Have a healthy classroom party

27/11/2014 Advice for teachers, Help for Parents

Classroom parties are popular throughout the year, but especially at end of term or around public holidays and celebrations. Students may end up having multiple parties in a week that are often filled with unhealthy food items, loading kids up with sugar, saturated fat and calories that their bodies don’t need.

Providing our kids with unhealthy food during a celebration sends the wrong message. It tells them that happy occasions are celebrated with unhealthy foods. All those hours of teaching about nutrition and making healthy choices are easily lost when our actions don’t match our words. It’s best to get rid of the chips and soft drinks and celebrate with healthy food and fun activities.

How to host a healthy classroom party

If you’re asking parents to help cater the party, send a note home requesting that they keep the food healthy – explain that you’re goal is to provide fun, healthy food that is in line with the nutrition lessons that are taught at school. Be clear and tell them what is not allowed: chips, soda, chocolate, etc.  Offer some suggestions for food that can be brought in:

  • Triangle sandwiches on wholegrain bread
  • Whole grain crackers and dip
  • Plain air-popped popcorn
  • Raisin toast
  • Cereal cups (e.g. weetbix bites, cheerios and dried fruit)
  • Fruit cups or fruit kebabs
  • Veggie sticks and dip
  • Fruit muffins (no confectionery)
  • Savoury muffins
  • Homemade biscuits
  • Baked crispy pita bread and salsa dip
  • Fruit yoghurt

Also, remember that sugar sweetened beverages are not allowed in schools. If you would like another drink option, choose sparkling water or small serves of 99% fruit juice.

Fun activities

  • Charades (The Heads Up! App is a good one if you have an iPad in your classroom)
  • Have a dance party
  • Set up a craft table and ask parents to donate supplies
  • Play a fun, active outdoor game
  • Have free time
  • Do some cooking together (use one of the above recipes)

Get ready for next year

There are many occasions throughout the year when class parties tend to take place. It’s a good idea to set the tone from the beginning of the year and let parents know what is and isn’t allowed to be brought into the classroom. Ideally, the whole school should be on board. Providing a healthy school policy at the beginning of the year to every teacher and parent is a step towards creating a healthier community. Talk to your school principal about creating a healthy school community policy.