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Snack happy and healthy

After a tiring work out, the temptation to eat something naughty can lead some gym goers straight to the nearest vending machine for a snack that undoes all their good work in just a few mouthfuls.

But thanks to an innovative partnership between Waltham Forest Council and Better, who run the borough’s six leisure centres, this post work-out temptation is being satisfied with a healthier option.

Now, visitors to Leyton Leisure Centre, which was re-opened in October following a £3.5million refurbishment, can cure their cravings more healthily, thanks to a new style of vending machine.

Run by therudefoodco who stock everything from porridge and dried fruit to baked snacks and smoothies, the vending machine is the first of its kind in Waltham Forest, and the first one in a gym run by Better, who manage leisure centres across 18 London boroughs.

Cllr Ahsan Khan, Cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing at Waltham Forest Council, said: “We’re investing £24.5million in improving our leisure centres and as well as giving residents the best facilities possible, wanted to do everything we can to support them in making healthier dietary choices.

“We’re trying to stop people from taking one step forward and two steps back by exercising and then filling up on junk food, which, surprisingly, you often find in gym vending machines.”

The machine has been installed after the Council met with community dieticians, public health experts and Better, to identify ways in which the Council’s leisure contract could be more focused on healthier products.

Following its trial, the vending machine will be rolled out to all six leisure centres in Waltham Forest if it proves popular with residents.


1. For more information please contact Emily Blackshaw, Waltham Forest press office, on 020 8364 4445 or email

2. For more information about leisure centres in Waltham Forest visit


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