December Observances to Keep Us Healthy Through the Holidays


December is Root Vegetable Month!

We celebrated some terrific healthy observances in November, which is great—it helps balance all that turkey we eat at Thanksgiving! November included observances like America Recycles Day, World Kindness Day, Diabetes Awareness Week, and National Peanut Butter Lovers Month! One of our most popular stories in November was our update on the #GivingTuesday Annual Fund fundraiser—thanks to your generous donations, we raised over $5000 in just 24 hours! There is still time to donate to the Annual Fund; SNF will be accepting donations through the end of the year, December 31, 2014.

With just a few weeks left before winter break, making healthy choices and staying active are more important than ever—after all, we do a lot of eating during the holiday season! Here are a few healthy observances for December to help you create fun, healthy promotional tie-ins for your school nutrition program!

Root Vegetable Month

December is Root Vegetable Month! Just in time for the holidays, when we are pairing our turkeys and hams with things like potatoes (sweet and regular!), carrots, onions, and turnips, to name a few. Check out this USDA blog from December 2011 to learn more about the nutritious benefits of root vegetables, and to find delicious recipes to try!

Food Safety Month

Not only is it National Food Safety Month, 2014 marks the 20-year anniversary of National Food Safety Month! Created in 1994 to heighten awareness about the importance of food safety education, National Food Safety Month is celebrated yearly with a new theme and they provide free training activities and posters to the foodservice industry to help reinforce proper food safety practices and procedures.

Tomato & Winter Squash Month

In addition to being Root Vegetable Month, December is also Tomato and Winter Squash Month. Did you know that tomatoes were once called “love apples,” or that they were once considered poisonous and used ornamentally? Learn more about the delicious, nutritious tomato—and the winter squash—in this December 2012 blog from USDA.

National Handwashing Safety Awareness Week

Dr. Will Sawyer and the mascot Henry the Hand are working together to promote hand washing safety. Learn about the four principals of hand awareness, find healthful tips and videos, and purchase school and classroom kits designed to help communicate the importance of hand washing in a school setting.

World Soil Day

World Soil Day is recognized on December 5, 2014, and celebrates the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system, and as a vital contributor to the human commonwealth through its contribution to food, water, and energy security, and as a mitigator of biodiversity loss and climate change. This is a great opportunity for schools with gardens and greenhouses to incorporate soil into lesson planning.

National Thank You Note Day

Extend the Christmas spirit on December 26 by recognizing National Thank You Note Day. Encourage students to write thank you notes to their favorite teachers, coaches, school nutrition professionals, farmers, custodians, administrators—anyone and everyone who helps make their school a healthy place to learn!

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