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504.11 Wellness Appendices

Appendix F: Healthy Fundraising

A Healthy School Environment

Very little nutritional value such as candy, baked goods, and other foods like soda are commonly used for fundraising at schools. Schools typically make money selling these foods, but students pay the price. An environment that constantly provides children with sweets is promoting unhealthy eating habits that can have a lifelong impact. As we fact a national epidemic of overweight children, many schools are turning to healthy fundraising alternatives.

Benefits of Healthy Fundraising

Healthy Kids Learn Better: Research clearly demonstrates that good nutrition is linked to better behavior and academic performance. To provide the best possible learning environment for children, schools must also provide an environment that supports healthy behaviors.

Provide Regular Messages: Fundraising with healthy foods and non-food items demonstrates a school commitment to promoting healthy behaviors. It supports the classroom lessons students are learning about health, instead of contradicting them.

Promotes a Healthy School Environment: Students need to receive consistent, reliable, healthy information and be given plenty of opportunity to use it. Finding healthy alternatives to fundraising is an important part of providing a healthy school environment.

Consequences of Unhealthy Fundraising

Compromises Classroom Learning: Selling unhealthy food items contradicts the nutritional messages taught in the classroom. Schools are designed to teach and model appropriate skills and behaviors. Nutrition principles taught in the classroom are meaningless if they are contradicted by other activities that promote unhealthy choices. Selling candy and other sweets is like saying “You need to eat healthy foods to feel and do your best, but it is more important for us to make money than for you to be healthy and do well.” Classroom learning and nutrition remains strictly theoretical if the school environment regularly promotes unhealthy behaviors.

Promotes the Wrong Message: Selling unhealthy foods provides a message that schools care more about making money than student health. We would never think of raising money with anything else that increases student health risks, but food fundraisers are often overlooked. As schools promote healthy lifestyle choices to reduce student health risks and improve learning, school fundraisers must be included.

Contributes to Poor Health: Chocolate, candy, soda, baked goods, and other foods that are commonly used as fundraisers provide unnecessary calories and displaced healthier food choices. Skyrocketing obesity rates among children are resulting in serious health consequences, such as increased incidence of type II diabetes and high blood pressure.

Fundraising Ideas

Schools can help promote a healthy learning environment by using healthy fundraising alternatives.

  • Things You Can Do:
    • Auction
    • Bike-a-thon
    • Bowling night/bowl-a-thon
    • Craft fairs
    • Carnivals
    • Car Wash (pre-sell tickets as gifts)
    • Dances
    • Dinner fund-raiser with a live or silent auction
    • Family game night
    • Family/glamour portraits
    • Festivals
    • Golf tournament
    • Jump rope-a-thon
    • Magic show
    • Raffle
      • Movie passes
      • Them bags
      • Gift certificates (gym, restaurant, store)
      • Yearbooks/class rings
      • VIP parking spaces
      • School event tickets
      • Salon/spa
    • Read-a-thon
    • Recycling cans/bottles/paper
    • Rent-a-teen helper
      • Rake leaves, water garden, mow lawns, wash dog
    • Science fair
    • Singing telegrams
    • Skate night/skate-a-thon
    • Spelling bee
    • Talent shows
    • Tennis/horseshoe competition
    • 3-on-3 basketball tournament
    • Treasure hunt/Scavenger hunt
    • Walk-a-thon
    • Workshops/classes
  • Items You Can Sell
    • Balloon bouquets
    • Books and cookbooks
    • Brick/stone/tile memorials
    • Candles
    • Crafts – House decorations
    • Coupon books
    • Discount coupon books
    • Emergency kits for cars
    • First aid kits
    • Football or basketball seats
    • Fruit and nut baskets
    • Garage sale/yard sale
    • Garden seeds
    • Gift baskets
    • Gift certificates
    • Gift wrap/ribbons
    • Greeting cards – Valentines
    • Hats
    • Kitchen ware
    • Lunch box auctions
    • Magazine subscription
    • Music, CDs, videos
    • Plants, bulbs, and flowers
    • Pet treats and toys
    • School event planners/calendars
    • School spirit teams
      • Bumper stickers/decal
      • Calendars
      • Cookbook made by school
      • T-shirts/sweatshirts
      • Mugs, water bottles, souvenir cups
    • School supplies
    • Student artwork
    • Stationery
    • Trail mix

For More Information on a healthy school environment, please contact Ankeny Public Schools Food & Nutrition Department (515) 965-9713 ext. 1216.

