Healthy snacks for school celebrations

Alternatives to celebrating with sugar.

The first day of school is just around the corner and shortly you’ll be receiving a phone call or finding a note in the backpack asking you to furnish a treat for a school celebration. Given the latest news from The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation stating that Michigan currently comes in 5th on the list of states with the highest obesity rates, we all need to look at what we consider a treat. Before you reach for the sugar canister; consider the following choices:

  • Fruit smoothies are cold, sweet and good for you. A blender-full will go a long way if you pour the smoothie into three or four ounce cups. If more than one snack is being served, kids won’t need much to be satisfied.
  • Fruit kabobs are so easy; buy the fruit and sticks, wash the fruit and put it on the stick! Kids fill up fast and will only need 4 or 5 pieces of fruit on their kabobs (a serving is half a cup). Kids love kabobs, just keep in mind that kids also like to poke each other with the sticks so have the waste basket handy.
  • Yogurt parfaits. You can incorporate three food groups in a yogurt parfait: dairy, fruit and grains. Layer the yogurt and fruit and sprinkle granola on top. Pretty to look at and fun to eat.
  • Apple slices with yogurt dip. This snack is easy and in case you forgot you were on the list to furnish, it can be very last minute. Plain yogurt with cinnamon added tastes really good and most kids like cinnamon.
  • Chips and salsa is another treat that takes next to no prep time. You can jazz it up if you have time by making up individual bags of chips, but keep in mind you also jazz up the cost of your snack and the bag just gets thrown in the trash.
  • Ham and cheese wrapped in lettuce and sliced, you can call it ham and cheese sushi. Add a dill pickle before wrapping and the plate will soon be empty.

Adults are role models for children when it comes to eating healthy and while sweets don’t need to be totally eliminated from our diets, we can make the choice to try something different and in turn send the message to children that a treat isn’t always loaded with sugar. For more information on healthy celebrations in schools, see “Promoting a Healthy School Environment.” Children learn better by eating healthy food.

Healthy food can taste good. Healthy food can be part of a school celebration and be seen as a treat! Here’s to healthy celebrations!

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