It is so incredibly important to promote healthy eating at school and at home. Kids spend 6+ hours a day at school. It would be so helpful if teachers and schools can help reinforce the healthy eating message to kids. This way kids hear it in a few places and through enough repetition, it can help to sink in. For some kids, this may be the only place they are hearing it from.
Sadly, for some kids, school might be the only place they are hearing messages about healthy eating.
Why We Shouldn’t Reward Kids with Food
Kids seem to do best with a challenge if there is a reward. We want to get out of the habit of rewarding kids with food, as this can teach children to associate food with emotions. Children can develop eating issues as a result of offering food as a reward or punishment. Share this video with parents about why we shouldn’t use food as a reward.
This isn’t going to happen because of a school pizza party! But if parents are using food rewards at home and they are being reinforced at school then some children may learn to associate food with emotions and become emotional eaters.
Sadly, these issues can lead to poor eating habits or unhealthy attitudes about food, which can last a lifetime.
Here are Some Possible Rewards to Try Instead of Food:
- Give out golden tickets with a prize
- Some children can earn a lunch with a teacher or staff member
- Dance parties
- Treasure box
- Extra recess time
- Homework passes
- Pajama day
- Kids Choose
- The Good Deed card
- Support your favorite sports team
- Watch a movie
Research to Support Why Food is Important to a Child’s Academic Success:
- Harvard: Your Brain on Food
- Harvard: Eating to Boost Energy
- Harvard: Boost Your Memory by Eating Right
Healthy Snack Ideas and Foods:
Here is a list of foods to share with parents to help encourage healthy eating at home and at school.
*If your school is nut-free, some of these foods can be incorporated into a healthy breakfast before school starts.
- Pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
- Sesame seeds
- Goji berries
- Sunflower seeds
- Tigernuts (not nuts at all!)
- Honey Dew Melon
- Sweet Potatoes
- Black Beans
- Chia seeds (sprinkled on a food)
- Flax seed (sprinkled on a food)
- Hemp seeds (sprinkled on a food)
- Whole-grain breads
- Green Beans
- Dates | other Dried Fruit
- Sun Butter or Almond Butter
- Brown Rice
- Peanut Butter
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