Appendix G: Alternatives to Food Rewards

Food is commonly used to reward students for good behavior and academic performance. It is an easy, inexpensive and powerful tool to bring about immediate short-term behavior change. Yet, using food as a reward has many negative consequences that go far beyond the short-term benefits of good behavior or performance.

Research clearly demonstrates that healthy kids learn better. To provide the best possible learning environment for children, schools must provide an environment that supports healthy behaviors. Students need to receive consistent, reliable health information and ample opportunity to use it. Finding alternatives to food rewards is an important part of providing a healthy school environment.

Consequences of Using Food as Reward

Compromises Classroom Learning: Schools are institutions designed to teach and model appropriate behaviors and skills to children. Nutrition principals taught in the class-room are meaningless if they are contradicted by rewarding children with candy and other sweets. It is like saying “You need to eat healthy foods to feel and do your best, but when you behave or perform your best, you will be rewarded with unhealthy food.” Classroom learning about nutrition will remain strictly theoretical if schools regularly model unhealthy behaviors.

Contributes to Poor Health: Foods commonly used as rewards (like candy and cookies) can contribute to health problems for children, e.g. obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cavities. Food rewards provide unneeded calories and displace healthier food choices.

Encourages Over-consumption of Unhealthy Foods: Foods used as rewards are typically “empty calorie” foods – high fat, sugar, and salt
with little nutritional value. Decreasing the availability of empty calorie foods is one strategy schools can use to address the current childhood obesity epidemic.

Contributes to Poor Eating Habits: Rewarding with food can interfere with children’s response to hunger cues. This teaches kids to eat when they are not hungry as a reward to themselves, and may contribute to the development of disordered eating.

Increase Preference for Sweets: Food preferences for both sweet and non-sweet foods increase significantly when foods are presented as rewards. This can teach children to prefer unhealthy foods.

More than 15 percent of children are overweight, a three-fold increase from the 1970’s. At 400,000 deaths per year, poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle are fast becoming the leading cause of death in the United States, just behind smoking at 435,000 deaths per year.


Ogden CL., Flegal, KM Carrol MD and Johnson CL. Prevalence and Trends in Overweight Among US Children and Adolescents, 1999- 2000. JAMA 2002;228:1728-1732.

Mokdad AH, Marks JS, Stroup DF, Gerberding JL. Actual causes of death in the United States. 2000. JAMA 2004; 291(10); 1238-1246.

Alternatives to Food Rewards Ideas

Schools can help promote a healthy environment by using nonfood rewards. The ideas below are just a beginning and can be modified for different ages. Be creative, and don’t forget the simple motivation of recognizing students for good work or behavior.

  • Elementary School Students
    • Make deliveries to office
    • Teach class
    • Sit by friends
    • Eat lunch with teacher or principal
    • Private lunch in classroom with a friend
    • Be a helper in the classroom
    • Play a favorite game or do puzzles
    • Stickers, pencils, bookmarks
    • Certificates
    • Extra recess
    • Walk with the principal or teacher
    • Fun physical activity break
    • School supplies
    • Trip to treasure box filled with nonfood items (stickers, pencils, erasers, bookmarks, desktop tents)
    • Dance to favorite music in classroom
    • Paperback book
    • Show-and-tell
    • Bank system – earn play money for privileges
    • Teacher or volunteer reads special book to class
    • Teacher performs special skill (singing, cart wheel, guitar playing, etc.)
    • Read outdoors or enjoy class outdoor
    • Have extra art time
    • Have “free choice” time at the end of the day or end of the class period
    • Listen with headset to a book on audiotape
    • Items that can only be used on special occasions (special art supplies, computer games, toys)
  • Middle School Students
    • Sit with friends
    • Listen to music while working at desk
    • Five-minute chat break at end of class
    • Fun brainteaser activities
    • Computer time
  • High School Students
    • Donated coupons to video stores, music stores, or movies
    • Drawings for donated prizes among students who meet certain grade standards

Share what works! Let us know your strategies to motivate students so we can share with others.

