School Nutrition Services Debuts New Vegetarian Items at Creighton’s Corner International Night

Written By: Stefanie Dove, RDN, Marketing Coordinator

Last month, School Nutrition Services partnered with Creighton’s Corner Elementary to take part in their International Night where 400 students and parents were able to sample and rate eight new vegetarian recipes for consideration on the school lunch menu.

These items included a chickpea stew developed by the School Nutrition Manager, Mayra Rosales, hummus, two versions of paneer from Loudoun-based Cuisine Solutions, yellow rice, mushroom quinoa, Thai-style quinoa and a Moroccan vegetable stew. Attendees were asked to complete a survey form so that the results could be calculated.

Evaluation Form 2017

The success of the event has allowed School Nutrition to implement some of these vegetarian recipes on the menu this month, with others, being added in the spring. School Nutrition has listed to the feedback from students, parents and the community, and have continuously added more hot vegetarian options for all students each day. If you have a recipe that you feel would be a great addition to the menu, please send the recipe to Stefanie Dove, RDN at


School Nutrition Helps Guilford Elementary Introduce PBL Unit

guilford taste party 5

Written By: Stefanie Dove, RDN, School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator

Last week, School Nutrition worked with the third-grade students at Guilford Elementary to kick off their year-long PBL project. The driving question for this unit is “how can we as young chefs, make healthy choices at school and at home?” Stefanie Dove, RDN and Marketing Coordinator, has collaborated with the teachers at Guilford to guide students with this project through a variety of activities from fruit and vegetable taste tests, recipe writing and development, cooking, and menu planning.

The introduce this project, Willowsford Farm and School Nutrition Services donated produce for all third-grade students, teachers and their parents to sample a variety of seasonal produce. The taste party included: broccoli, purple cabbage, radishes, spinach, carrots, apples, pears, roasted squash and beets. All students tried the items together while discussing the importance of trying new foods and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables to fuel their bodies with essential vitamins and minerals. At the end of the taste party, 10 students were randomly selected to take bags of produce home with them so that they could encourage their families to try new foods as well.

willowsford 2

For more information on this Project-Based Learning (PBL) project or to collaborate on a project or nutrition education activity, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at


School Nutrition Gears Up to Celebrate National School Breakfast Week

Getting More Students to Begin their Day with Breakfast
“Take the School Breakfast Challenge” Encourages Loudoun County Families to Choose Breakfast at School

Ashburn, VA –February 23, 2017 – Busy weekday mornings make it a challenge for families to find time for a healthy breakfast. However, US Department of Agriculture data show that more students are starting their day with a nutritious breakfast in their school cafeterias. To encourage more families to take advantage of the healthy choices available with school breakfast, Loudoun County Public Schools will recognize National School Breakfast Week during March 6-10, 2017.


Cedar Lane Elementary students enjoying breakfast

The National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) campaign theme, “School Breakfast Challenge”, reminds the entire school community that school breakfast provides a healthy, energizing start to the day for students. Students will be encouraged to “Take the Challenge” from March 6-10 with special menus, decorations, cafeteria events, and more. Many schools will be offering special prizes and giveaways all week. Cedar Lane Elementary will be promoting the newest school breakfast trend: egg pops on Tuesday, March 7th. Harmony Middle School is celebrating all week long, offering free breakfasts to all students on select days. They will also have a #LCPSBreakfast selfie booth where they can take pictures while enjoying breakfast and students can cast their school breakfast votes with a customized ballot. Lovettesville Elementary will host special breakfast guests all week long, including the mayor. At Smart’s Mill Middle School, the new Breakfast After the Bell program launched in January, which now allows students a second chance to get school breakfast after the bell rings. Students will see special breakfast items featured on the menu during this week, including the launch of our new fruit and yogurt smoothie program.


Students at Cedar Lane ES decorated breakfast bags to promote healthy eating

“A healthy breakfast at the start of the day is one way to ensure students are getting the best education they can,” said Dr. Becky Bays, Director of School Nutrition. “National School Breakfast Week helps us educate parents and students about all the healthy and appealing choices we offer”. The district serves over 5,104 breakfast meals daily through the federally funded School Breakfast Program. Over 350 school nutrition professionals in Loudoun prepare breakfast and lunches every day that meet federal nutrition standards – limiting fat, calories and sodium – and encourage students to choose from the fruits, vegetables and whole grains offered with school meals.

Students can select from healthy breakfast options daily with everything from cereal, breakfast sandwiches, open faced breakfast toast, yogurt smoothies, freshly baked cinnamon rolls, whole grain banana bread, and a variety of breakfast bars. Breakfast also includes a fresh milk, fresh fruit, and 100% juice. Students receive all of this for $2.10. If a student qualifies for free or reduced lunches, breakfast will also be at no cost.


Principal Waldman at Smart’s Mill Middle School with the new Breakfast After the Bell cart.

National School Breakfast Week was launched in 1989 to raise awareness of the availability of the School Breakfast Program to all children and to promote the links between eating a good breakfast, academic achievement and healthy lifestyles. The “Take the School Breakfast Challenge” is made possible by the nonprofit School Nutrition Association, Kellogg’s and Potatoes USA. Parents and students can follow the fun on

For more information about schools meals, visit or

Media contact:
Stefanie Dove
(571) 252-6502


School Nutrition Partnering With Whole Foods For Free Community Event In Loudoun County

Loudoun County School Nutrition Services is partnering with Whole Foods in Ashburn along with various community partners to host the first ever, Healthy Living In Loudoun Day!! There will be cooking demos, nutrition education sessions, games, and physical activities for all ages.

