And the Winner of the Holiday Cheese Party Contest is….

… Shannon B from New Jersey!! For her thoughtful review of the Wonder Wheel! Food for Healthy Kids and a Healthy World lesson, Shannon has won Cabot cheeses and $100 to put towards the purchase of healthy snacks for a classroom holiday party. CheeseParty_Winner

As you start to plan your holiday party, whether for a classroom, a youth group, friends or family, be sure to consider how the choices you make will impact the health of your body, the environment and your community. Keep reading for tips to have a more sustainable holiday season.

Choose foods that are healthy for people. This means not going over board with sugary treats, high calorie finger-foods or processed snacks. It’s all about moderation and the availability of healthy choices. Make sure you’re offering plenty of alternatives to sugar cookies and brownies, such as interesting yogurt-based dips for baked crackers and chips, veggies or fruits.  Making foods yourself gives you the chance to be creative and raises your awareness of the ingredients involved in creating your favorite dishes. Not to mention that cooking can be a fun activity for the family! Check out GEF’s Pinterest board for healthy snack ideas that kids and adults will love!

Choose foods and supplies that are healthy for your community by seeking out food produced by cooperatives and local providers of fresh produce, baked goods or party supplies. Not only will you be supporting your local economy and getting to know your neighbors, you can enjoy the fact that your party goods were probably sourced locally, therefore reducing your contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.  By supporting a cooperative, you are effectively supporting the families, groups and communities who are part of that cooperative. You can learn more about the cooperative business model and how it benefits communities on Cabot Creamery Cooperative’s website.

Choose foods and supplies that are healthy for the environment. Did you know that meat, and especially beef, have extremely high water footprints? According to an estimate from National Geographic, a single pound of beef requires almost 1,800 gallons of water to produce!!! Check out their hidden water use calculator to compare apples to oranges, chicken to beef, and more. As you shop, also consider the packaging of the products you’re selecting. Have they used recycled paper or thick, non-recyclable plastic? Is the environment a factor in the package design? And finally, be mindful of how much you buy to avoid food waste. Roughly 33 million tons of food waste reach landfills each year in the United States. Food that rots in landfills become a significant source of methane emissions, a greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Including food waste with trash also costs more to haul away because it’s so heavy. Learn more about waste reduction in GEF’s Waste Reduction Challenge.

Enjoy the holidays and always keep sustainability in mind as you make your every day life choices! Small actions can have a big collective impact.

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About Green Education Foundation (GEF)

Mission Green Education Foundation (GEF), a non-profit organization, is committed to creating a sustainable future through education. Sustainability Education provides educators with the real-world applied learning models that connect science, technology, and math education with the broader human concerns of environmental, economic, and social systems. GEF provides curriculum and resources to K-12 students and teachers worldwide with the goal of challenging youth to think holistically and critically about global environmental concerns and solutions. Visit www.greeneducationfoundation.org to register for free and to gain full access to GEF’s comprehensive library of standards-based lessons and activities.
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