We're in the habit of celebrating with food—usually sweets and candy with lots of empty calories. But it's easy to rethink how you party in the classroom or at day care when you're equipped with fun alternatives that kids love. We've got 15 fun and healthy school celebration ideas to help!
Why healthier classroom celebrations?
Why does your school or child care center need a healthy school celebrations policy that extends to birthdays, holidays, and special events? "A birthday is just once a year," we might think—but if you have 25 or more student birthdays, and add in Halloween, winter break, Valentine's Day, the 100th day of school, the last day of school...you can easily accumulate 7 full weeks of sugary treats!
Valentine's Day doesn't have to be all about candy and sweets. If you're planning to celebrate Valentine's Day in your home, classroom, or child care, take advantage of the opportunity to promote a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ideas:
Healthy Snacks and Treats to Love
Fruit & Vegetable Bouquet
Use heart and flower-shaped cookie cutters to cut fresh fruits and vegetables such as melon and bell peppers. Place them on green skewers and arrange them into a bouquet. Tie together with red or pink ribbon. Students may enjoy with low-fat yogurt, hummus, salsa, or low-fat ranch dressing.
Create healthy sandwiches using whole grain bread and strawberry fruit spread. Use heart-shaped cookie cutters to cut out mini heart sandwiches.
Valentine's Day Taste Test
Host a taste test at your party using red fruits and vegetables. Pomegranate, cranberries, apples, blood oranges, raspberries, red peppers and cherry tomatoes are great options. Have students vote on their favorite red fruit and vegetable.
It is impractical—and unnecessary—to completely eliminate candy this Halloween. Experts say moderation is the key. But do you know how to limit Halloween candy in our super-sized culture?
Here are some tips for healthy trick or treating, whether you're handing out Halloween candy at home or escorting your kids around the neighborhood.
At your home: portion size and candy alternatives
Don't give out supersize portions. A fun size or snack size candy paired with a healthier treat or toy is better than handfuls of candy.
Include healthier treats. Snack size pretzels, popcorn, trail mix, pre-packaged carrot sticks or apple slices, clementines, mini boxes of raisins, or granola bars—to name a few.
Consider small, inexpensive toys. Glow sticks, bouncy balls, crayons, coloring books or small notebooks, stickers, stamps, bubbles, plastic rings, toy animals or dinosaurs for imaginative play. These gifts are healthier for all children and may be best for children with food allergies. A teal pumpkin on your door can signal families that you have non-food items available.
Before you go trick-or-treating: prepare your kids
Eat a healthy dinner. Don't let kids go trick or treating on an empty stomach. They will eat less Halloween candy if they fill up on proteins, fruits, veggies and whole grains before they head out.
Choose the right bag. Kids can haul as much candy as their trick or treat bag allows, so leave the pillowcase at home. Choose a small bucket or bag instead.
Cooler temperatures, colorful changing leaves, hayrides, and the fun of dressing up for Halloween are four excellent reasons for hosting a party this month. You don’t need to load the buffet table with baked sweets and candy. These three healthy Halloween ideas are anything but scary: