Celebrating Healthy Students
Schools play a powerful role in influencing students” healthy food choices, especially when food is allowed in the classroom. Celebrations in the classroom provide an opportunity to help make healthy choices fun and exciting for students.
Traditionally, holiday and birthday celebrations have included ‘sweet treats”–foods high in sugar, such as cupcakes, candy, or cookies. While an occasional treat is okay once in a while, unhealthy food choices have become more the norm than the exception.
Families can help shift the focus of a celebration from the food, to the theme of the holiday or recognition of a student (in the case of a birthday). Here are some ways you can influence celebration activities in the classroom that contribute to student learning, achievement, and lifelong healthy habits.
Non-food related suggestions
You don”t always have to celebrate with food. For Birthdays or other individual student recognition, consider one of these ideas.
- Provide a book for the classroom library in your child’s name. Ask the teacher if your child can choose a guest to be the reader (ie. family member or favorite school staff.)
- Create a “Celebrate Me” book. Ask the teacher if your child’s classmates can write or draw something that is special about your child to share at home.
- Ask if your child can be a special assistant to the teacher or other school staff. These staff members could give him or her special tasks like make deliveries to the office, lead an activity, etc.
- See if your child can have lunch with the teacher and a friend.
Food related suggestions
If your child really wanted to share food with his or her classmates, choose healthy foods to provide opportunities for students to practice making wise food choices. Please consider food allergies and avoid nuts, eggs and dairy.
- Make your own fruit kebabs: Send in fruit cut into bite sizes and allow each student to construct their own kebab.
- Parfait party: Send in yogurt, fruit and dried cereal or granola with clear cups and students can layer their favorites.
- Consider other fun snacks low in sugar like tortilla chips and salsa, popcorn, crackers and cheese. Many of these foods are offered in whole-grain options.
Feeling creative? Search Google or Pinterest for “healthy treats for school” for ideas.