Everyone loves a good party and celebrating with students and staff is an important part of a school’s culture. But have you ever stopped to think about how many celebrations occur during the school year?  Birthday parties, holiday celebrations and school-wide events can add up fast. Make sure that your school is supporting the healthy habits you want your students to develop while also having fun using the tips below.

Step 1: Know your Wellness Policy

Having a strong local wellness policy is a first step to implement healthy fundraising in your school or district.

What does your local wellness policy say about foods and beverages at school parties and celebrations? Do you limit how often you can have parties? Do you serve only foods and beverages that meeting the Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards at parties?

If you need to update your local wellness policy, check out the Alliance’s Model Wellness Policy template, which was approved by the USDA, to make healthy celebrations the standard for students in your district.

Step 2: Provide Alternatives

Your students and staff will never miss their unhealthy celebration options if you make sure to offer plenty of fun alternatives. Try the following to get started:

Step 3: Engage Kids

Remember to involve your “customers” in the process. Use our Focus Group How To Guide to get their input on the types of foods and beverages they would like to see for school celebrations. Ask them to sample new products using our Taste Testing Guide or survey students to find out how they want to celebrate using our Sample Healthy Celebrations Student Survey. And let them choose healthier options for celebrations from this Birthday Menu from Rosa Parks Edison Kindergarten.

Step 4: Use Clear Communication

Make sure to communicate your celebration policy to everyone who might be affected by it – including staff, students and parents. Announce the new policy when it’s adopted and send reminders during the school year that the change is coming.

Think about the times we celebrate during the school year such as the beginning of school, holidays, the end of school, birthdays and more. Remind staff, students and families that parties and celebrations should center around non-food activities or serve only foods and beverages that meet Smart Snacks standards. 

Spread the word about healthy celebrations using the following tools:

  • Student/staff/parent handbooks
  • Intercom or email announcements
  • Parent newsletters
  • Staff memos
  • Student newspaper
  • School websites or social media accounts (Use our Healthy Celebrations Sample Social Media Posts)
  • Staff or student orientation or open house nights

Use the Alliance’s Sample Parent Letter to let families know about your new celebration policy.

Step 5: Ask for Help

You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Use the resources and support available to you through the Healthy Schools Program.

Check out the following resources in our Training Center:

Next up: Using non-food rewards at school!

Talk with Our Expert

Jill Turley is one of our National Nutrition Advisors. By contacting her, you can ask questions, learn best practices and get started creating a healthier school environment.

Get to know Jill | Connect with Jill | @rdjill


Nutrition Throughout the School Day

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