Focus on the Fun for Healthier Classrooms + Students
Focus on the Fun for Healthier Classrooms + Students

Boy having funRewards, celebrations and even academic class time can be unexpected places to focus on health, but you might be surprised to realize how subtle changes can impact students. Healthy classroom guidelines that emphasize healthier classroom foods, rewards and activities help keep the nutrition education messages consistent.

When it comes to classroom snacks and celebrations, focus on healthy fun!  Here are some tips to help parents and teachers f-o-c-u-s for Healthier Students.

F-Feature an event, holiday or birthday child over the foods that are present. Let the birthday child wear a button, crown or sash; or let the birthday child be the teacher's assistant or read aloud his/her favorite book. You can even celebrate the end of your nutrition lessons with a party that includes healthy and creatively fun foods. Check with the school Nutrition Services Department to see what items they can supply.

O-Offer parents a list of healthy snacks or party foods they can bring into class. Students can work together to create a list comprised of the five food groups. For more ideas to engage parents, visit our new Parent Education center. Turkey

 C-Celebrate with stimulating activities like taste-tests, dance parties or scavenger hunts. Activities can also reinforce what students are learning in class by tying into education standards. Activities like this Ice Cream in a Bag allow for treats, but focus on the experience instead of the food. 

U-Use non-food rewards to acknowledge good behavior and success. Students will rave about getting special privileges, extra recess, "free choice", or several other low- and no-cost constructive classroom rewards. Alternatively, consequences shouldn't involve withholding recess or food because that can send unhealthy messages to students.

Veggie SkeletonS-Schedule quick physical activity breaks to refresh bodies and minds. Tie directly into your lesson with these quick in-school activity breaks. Even 30-60 seconds of jumping jacks will work out the wiggles and help students maximize brain power.

Looking for more ideas? Review the Healthy You, Healthy Students school wellness page for some great ideas and a list of no-cost wellness resources that can help you create a healthy classroom or build on what you are already doing.

Schools that support healthy classroom practices like these are more likely to be filled with healthy, successful students. When you see how much fun children have being healthy and the lifelong nutrition knowledge they walk away with, you'll wonder why you didn't have healthy classroom guidelines sooner!