Snacks at School Events

Make it fun AND healthy.

Are the pizza, red punch and cardboard cookies at the school fair giving you a sugar rush and then letting you down? Children need snacks to fuel their busy bodies and keep their minds going (we adults do, too!), but all this junk food is just slowing them down (and making the scale go up). Here’s how you can get kids to choose—and other parents to bring—healthy snacks to your next school event and prevent a “snackdown.”

  • Eye Appeal. Get kids and families to notice the healthy stuff by displaying snacks in a visually appealing way, like placing fruits and veggies in a decorative bowl or offering a rainbow of colors.
  • Eye on the size. A snack is meant to hold us over until our next meal (not be a meal itself). Exercise portion control by using snack-size bags, small plates or 3-ounce tasting cups.
  • Don’t Sweat the Sweet Stuff. Likeweise, if sweet treats are a must-have, limit the number of parents who bring them or serve sweet treats in small portions.
  • Keep Cool. If providing drinks, choose water first. Add cucumber, mint, lemon or lime for a tasty twist.
  • Don’t Go Nuts. It’s likely some kids and parents will have a nut, gluten or lactose intolerance or other food allergy. Write ingredients on index cards to display with snacks and keep ingredient labels on hand to answer questions that parents or kids may have about the offerings.
Image alternative text - ALT text.

School Event Snacks Tip:

Most school wellness policies don’t address food served at events outside of the school day. Talk to your school principal to see what it would take to get events into your school’s policy or handbook.

Top 4 Kid-Tested, Parent-Approved Snacks

  1. Fruit Kabobs: Make a rainbow with your fave fruits on a popsicle stick.  Add a cube or two of low-fat cheese.
  2. Trail Mix: Create your own trail mix concoction with three or more ingredients like whole-grain cereal, pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, popcorn, pretzels, coconut flakes or mini chocolate chips.  Make it scoopable with Dixie cups.
  3. Spiced Popcorn: Give plain popcorn a makeover with salt-free spices like chili powder, lemon pepper or pumpkin pie spice.
  4. Veggies and Dip: Pair ready-to-go veggies (think broccoli, cauliflower, baby carrots or sugar snap peas) with a healthy dip like honey mustard, salsa, hummus or bean dip.

The kids were gobbling up the snacks and saying, ‘Delicious!’ and ‘I should put this in my lunch!

– Julie Fisher, Chicago

Health news, tips, and recipes right in your inbox

Sign up for the Parents for Healthy Kids newsletter to receive monthly resources, recipes, news and more on your journey to be a health advocate for your kids. It really is news you can use!

Related Topics

Brown Bag Lunch

What’s in your (brown) bag?

Healthy Celebrations

Party the healthy way!

Competitive Foods

Selling food can be a win-win

Vending & Concessions

Health can mean wealth