Looking for a fun way to include healthy food options in classroom celebrations? A healthy celebration cart offers opportunities for learning and fun, and provides the tools to make and enjoy a healthy, tasty treat!
What is a healthy celebration cart?
A healthy celebration cart includes materials and resources to create a healthy treat for a classroom party. Any kind of movable storage system that can house basic kitchen supplies is usable, such as plastic, wooden or metal rolling carts. Storing supplies on a movable unit allows them to be easily moved and utilized by different classes or programs.
What is included on a healthy celebration cart?
Healthy celebration carts can include any age-appropriate supplies and equipment for food preparation and serving. Popular items include:
- Cutting boards and knives
- Mixing bowls and utensils
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Apple wedgers, pineapple corers, and strawberry hullers
- Blenders and food processors
- Popcorn air-poppers
- Serving trays and utensils
- Dishtowels and cleaning supplies
- Paper goods such as small plates and cups
What types of celebration foods can be made with healthy celebration cart supplies?
Depending on the supplies available, anything goes! Popular items include fruit and veggie trays, smoothies, yogurt parfaits, popcorn, and dips such as hummus or yogurt-based ranch. Find ideas for healthy celebration foods here.
How can the healthy celebration cart be used in the classroom?
Let creativity – and safety – be the guide. Every student can play a role in food preparation, serving and/or cleaning, or students can sign-up or be selected as chefs for the event. Adult supervision and assistance are encouraged as age and ability appropriate. If necessary, teachers or other adult volunteers can prepare the treat, but remember – children are more likely to try a new food if they have a hand in making it.
Are there other helpful tips to create and maintain a healthy celebration cart?
Donations of supplies or funding can be requested from families or area businesses. Groups such as PTOs and granting organizations may also be a source of funds to purchase needed items. Parents or local grocers can be asked to donate food and paper goods.
Healthy celebration carts can be stored in a convenient, shared location such as a storage area, faculty room or unused classroom and be available for loan to classroom teachers. A sign-out sheet and list of included items help to keep things organized, as does having a designated individual or committee maintain the cart.
Healthy celebration carts can also be used for nutrition education, or as part of school sponsored events. Be creative, happy eating, and party on!
Sarah Bentley Garfinkel, Healthy Schools New York, Health Initiative Inc.