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Hooked on Health Committee

Alternatives to food rewards

Food rewards can be an easy way to bring about an immediate behavior change in students. So why change a reward system that seems to work? Because rewarding children with food can contribute to health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. It also interferes with learning to eat in response to hunger and fullness cues. Giving donuts and soft drinks to students may seem like a harmless treat for a job well done, but rewarding children with unhealthy food can develop habits that stay with them throughout their school careers...and their lives.

Review the information below for healthy alternatives to food reward for students of all ages.

Elementary school students:

Trips to a treasure box filled with nonfood items such as stickers, bubbles, jump ropes, puzzles, key chains, yo-yo's, trading cards, pencil toppers, etc

Bank system (use play money to be used for privileges)

Play favorite game

Extra recess 

Make deliveries to office

Sit by friends

Help teach class

Eat lunch with teacher

School supplies


Paperback book


Middle school students:

Sit with friends

Five minute chat break at end of class

Reduced homework

Extra credit

Fun video

Computer time

Eat lunch or have class outside


High school students:

Extra credit

Fun video

Reduced homework

Donated movie coupons

Free Choice" time at end of class



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