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Parties and Healthy Holidays

Set the right tone for this year’s parties.  Keep in mind these healthy party tips:
  • Celebrate without food; shift the focus from food to fun
  • Limit each party to include no more than one junk-food item
  • Create a healthy snack list and have parents sign up to bring in an item from a pre-planned “list”
October: *HALLOWEEN*
Kids get plenty of candy trick-or-treating.  Try to keep the focus on fun at school
  • Focus on the costumes!  Have a parade or costume contest
  • Instead of candy, try small toys like: temporary tattoos, stickers, small plastic spiders or ghosts, spooky plastic rings or false teeth
  • Decorate pillowcases or bags for trick-or-treating
Healthy Party Snacks:  Apple Cider, apples w/caramel or yogurt dip, pumpkin dip and graham crackers, roasted pumpkin seeds, snack cups of canned peaches or mandarin oranges (canned in juice or light syrup), oranges, cantaloupe, tangerines, mangos or dried peaches, carrots w/low-fat ranch dressing, use Halloween cookie cutters to make sandwiches or fruit look frightfully delicious!
  • Have students write or draw a picture about what they are thankful for and share it with the class
  • Create a garland of gratitude. Cut leaf shapes out of construction paper and then crinkle them up to create the lines in a leaf.  Flatten them out and have children write what they are grateful for.  Use a piece of string and tape the stem of the leaf over the string.  Display garland in class.
  • Do a service project as a class field trip
Healthy Party Snacks:  Turkey roll-ups, spread apple butter on whole grain English muffins or graham crackers, serve warm apple cider, pumpkin dip w/veggies or apple wedges.
December/January: *WINTER HOLIDAYS*
  • Have students make holiday cards for nursing home residents or decorate pillow cases to give to a homeless shelter
  • Go caroling and sing for other classes or at a senior center
  • Decorate the classroom with a winter theme (snowflakes, snowmen or snow angels)
  • Collect personal care products and prepare kits for a homeless shelter or take a service project field trip to visit a nursing home, homeless shelter or a food bank
  • Make snow globes out of baby food jars and white glitter or plastic snowflakes. Fill with water until a half inch is left at the top (use a hot glue gun to seal the lid).
Healthy Party Snacks:  Hollow out red and green peppers and fill them with a dip like low-fat ranch, hummus or guacamole and serve with vegetables, make fruit kabobs and alternate red and green grapes or red/green apples, serve green beans, broccoli and tomatoes with a low-fat dip.
February:  *VALENTINE’S DAY*  
  • Have students write down one positive comment about each classmate, e.g. you’re a good friend, you have a nice smile, or you are fun to be with, and pass them out
  • Create a Valentine’s Day card holder.  (Cut a paper plate in half, have children paint or color the plate   and write their name on it.  Use a hole punch to cut holes around the bottom curve of the plate. Stitch the two halves together with colorful ribbon or string.  Make a handle with the string so children can hang them at their desk).
Healthy Party Snacks:  Have cherry tomatoes and red peppers served with hummus or ranch dressing, serve strawberries, raspberries, dried cranberries, red grapes, pomegranate or apple slices, very-berry pink smoothies-using strawberries for the fruit
March:   *ST. PATRICK'S DAY*
  • Teach an Irish step dance
  • Decorate the room with shamrocks made from construction paper
  • Plan a St. Paddy’s Day scavenger hunt that leads to a pot of gold filled with treasures, such as markers, pens, pencils, erasers, etc.
  • Read about Irish history or a story about St. Patrick
Healthy Party Snacks:  Serve kiwi (cut in half and serve with a spoon), have cucumbers, celery sticks, broccoli, sugar snap peas, fresh green beans or green peppers with hummus or a low-fat dressing like ranch or thousand island, serve whole grain tortilla chips with guacamole, try edamame (pronounced “eh-dah-MAH-may”).  It is fun to eat and easy to serve.
April/May:  *SPRING PARTY*
  • Plan a nature walk to see plants re-awakening in the spring weather
  • Decorate plastic eggs with paints, glitter and stickers and put physical activity messages on the inside    (e.g. hop on one leg 5 times OR do 6 jumping jacks). Have an egg hunt and kids can act on the messages.
  • Decorate flower pots for parents and plant a flower or seed
  • Have parents donate plants that children can plant in the school yard or at a housing project, senior center or other community site
Healthy Party Snacks:  Carrot muffins, carrots with hummus or a low-fat ranch dressing, berries with cool whip, fruit smoothies.
With the end of school comes numerous celebrations.  Keep the focus away from food and plan activities to highlight the end of the school year and the coming of summer.
  • Fresh produce is easier to come by in the summer.  Talk about fruits from around the world and discuss where they originated.  Have a tasting party with star fruit, papaya, mango, kiwi, guava and/or pineapple
  • Visit a local farm, garden or orchard to learn about fruits and vegetables that grow in your area
  • Have children make a collage or write a story about what they plan to do over the summer
  • Have students write stories or put together items that remind them of the past school year and take them home
  • Plan an outdoor game/activity to enjoy the warmer weather
½  - 1 Cup fresh or frozen fruit, 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt, ½ cup fruit juice
About 4 ice cubes or use frozen fruit and skip the ice 
Combine all ingredients in a blender & process on high until ice is crushed & mixture is smooth and creamy
½ Cup vanilla low-fat yogurt, 1 tsp. honey, ¼ tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp. nutmeg
Combine ingredients together until blended and serve with your favorite fruits!