In the last several years, families have received information about the ConVal Wellness Policy. The ConVal Wellness Policy was adopted in response to the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act. Every school district that participates in the federal school meals program
(as ConVal does) is required to have a Wellness Policy. These policies must address goals for nutrition education, physical activity, as well as provide nutrition guidelines for all foods available at school. Information is available online: http://conval.edu/parents-students/wellness
At GES, we’ve been moving steadily toward more nutritious choices for class parties, birthdays, holidays and other celebrations that take place at school. We know you are too because we’ve seen a huge increase in healthy treats, and that’s fantastic! We really appreciate the support GES families have shown through creative and thoughtful choices.
You’ve helped make this a positive change that’s appealing to kids! Now, we need to go a bit further and skip the high fat, high sugar treats.
The bad news is this means no more cupcakes (or donuts or other “junk food” items). So what’s wrong with cupcakes? As the Connecticut Department of Education’s pdf, Healthy Celebrations (available on the ConVal website; see above) states: “There is nothing wrong with an occasional treat, but unhealthy choices have become the norm rather than the exception. Parties, treats used as classroom rewards, food fundraisers…expose children to high-fat, high-sugar, low-nutrient choices... by providing students with nutritious choices wherever food is available (including the classroom), schools can positively influence children’s eating habits.”
The good news is this still leaves tons of fun choices kids love. Non-food treats, like novelty pencils, grips or erasers, or a game, story or art project that goes with the party’s theme can be offered as alternative treats. The ConVal Healthy Snack List (available online) offers a wide array of kid-tested ideas, from popcorn and pretzels to fruit and veggies and dip. Baked goods (purchased or homemade)can be included as long as they fall within the Federal Dietary Guidelines: 35% or fewer calories from fat 10% or less saturated fat, 35% or less sugar per serving, and 200 or fewer calories per serving. (Tip: try mini muffins or cupcakes instead of the standard size.)
At GES, we recognize that healthy habits are all about balance, and we would like families to know that we understand this is not an easy shift! Thank you in advance for your cooperation and support. Together we can find creative ways to keep our classroom parties and school celebrations fun and special for our children.