While these are difficult to maintain they might be a wise alternative. The bottom line is that you do not have to eliminate soft drink fund raisers as an option when considering how to raise money in a school environment.

There are healthy options to choose from and they are highly recommended.