Birthdays and other special occasions are important to young children and their families. In many cultures special occasions are celebrated with food. Promote healthy eating by using nutritious foods prepared and presented in special ways, rather than relying on ‘sometimes foods’. If sometimes foods are used for special occasions, small, children’s portions should be offered. Limit the number of sometimes foods served on any occasion, and offer something healthy at the same time. For example, one small piece of cake along with some fruit. In settings 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 their 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.

Use the food and nutrition policy to explain the setting’s views on celebration food. The food and nutrition policy should be developed in conjunction with parents and reflect the views that have been agreed upon.