Did you know that good nutrition is vital to academic success at school? More than a quarter of kids’ calories may come from snacks! Research shows that kids who are eating healthy are more likely to perform better academically. Winans Elementary has been working hard to strengthen the minds and bodies of our students by supporting healthy eating habits and physical activity. Now we are starting a HEALTHY/SMART SNACK and CELEBRATION initiative.
In an effort to provide students with the healthiest environment we can, we are encouraging you to provide only healthy snacks for school snacks, and classroom parties and celebrations.
Providing your child with nutritious snacks for school not only keeps your child healthy, but it promotes life-long eating habits, and helps in the prevention of diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Also, healthy snacks provide your child with the necessary energy to get through the school day so that they can think and learn to the best of their ability.
Please DO NOT send your child to school with snacks that have a lot of sugar, fat such as fried chips, soda, colored/artificial drinks, packaged snack cakes, chocolate bars, gummies or candy. If your child comes to school with an unhealthy snack, we may send a reminder home about bringing a healthy snack.
At Winans Elementary school we do not have a snack policy that forbids unhealthy snacks; we simply just want to encourage all parents and/or guardians to help with our proposal of keeping the children of our school healthy and fit. Below you will find some suggestions of nutritional snack ideas that are low in fat, sugar and salt and promote health and wellness at the same time.
Please review the list of health snack ideas on the back of this letter, but remember that a snack should not replace the healthy breakfast or lunch provided at school. Remember – healthy bodies and healthy minds go hand in hand!
Due to allergy and nutrition concerns, teachers are no longer allowed to provide students with snacks even if they forget theirs.
- Send a healthy snack to school each day (see the list of healthy snack ideas attached to this letter).
- Honor their child’s birthday by sending non-food treats such as stickers or pencils
- Ensure all food sent to school for birthday celebrations promote healthy food choices
- Ask your child’s teacher what non-food or healthy rewards/incentives they are utilizing in the classroom.
- Become involved in planning school holiday parties that include games, crafts and healthy foods and beverages.
- Participate in brainstorming ideas for healthy, non-food focused fundraisers for the school.
Thank you. Please feel free to contact us if you have any comments or concerns. Have a safe and healthy school year!
Dr. Joy Brooke
Farm to School Specialist
Healthy Snack Tips
- Snacks should be kid-size. Both children and adults don’t need large portions.
- Snacks should be colorful. Kids eat with their eyes. Make snacks visually appealing.
- Snacks should be healthy. Offer fruits and vegetables as often as you can.
- Drinks should be served in small portions, a cup or less each. Water is the healthiest choice.
Some healthy snack ideas:
- Dry whole-grain cereal with milk
- Low-fat cheese melted on a whole-grain tortilla
- Rice cakes with nut butter (if allowed)
- Fresh cut-up fruit with yogurt for dipping
- Graham crackers and low-fat milk
- Yogurt with whole grain cereal or fruit on top ((no more than 15 grams of sugar in a 6 oz. cup)
- Baked tortilla chips and salsa
- Baked potato with cottage cheese or salsa
- Vegetables and low-fat dip
- Whole-grain crackers or toast with peanut butter (if allowed) or hummus
- Fruit salad
- Low-fat string cheese
- Whole grain granola bars that are low in fat and sugar: Nature Valley bars, Quaker bars
- Yogurt smoothie (yogurt, ice, milk and any type of fruit)
- Low-fat or home popped Popcorn
- 100% juice
- Banana (cut in half for younger children)
- Apples, grapes, oranges cut into “smiles,” or any kind of fruit
- Whole-grain muffins or bagels
- Turkey and cheese slice roll-ups
Planning Healthy Snacks
A good guideline to follow when choosing foods for healthy snacks is to choose foods and beverages that are low in fat and sugar and are minimally processed.
Snacks that are especially good for kids (and adults!) are fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products such as milk and yogurt, and whole-grain foods including whole-wheat tortillas, bread, and cereal.
Lean meats, eggs, and nuts in small portions can be healthy snacks, too.
Processed, less-healthy snack foods such as chips, sugary drinks, candy and cake are OK to eat once in awhile but should not be offered every day. These foods usually have a lot of extra and unnecessary fat, calories, salt and/or sugar.
A good way to create a healthy snack is to include two foods from two different MyPlate.gov food groups. The food groups are: • protein—lean meats, legumes, tofu, and nuts • low-fat dairy foods such as milk and yogurt • fruits and 100% juice • vegetables and 100% juice • grains such as bread, cereal, crackers and popcorn.
- Donate a book to the school in honor of your child’s birthday with his/her name inside.
- Have your child bring their favorite book to share and read it to the class.
- Donate a ball or jump rope to the classroom for recess.
- Choose a favorite song or musical piece to sing or play for the class.