Healthy Classroom Celebrations
Birthday parties and holiday celebrations at school provide a unique opportunity to help make healthy eating fun and exciting for children. Take advantage during these classroom celebrations to serve food that tastes, good, is nutritious, and provides students with an opportunity for nutrition education experiences.
Promote a positive learning environment by providing healthy celebrations that shift the focus from the food to the child. Choose a variety of activities, games, and crafts that children enjoy. When food is served, make it count with healthy choices! Try these ideas for fun activities and healthy foods at school parties and other celebrations.
How-To’s for a Happy Healthy Party
- Variety is the key. Plan several contrasting activities – active and quiet, indoor and outdoor, individual, and group.
- Try something new. Children like an adventure. In addition to familiar games and food, offer something different.
- Plan creative experiences such as art and music.
- Involve children in planning and preparing the party. Let them make decorations and favors.
- Put food in its proper place. Refreshments should complement the fun, not become the “main event.”
- Don’t use food as rewards or prizes.
- Choose foods for fun, good taste, and health. Parties that provide opportunities for children to practice making wise food choices.
Healthy Food Ideas
- Low-fat or nonfat flavored milk, 100% juice, water, flavored water (without added sugars or sweeteners)
- Fruit smoothies
- Fresh fruit assortment, fruit and cheese kabobs, fruit salad, fruit with low-fat whipped topping
- Dried fruit, 100% fruit snacks
- Vegetable trays with low-fat dip, celery with peanut butter
- Whole-grain crackers with cheese cubes or string cheese
- Pretzels, low-fat popcorn, graham cracker, animal crackers
- Angel food cake with fruit topping
- Bagels, English muffins, pretzels
- Pizza with low-fat toppings
- Ham, cheese or turkey sandwiches or wraps (with low-fat condiments)
- Low-fat pudding, low-fat yogurt, squeezable yogurt
- Breakfast or granola bars
- Tortilla chips with salsa or bean dip
- Trail/cereal mix
Note: Many children have food allergies, and, when parents send in food, it is difficult to ensure the safety of children with food allergies. It is recommended that store-bought treats are used. Unlike in homemade treats, the ingredients in store-bought goods are clearly labeled. They’re also prepared in commercial kitchens visited regularly by health inspectors.
Food Alternative ideas:
- Art projects from Dollar Tree
- Coloring pages
- Make your own bookmarks
- Paper bag puppets
- Bring chalk to class and let students decorate the sidewalks