Promoting a Healthy School Environment

Today’s school celebrations, fundraisers and rewards typically include candy, cupcakes, soda, ice cream, and other junk food.  While it is true that there is nothing wrong with an occasional treat, the reality is that these treats are not just occasional.  Children are bombarded with unhealthy foods at home, at school, at sporting activities, at social clubs, at church, at friends houses, at restaurants, etc.  What used to be occasional has become far too frequent.  Most children’s eating habits are poor with not enough fruits and vegetables and too much processed grains, processed sugars, and bad fats.  One needs only to look at the startling rates of obesity and the rise of adult-type diseases in our children.  Parents are now outliving their children!  By providing the children of Still Elementary more nutritious food choices, we can make a difference  in their lives and possibly prevent them from becoming another statistic!!!

RESPONSIBILITIES:

Parents:  Send healthy snacks with your child, bring healthy foods or alternative treats for celebrations

PTSA Volunteers:  Plan & encourage healthy celebrations, focus on healthy fundraisers, establish healthy rewards

Teachers:  Eliminate food rewards, encourage healthy snacks from home, teach students good health habits.

Everyone:  Try something new, be positive, and create change!

Benefits of Healthy Snacks, Celebrations and Rewards

Healthy Kids Learn Better:  Research clearly demonstrates that good nutrition is linked to better behaviors and academic performance.

Provides Consistent Messages:  Providing healthy foods supports the classroom lessons students are learning about health, rather than contradicting them.  This also promotes good lifestyle choices which can reduce student health risks and improve learning.

Promotes a Healthy School Environment – With children  bombarded from every angle with bad food choices,  our school can provide a safe atmosphere for nutrition.  This ultimately enhances the learning environment.

Discourages the Development of Emotional Eating-   Linking food with behavior or performance results in an emotional attachment to food.  This often results in in eating when not hungry, developing a habit of rewarding themselves with food, and can lead to serious health consequences.

Creates Excitement About Nutrition:  Children are excited about new and different things, including fun party activities and healthy snacks.  Contrary to popular belief, children do not need or demand cakes, candy, etc as rewards.  Alternative rewards are just as appreciated and usually more effective.

Protects Children with Food Allergies:  When parents send in food, it is difficult to ensure the safety of children with food allergies and makes it hard to avoid singling out students.

Examples of Alternative Rewards:

  • Social Rewards – attention, praise, etc
  • Recognition – trophy, ribbon, morning announcement, photo, phone call home to parents, etc.
  • Privileges – going first, homework pass, extra recess, eating lunch with a friend or teacher, picking their own seat
  • Show n Tell – demonstrate a talent, or a prized possession, read a book to the class, etc.
  • School Supplies – special pencil, stamps, bookmarks, etc.
  • Toys/Trinkets – water bottles, stickers, puzzles, tops, balloons, tattoos, magnets, books, etc.
  • Point System – earn points for a larger “prize” like movie tickets, bookstore gift card, book, game, etc.

Healthy Food Ideas:

  • Fresh Fruit (cut or put on skewers)
  • Dried Fruit
  • Vegetable trays with different dips (like hummus, guacamole)
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Cheese
  • Air popped organic popcorn in party bags
  • Turkey or PBJ sandwiches on wheat bread or wrap
  • Yogurt (check for sugar and/or artificial sweeteners)
  • Smoothies
  • Trail Mix – make your own or check ingredients
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Sprouted Grain Crackers with Peanut or Almond Butter
  • Healthy tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole
  • Mini Bean Burrito
  • Frozen bananas or grapes
  • Hard cooked eggs
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One response to “Promoting a Healthy School Environment

  1. Love it! I am photocopying it to give to our School Council!

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