Policy Point Wednesday - Healthier Celebrations at School

Policy Point Wednesday - Healthier Celebrations at School

Last May, I wrote about how classroom parties are a significant source of empty calories, and how simply setting out cut-up fruit can improve school-party culture. I haven't had much opportunity to put this into practice because, fortunately, Sparky's current school doesn't have a culture of regular classroom parties.

Last week, however, Sparky came home, and excitedly said, "Mom, for the Christmas party, I'm supposed to bring Lychees, Rambutans and Starfruit. Maybe Dragonfruit and Kiwiberries, but especially Rambutans." I wondered out loud about such an unusual request from a 6th grade teacher, and finally asked if he signed himself up to bring those particular fruits - yep, he did. "What did everyone else sign up for?" I ask (after pointing out that I don't know if those fruits are in season. Gulp.) "Oh, cupcakes and candy and stuff." he says, disinterestedly.

Though I certainly would have baked something if he'd asked, especially considering this was the first party he'd had this year, I wasn't about to let this opportunity pass by! I realized that the fruits he was describing might be a hard sell among the cupcakes and cookies, so I went to our local ethnic market and bought the most bizarre fruit I could find (sadly, lychees and rambutans are out of season.) I then made a little poster with a world map and all of the fruits on it (and, surprisingly, the only continents we missed were Australia and Antarctica.) I added a little description and a how-to for eating them, and any little curious facts I could find.

The kids, even though they were jaded tweens, were fascinated. Sparky reported that not all of them tried the fruit, but his "station" was very popular even among all the candies and cakes. There was apparently a lot of discussion and debate while his classmates demolished the Starfruit, Clementines, and the Lady apples - and the braver ones tasted the Kumquats and Cape Gooseberries. I think just having something a little out of the ordinary made the fruit tray seem really celebratory.

You can see a close-up of my "Around The World With Bizarre Fruits" map here and here. How many of these fruits have you tried?


Filed under: Food News

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