Tips for Food & Fun Success

Here are some tips for success as you begin to work with the materials and make changes in program practices:

  • Power up your snack offerings - Introduce healthier choices while removing unhealthy options from the menu. Check out Snack Sense for ideas on how to incorporate the Environmental Standards for Healthy Eating into your regular snack time routine at a low price. The Tip Sheets are another great resource for ideas on how to provide healthy snacks in afterschool time.
  • Get children involved - Ask children to help prepare for snack time and help at clean-up. For example, children can put snacks and pitchers of water with cups on the snack tables. You can also involve children through cooking special snacks and taste-testing. For a list of snack recipes and taste test ideas, check out the Food and Fun 2nd Edition Recipe and Taste Test Packet. Check with your program's regulations first to be sure that no restrictions apply.
  • Get children moving - Schedule, schedule, schedule! Make physical activity a priority by scheduling at least 30 minutes at the same time every day. Plan activities that keep kids moving! The Tip Sheets "Everyone Participates!" and "Physical Activity!" is a great resource for ideas on how to engage all staff and children in physical activity and how to offer physical activity every day.
  • Connect with schools - Let your school or other local schools know how you incorporate Food & Fun into your after school programs. Tell teachers how the activities support the Common Core State Standards and share the alignment guide.
  • Offer a variety of choices - Whether it's an active game or new snack, children like to have some control over what they do. Involve children in selecting games, snacks, or learning activities. After presenting something new, ask them to vote on whether or not they liked it enough to do again, or if they have other ideas on how to play the game.
  • Designate a space for food and fitness information - Any corner can work! Display key messages from the unit along with art work created by the children. You can add books that have nutrition or activity themes in the food and fitness area. Most units suggest books which complement the theme.
  • Ban the junk - Keep soda or unhealthy snack machines off limits to children during program time, and discourage staff from using them also.
  • Water! - Serve water as the primary beverage every day. Serve tap water in pitchers on the snack table with cups. Jazz up the water with slices of fruit!
  • Engage staff as role models - We all know that children model what they see. It's extremely important that staff participate in healthy snack time and physical activity games during afterschool program hours. Staff should not bring soda, fast food, or other unhealthy snacks into the program even for personal use. Staff will project a positive attitude about eating well and being active when they participate in snack and active time with children. For more tips on staff participation, see the Tip Sheet "Everyone Participates!".
  • Keep parents informed - As you use the Food & Fun After School materials, let parents know what's happening. When parents pick up their child, talk to them about the activities their child participated in and the key health lessons they learned from the unit. Use the tools provided in the Parent Materials section to reinforce the lessons learned at after school, and to provide tips for healthy habits at home.