All year long, we emphasize the importance of eating fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and other staples of the National School Lunch Program and Breakfast Program. We encourage students to try new foods and we explain their health benefits. However, when it comes to holiday parties and other classroom celebrations, high-sugar, high-fat snacks like cupcakes and chips are the norm.

By sticking to a consistent wellness policy, where we observe the same standards for healthy foods during parties that we do during school lunch, we can cut down on students’ confusion and help reinforce healthy habits that will last a lifetime. For a colorful treat, try red and green bell pepper slices with hummus!

There are also plenty of festive ideas for classroom parties that do not have to involve food. Consider a holiday craft, like making snowflakes to decorate the classroom. Designing holiday cards for nursing home residents is a way to share the holiday spirit with others. You may also want to have a special show and tell or read a special book with a seasonal theme.

For more ideas for healthy holidays, see these guides by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Center for Science in the Public Interest!

Photo credit and instructions on how to make paper snowflakes here.