“Mom, what are we bringing to school tomorrow for my birthday?”
If you’re like most busy parents, your child’s innocent question may send you into panic-stricken stammering. “Um…well…it’s a surprise. A surprise! Yes, that’s it. You just wait until tomorrow and you’ll see.”
No, you didn’t forget your child’s birthday, it’s just that darn societal expectation that you’ll bring enough goodies to feed every kid in your child’s class. So, what’s it going to be? Stay up late and scour Pinterest for something, anything, that you can throw together, or sneak out to the store and eliminate some of the hassle?
For parents at some schools in Washington, Michigan, Colorado, Kentucky, and Minnesota, sugary sweets are no longer an option. This so-called “cupcake ban,” as reported by Shape Magazine, means that schools are requiring non-edible treats like pencils, stickers, and other trinkets be given.
Is this a good idea? Perhaps, if parents just aren’t complying with school recommendations to bring healthier treats. But in general, we as parents shouldn’t wait to be policed by the schools. Let’s take it upon ourselves to share healthier treats in classroom celebrations.
Here are a few homemade options that are wholesome and kid-approved!
Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pie Sandwiches — Remember those cream-filled guilty-pleasure cookies in plastic packaging from your childhood? Now, they can be a non-guilty pleasure your own child (and all their friends) can enjoy!
Strawberry Lemonade Muffins — These are so decadent, you’d never guess they’re sweetened with just strawberries, honey, and applesauce. Whole grain flour and oats add a nutritional boost.
Raw Sunflower Butter Cookies — This no-bake, allergy-friendly treat is so simple and so healthy it’s hard to believe it’s real! Just four clean, wholesome ingredients will make a batch of two dozen to share.
Tasty Trail Mix — It’s crunchy, yummy, and customizable. Bonus fun when you bring separate bowls of the ingredients and let the kids have fun making their own!
Fruit Kabobs with Yogurt Dip: This treat is not only delicious and healthy, but fun to eat! Your child can even take part in the action by helping assemble the kabobs.
Grab-and-go from the store ideas
- GoPicnic Snack Boxes — Bigger budget? Smaller crowd? The new breakfast boxes make great snacks, like this fruit & nut mix, turkey sausage stick, and applesauce.
- Squeeze fruit pouches — Perfect for the smaller hands in lower grades.
- Yogurt tubes — Freeze if you can and deliver an unexpected treat!
- Annie’s Bunnies graham crackers — the Friends mix is a popular fave!
- Angie’s Popcorn — Divide a large bag in to single party bags or buy the single-serve bags.
- Chips and Salsa — Every party has chips and dip, and an older classroom would enjoy sampling a few salsas with blue corn tortilla chips.
“Losing cupcakes may seem like a big deal because we’re making the change now, but I don’t think people will really miss them,” Christopher Ochner, Ph.D. told Shape Magazine.
There are many more great ideas than those listed here, and we’d love to hear what yours are!