Frederick Douglas Students Take A Journey Through The Garden With School Nutrition

fde kinderWhat started out as a rainy day turned into one of sunshine for kindergartners at Frederick Douglas Elementary School as they partook in a special food and nutrition lesson on April 20th. Each student participated in a sensory activity where they used their senses to guess which vegetable was in the mystery bag. As little detectives, the kindergartners described how the vegetable felt, whether it was large, small, hard, soft, or fuzzy and guessed which vegetable it could be. They journeyed through the life cycle of a vegetable plant; starting with a seed, growing to a sprout, and ending with a vegetable. But the journey wasn’t complete without tasting the fruit of gardening.

LCPS Nutrition Intern lesson

The kindergarten classes assembled vegetable boats out of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow bell peppers, watermelon radishes, and hummus. They loved playing with their food and tasting it too! One of the most common reactions was how they thought a pepper would be spicy, but they were surprised to find the bell peppers are sweet! Other students mentioned how they loved dipping their veggies in hummus for some extra flavor.

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Overall, the cucumber was the crowd favorite, however, the students were open to trying all the vegetables. This supports what current research is stating. Research shows that when children are in  direct exposure of fruits and vegetables it is associated with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables and an increased confidence in trying new ones. This is one of the reasons that over half Loudoun County Public Schools have school gardens. LCPS uses their school gardens as an educational and agricultural resource for their students to become more familiar with fruits and vegetable, to be more willing to eat them, and to teach healthy lifestyle behaviors.

 

For more information on the Farm to School program in Loudoun County or to schedule a nutrition education lesson at your school, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN and School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator (Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org).

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School Nutrition Services Brings FOODPLAY Productions to Aldie Elementary

This past July, members of the School Nutrition Services Department attended the annual School Nutrition Association conference in San Antonio, Texas where they met members of FOODPLAY Productions.  In September, it was announced that one lucky school from LCPS would be awarded a free FOODPLAY assembly.  School Nutrition Services selected Aldie Elementary as the recipient for this assembly that was held on November 18th during American Education Week.

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FOODPLAY’s fun-filled performance puts healthy eating and active lifestyles center stage. Along with a school-wide assembly performance, schools receive extensive follow-up resources to keep the messages alive in the classroom, cafeteria, and at home, all year long. The highly spirited program helps get everyone at school excited and on board to work together to create healthier schools and improve children’s eating and physical activity habits.

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During the school-wide assembly program, children meet “Janey (or Johnny) Junkfood,” whose dream is to become a juggling super star. The problem – s/he keeps dropping the balls because of her/his poor eating habits. Like many of today’s children, JJ skips breakfast, fills up on soda and candy, zones out in front of the TV and computer, and then
wonders why s/he’s sick, tired, and out of practice. With the help of the “Coach” of the National Junior Juggling Team, and the audience, JJ discovers how to juggle the foods s/he eats to wind up with a balanced diet. Kids learn the importance of fueling up with breakfast, and if they don’t get breakfast at home, they can get breakfast at school. They learn how to eat to win using USDA’s MyPlate food guide, filling half their plates with fresh fruits and vegetables, and choosing whole grains, low-fat calcium-rich sources, and lean protein foods. Students take back a host of fun ways to be physically active every day including participating in sports, de-stressing with yoga, dancing indoors on a rainy day, and taking walks with their families.

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The program empowers kids with the skills needed to make sense of a confusing food marketplace by seeing through TV commercials and deciphering food labels. While health experts recommend that people consume less than six teaspoons of added sugar a day, kids are amazed to discover that there are ten teaspoons of sugar in one can of cola, and that for many sports drinks, sugar is the main ingredient! Coach teaches kids how to “Read It Before You Eat It!” and explains that the main ingredient is listed first on ingredient labels. And while a food or beverage may be advertised as “natural” or “nutritious” – there are tricks along the way. There are, for example, many names for sugar, including “high fructose corn syrup,” and several can be found in one food product.

FOODPLAY Makes Good Eating Great Fun

To test their nutrition smarts, kids participate in the “Super Star Snack Attack!” The challenge for the three game show contestants is to choose the healthiest snacks from a variety of fresh and processed packaged items. The winning snacks turn out to be the ones that they can prepare themselves such as popcorn, veggie grab bags, yogurt parfait, rainbow fruit sticks, and natural soda made by mixing half fruit juice, half seltzer. Kids discover that choosing fresh foods is not only good for their health, but it’s good for the health of the planet. The contestants receive “FoodPlay Fruit + Veggie Tracker Bands” – a fun tool that encourages kids to eat more fruits and veggies throughout their day, and the audience receives snack cards to bring home and post on their fridge. As students return to their classrooms to the beat of “Treat Your Body Right!” – FOODPLAY’s message comes in loud and clear: feed healthy foods to your body, positive messages to your mind, and have fun being active every day.

For more information, free nutrition resources, recipes, and tips, visit: www.foodplay.com
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