Birthdays and other special occasions are important to young children and their families. In many cultures, special occasions are celebrated with food. To promote healthy eating, use nutritious foods prepared and presented in special ways, rather than relying on 'sometimes foods' for celebrations. If food is brought in for special occasions, encourage parents to choose nutritious foods.

If sometimes foods are used for special occasions, offer small, children's serves and consider also offering a fruit platter or other healthy option.

When parents provide food to share in the setting, ask that the food is in its original packaging, and includes a list of ingredients and use-by date. In setting where children have food allergies, non-food celebrations will be more appropriate.

Celebrations do not have to focus on food - there are other ways to celebrate. For example, on birthdays, children can wear a special party hat or a birthday badge or sticker. The group can sing 'Happy Birthday' and the birthday child can blow out a candle. Other occasions can be celebrated through art or craft activities where children paint, draw or make something, dress up or decorate in a special way.