Fudge, candy canes, Christmas cookies and punch - they will probably find their way to many Lawrence elementary school holiday parties this week.
But a new emphasis on healthy food choices next year means students will have to trade out those visions of sugar plums for visions of carrot sticks and broccoli.
"We're not taking a hard line here until '07-'08," said Bruce Passman, deputy superintendent for Lawrence's public schools.
Passman said there won't be a ban this year on sugary foods and beverages that parents can bring in for school parties.
"What we're doing this year is primarily - and even much of next year - is just encouraging parents to think and plan differently for classroom parties and classroom rewards," Passman said.
It's not until the 2007-08 school year that food and beverages brought into schools must comply with the school board's new wellness policy, he said.
This year, school administrators are working with Parent-Teacher Organizations and school site councils to remind parents what kinds of food items and beverages are healthy.
To determine what snacks are healthy, schools will follow these nutrient standards for treats served at school:
¢ Foods with no more than four grams of fat per 100 calories, except nuts or seeds.
¢ Foods with no more than nine grams of sugar per 100 calories, except fruit without added sugar.
¢ Foods with no more than 200 calories per serving.
"Mainly it's just soft encouragement at this point to think differently and bring different foods and beverages to school," Passman said.
Many of the schools are planning parties for Thursday, the last day of school before winter break, he said. Brochures have been provided to parents to help them make healthy choices.
For example, here are a few alternatives:
¢ Fruits and vegetables: Slices of apples, oranges, cantaloupe; apples with caramel dip; celery and peanut butter; salsa and baked chips.
¢ Grains: Trail mix or cereal mixes, granola bars, bagels and cream cheese, animal crackers, pretzels or popcorn.
¢ Dairy: String cheese, yogurt cups, low-fat pudding cups, cheese quesadillas.
¢ Proteins: Nut assortments, pizza with low-fat toppings, sandwiches with ham, turkey, cheese and low-fat condiments.
"What we're doing is encouraging parents to make wise choices about what they bring," said Paulette Strong, principal at Quail Run School.
"We are not going to be the food police," Strong said. "But we certainly want to start moving toward making good choices and modeling that for kids."
Strong said this year is a transition year, so it will be up to parents and teachers what they want to do.
"We're talking about a huge cultural shift that needs to happen in our country," Strong said. "And this is not something we can do overnight. And it's not something that's black and white the first year. ... It's a gentle process."