Healthy Celebrations , Healthy Rewards and Fundraisers

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Many school wellness policies encourage healthy celebrations and fundraisers. While this may seem like a difficult task, there are many good ideas out there to help you accomplish this.

Healthy Celebrations

From birthday to holiday parties throughout the school year, children and teachers have numerous reasons to celebrate. Celebrations are a great way for children to feel part of the school community, where the learning environment is made festive and where children, teachers and parents can come together to enjoy a break from the routine. Traditionally, school parties often center on food, such as cupcakes, cookies, candy, chips and sugary beverages. While these foods, in moderation, can be part of a healthy, well-balanced diet, these unhealthy choices have almost become daily norms in the classroom, rather than exceptions. Action for Healthy Kids has several ideas. Click here to get ideas on how to break this cycle.

Are you looking for fun ways to promote nutrition and physical activity at your elementary or middle school? The Team Nutrition website has a Popular Events Idea Booklet that can give you some ideas on how to get started.

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Healthy Rewards

Action for Healthy Kids asks:  How does your school reward kids for "good" behavior? Kids are often offered food, beverages and candy as rewards for accomplishments. Many of these foods have little or no nutritional value, but are easy, inexpensive and can bring about short-term behavior change.

However, using food as a reward can teach kids to eat when they're not hungry, a habit that could last a lifetime. It also shows kids that achievements should be marked by eating and can undermine healthy nutrition practices being taught at home or at school.

It is important for families, schools, and communities to provide kids ample opportunities to develop lifelong habits for better health. If you choose to reward children with food, consider healthy options like an apple, banana, carrot sticks, string cheese, or even low-fat milk. Better yet, focus on FUN rather than FOOD whenever possible!

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Fundraisers

There are many healthy fundraising alternatives available that are not only practical, but profitable.

The Team Nutrition Healthy Fundraiser website has several resources to help your school earn extra money for different activities, events, and equipment that keep students excited and engaged. It also provides ideas to use healthy choices for fundraising that sell only nonfood items or foods that meet the Smart Snacks nutrition standards.

Organizations such as Action for Healthy Kids, the Alliance For a Healthier Generation and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) provide several tips to assist schools on how to hold healthy fundraisers.

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