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Healthy Snacks

Monday we had a “party” in my classroom. I do it after every round of parent-teacher conferences. In my neighborhood by the time students reach 5th grade, their parents stop showing up for school events. Persuasion is needed to get them there.

I usually persuade the students to drag their parents in by offering soda pop and a pizza party. The thing is, new nutrition guidelines forbid both — and the foods they do offer don’t very well lend themselves to a kid’s party. For instance, we are encouraged to reward hard work with carrot sticks. (Can’t you just see kids jumping through hoops for those?)

Well, that’s what I served. Carrot sticks, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cheese and baked Triscuits. I had little bowls of low fat Ranch Dressing, and a low-sugar, high vitamin C fruit drink. The students arrived at the table with their little plates and napkins and they all ah-ed in amazement. Jasmine breathed, “Just like grown-ups!” And they proceded to eat like locust.

I enjoyed the comments:
Rico said, “I’m not eating that white stuff (cauliflower).”
Moe replied, “It’s not bad.”
Nessa said, “This green stuff (broccoli) is really good.”
C.C. answered, “Nothing green is ever good.”

But my very most favorite comment of all came as we were cleaning up:
Cyndi said, “Next time can we have more celery? That was the best part.”

Of course, Cyndi also asks for homework.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. I am first…that sounds healthy to me!

    your kids are fabulous.
    Celery is not much my thing, cauliflower and broccoli? Bring it on!

  2. My 3 year old son won’t eat any veg. I do my best to hide them i mash them in his potatoes, i grate them finely on to his homemade pizza’s and purree them into soup 9 out of ten times he catches me out that one time he doesn’t i feel like a great mum. My little girl is adifferent story and would have loved your party she’ the only child i know who eats all her veg and turns down chips.

  3. Y’all can try mincing veggies and putting them into meatloaf. I mince carrots, cellery, onions, bell peppers, and saute them lightly before putting them in with meat. They get a full serving of veggies, maybe two, and never even know they are there!

    Is nice that your kids focussed in that it was “adult” like party, and not in on the fact it was veggies. I know when I was in school no way would I have worked for veggies!

  4. Tina — check Jan’s suggestion. It might work.

    Jan — except for green beans, I’ve never had a problem with veggies — and even green beans are okay when not cooked to limp pulp.

  5. your kids sound lovely. so much fun to be with them. that is very nice of you to set up those parties, i know the school probably doesn’t pay for that and it comes out of your salary..a teacher’s salary too..God Bless your wondenful heart.

    my kids love salads and so do i. one of their (not mine) fav treats is yellow and red peppers. i hated broccoli until about 12 yrs ago and now i can’t get enough..yumm..

  6. Love ranch dressing, although as a vegetarian, I avoid vegatables on principle.

    Now if the nutrition guidelines would only get rid of standardized tests.

  7. “Just like grownups!” Man, that bowled me over. Hey, even scientists will work for veggie platters [recalls long-ago-now National Science Foundation days …]

    But you’ll have to stop when Rico (or one of the others) comes up to your desk, stuffs $5 in your teacup, and asks for one on the rocks … 🙂

  8. Chana — yes, it comes out of my slary, as does so much more. I always say, “this year I’m not going to do it!” But how can I not?

    Brian — brilliant idea. Come join the school board.

  9. Yes. And they’d danged well better be too large to swallow … And that would be soy milk would it not? Allergies …

    Cheer up. You think this is bad? You could be teaching school in Berkeley. Or (saints preserve us) LA. 🙂

  10. OC — the school provides me with plain old 1% cow’s milk. At home I drink Silk Soy, but only the chocolate. I grew up drinking the fresh milk from my uncle’s cows, and it was a struggle to get myself to 2%.

  11. “Unhealthy” foods are banned in the schools where I live also. I have to wonder if the kids wouldn’t be better served if they were taught a balance between “unhealthy” foods and “healthy foods. For example, fries might be alright once in awhile but not every day.

  12. Guess your doing something right! I’ve never heard of a school distict completely doing away with “junk”, even for parties.

    And what’s so horrible about pizza? It could have been a vegetarian pizza.

  13. Amazing how times change everything. When I was growing up you could get almost anything in the cafeteria, whether it was healthy or not.

    Enjoyed the post,

    PS, incase if you didn’t read it yet, I got the Corn Chowder recipe up on the blog.

  14. I am all in favor of healthy food in school. The lunches that have been served for eons were ridiculous. And since the kids seemed to like it, your party was a winner.

  15. Charlie — sorry to cause you pain.

    Dr. John — they are kind of scary.

    Mike — moderation!? gasp You’re kidding, right?

    Silver — Worse yet, they still serve pizza in the cafeteria, but I am not allowed to provide it once or twice per year in my classroom.

    Bill — you can still eat almost anything in the cafeteria, but you have to bring it from home iof you want it to taste good …

    Nessa — what is wrong with you? Ketchup is a … fruit.

  16. Ahhhhhh yes! Start ’em young! When I come back in my NEXT life, I’m going to DENY my children green leafy vegetables and MAKE them eat brownies and chocolate chip cookies! And then they will (as all children do) WANT what they can’t have! It’s my MASTER PLAN!

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