For more information on a healthy school environment, please contact Ankeny Public Schools Food & Nutrition Department at (515) 965-9713 ext. 1216.

Appendix H: Healthy Celebrations – Promoting a Healthy School Environment

Birthday parties and holiday celebrations at school provide a unique opportunity to help make healthy eating fun and exciting for children. Schools can take advantage of classroom celebrations to serve food that tastes good, is nutritious, and provides students with an opportunity for nutrition education experiences.

But It’s Just a Cookie

Typically, foods for school celebrations include cookies, candy, cupcakes, and soda. So what’s the harm? There is nothing wrong with an occasional treat, but unhealthy choices have become the norm rather than the exception. Parties, treats used as classroom rewards, food fundraisers, vending machines, snacks and school stores constantly expose children to high-fat, high-sugar, low-nutrient choices.

Overall, our children’s eating habits are poor. Only two percent of children meet all Food Pyramid recommendations. Most children do not eat enough fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. Obesity rates among children are on the rise, with serious health consequences. Constant exposure to low-nutrient foods makes it difficult for children to learn how to make healthy food choices. By providing students with nutritious choices whenever food is available (including the classroom), schools can positively influence children’s eating habits.

Benefits of Healthy Celebrations

Healthy Kids Learn Better: Research clearly demonstrates that good nutrition is linked to better behavior and academic performance. To provide the best possible learning environment for children, schools must also provide an environment that supports healthy behaviors.

Provides Consistent Messages: Providing healthy classroom celebrations demonstrates a school commitment to promoting healthy behaviors. It supports the classroom lessons students are learning about health, instead of contradicting them. Healthy celebrations promote positive lifestyle choices to reduce student health risks and improve learning.

Promotes a Healthy School Environment: In order to positively change eating behaviors, students need to receive consistent, reliable health information and ample opportunity to use it. Healthy celebrations are an important part of providing a healthy school environment.

Creates Excitement About Nutrition: Children are excited about new and different things, including fun party activities and healthy snacks (see back for ideas). School staff and parents need not to worry that children will be disappointed if typical party foods are not served in the classroom. Holiday treats and traditional birthday parties with cake will still be available at home.

Protects Children with Food Allergies: When parents send in food, it is difficult to ensure the safety of children with food allergies. Schools can protect food allergic children by providing nonfood celebrations or, if food is served, obtaining it from known sources such as the school food service program.

How-To’s for Happy Healthy Parties

  • Plan several contrasting activities – active and quiet, indoor and outdoor, individual and group.
  • In addition to familiar games and food, offer something different. Children like adventure.
  • Plan creative experiences such as art, music, and cooking.
  • Involve children in planning and preparing the party. Let them make decorations and party favors.
  • Put food in its proper place. Refreshments should complement fun, not become the “main event.”
  • Be sure that each child receives a prize or favor, if such awards are given.
  • Don’t use food as rewards or prizes.
  • Choose foods for fun, good taste, and health. Parties that feature healthful foods provide opportunities for children to practice making wise food choices.

Healthy Celebration Ideas

Schools can help promote a positive learning environment by providing healthy celebrations that shift the focus from the food to the child. Choose a variety of activities, games, and crafts that children enjoy. When food is served, make it count with healthy choices! Parties can even incorporate a fun nutrition lesson by involving children in the planning and preparation of healthy snacks. Try these ideas and healthy foods at school parties and other celebrations.

Non-Food Ways to Celebrate

  • Ways for families to celebrate special events
    • Donate a book to the school library or classroom in honor of a child’s birthday
    • Donate funds to purchase new playground or physical education equipment in child’s name, such as jump ropes and balls
  • School or classroom celebrations
    • Allow extra recess time
    • Engage children in a special art project
    • Host a field day
    • Host an agriculture day – have a local farmer come in and have a taste test party
    • Play an indoor game of child’s choice
    • Play games outside
    • Take a walk around the school with principal or teacher
    • Take the children on a field trip
    • Turn on some music and dance

*Please be cognizant of allergies with the classroom.

For more information on a healthy school environment, please contact Ankeny Public Schools Food & Nutrition Department (515) 965-9713 ext. 1216.