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Question:

I am homeroom mom at my daughter’s daycare. How can I coordinate a healthier holiday class party?

Answer:



Rebecca Turner           Classroom celebrations are a perfect opportunity for parents and teachers to support healthy eating habits and incorporate fun into a nutrition lesson. Being a homeroom parent myself, I know it is tempting to give in to chips, pizza, and soda. However, you can think outside the junk food aisle and create a much healthier and festive event. Create a “‘Twas the MyPlate Before Christmas” or “Santa’s MyPlate Workshop” themed party by printing out this MyPlate coloring sheet as the activity. The USDA’s MyPlate is a great tool for kids and adults to learn the recommended portions and which foods make up a balanced eating plan. Offer snacks that coordinate with each food group and have students write in which snacks pair each section. If students are unable to write just yet, then simply talk through it as they color their plate. Below are healthy classroom party ideas that include foods from each food group: Fruits: Use small paper cups to portion out grapes, apple slices or any mixed fruit combination. Vegetables: Serve baby carrots, celery and small broccoli florets with ranch-dip. Grains: Offer air-popped popcorn or whole-grain crackers over greasy chips. Meat: Low-fat cheese sticks, yogurts, or a chickpea hummus (for dipping crackers and vegetables) are great sources of party-friendly proteins. Dairy: Both white and flavored milk provides nine essential vitamins and minerals that are important for development and good health, including calcium, potassium and vitamin D.    Classroom parties can still be a very special day, just adopt healthier menu ideas, plan a nutrition activity, and allow plenty of time for kids to run around on the playground.  - Rebecca Turner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD  

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