Healthy Living in Loudon

Nutrition education sessions will be held every hour and will be conducted by George Mason Graduate Students along with LCPS Registered Dietitian, Stefanie Dove.  Below is a preview of what the nutrition sessions will include.

Nutrition Education Workshops: Micronutrients across the Lifespan

Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals required in small amounts for healthy growth and development. This workshop will consist of a series of talks focused on how to select and prepare foods to meet micronutrient requirements across different stages of the life cycle.

10 – 11 am

 SESSION A: PREGNANCY & BREASTFEEDING (Grocery Department Focus: Dairy)

Presented by: Shehla Dhar, Hillary Klemmt, Alyson Smith, Yuhui Wang

Nutrition & Food Studies, George Mason University

Pregnancy and lactation are critical periods of a woman’s life. It can be confusing and overwhelming to know which vitamins and minerals are important during these life stages. This presentation will focus on three essential micronutrients required in increased quantities to support the growing and developing fetus and infant:

  • Folate (B9): protects against neural tube defects. Found in green, leafy vegetables and enriched grains (bread, cereal, pasta).
  • Iron: essential to making hemoglobin, which provides oxygen to the fetus. Found in meat, poultry, fish, and legumes.
  • Vitamin A: involved in gene expression, cell growth, vision, and immunity. Found in sweet potatoes, carrots and dark leafy greens.

Consumption of these foods may differ due to cultural or ethnic differences. For example, vegetarians may have a difficult time getting adequate iron. Therefore, this presentation will discuss how to meet the requirements for these micronutrients in ways that are feasible and flexible across different diets. We will be demonstrating how to prepare “Paneer Panzanella” a nutrient dense fresh cheese salad.

11 am – 12 pm


(Grocery Department Focus: Fruits/Vegetables)

 Presented by:  Stefanie Dove, RDN, CDN

Registered Dietitian and School Nutrition Marketing Specialist,

Loudoun County Public Schools

 We will focus on encouraging small children to eat a variety of colorful foods in order to maximize their nutrient intake. Introducing children to new foods requires some work as studies show it typically takes 3-4 times of being exposed to a new food for a child to accept it.  The colors that fruits and vegetables have are directly related to the vitamins and minerals that they contain.  For example, carrots and cantaloupe contain beta-carotene, which is essential for eyesight, while dark leafy greens are high in vitamin K, which plays an important role in bone health.  We will discuss the appropriate meal and snack sizes for various age groups.  Parents will be provided with ideas and tips on how to encourage small children to try new foods as well as traditional recipes with a twist, such as macaroni and cheese with a butternut sauce.  We will be preparing a rainbow veggie wrap that is easy to prepare and can be modified based on the preferences of the child. 

12 – 1 pm

 SESSION C: ADOLESCENTS & TEENAGERS (Grocery Department Focus: Snack Foods)

Presented by: Yealim Kim, Liang Li, Pam Redburn, Adam Scott

Nutrition & Food Studies, George Mason University

 We will focus on vitamin D and calcium. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, which is needed to help develop bones and muscles during important periods of growth such as puberty. Dairy is a natural dietary source of calcium yet, most non-dairy beverages (soy, almond, coconut, etc.) may be fortified with vitamin D and calcium. Smoothies are affordable and easy to prepare snacks. Soy beverage is an alternative to dairy for those who are lactose intolerant yet, is still high in protein. Almond and coconut beverages tend to be lower in protein. Banana can add potassium and vitamin B6. Frozen fruits add vitamin C. Smoothies can be modified to include ingredients, such as seeds and nuts, which increase calories and nutrient content. As opposed to a candy bar or a bag of chips, smoothies can provide a nutrient dense snack or meal replacement. We will be preparing “Laney Loo Loo” smoothies, a recipe developed by Lucketts Elementary School student, Delaney Pearson.


1 – 2 pm

 SESSION D: ADULT ATHLETES (Grocery Department Focus: Protein Bars)

Presented by: Jillian Eckert, Xiao Han, Fangsu Jia, Leeann Kitzhaber, Garrett Trump

Nutrition & Food Studies, George Mason University

We will focus our presentation on the vitamin B-complex and its importance for adult athletes. Thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and biotin (B7) are all involved in energy production during exercise. Folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12) are required for protein synthesis, the production of red blood cells, as well as in the repair and maintenance of muscle tissue. We will discuss food sources and other ways to add B-vitamins to your diet. Lastly, we will demonstrate how to make a no bake dairy-based protein bar high in B-vitamins. We will compare the macronutrients and micronutrients of our homemade protein bar with some of the other bars on the market.


2 – 3 pm

 SESSION E: WOMEN’S HEALTH (Grocery Department Focus: Grains)

Presented by: Elizabeth Frimpong, Barbara Gomperts, Chau Nguyen, Xin Zhao

Nutrition & Food Studies, George Mason University

B-vitamins protect women’s health in many ways. Vitamin B9 (folate) impact the formation of red blood cells and may improve heart health. Vitamins B12 (cobalamin) and B6 (pyridoxine) may prevent fatigue and brain fog, stabilize mood, reduce depression, and aid in weight control. B-vitamins are found across a number of food groups including: fruits, vegetables, beans, fortified whole grains and cereal products, and animal source foods. Rich in micronutrients, whole wheat pasta and fresh vegetables are good low-cost sources of B-vitamins; small portions are required for adequate daily intake. We will prepare a simple, colorful, vitamin B-rich pasta salad using whole wheat elbow macaroni, a variety of fresh vegetables, feta cheese and topped with a fresh organic dressing.

3 – 4 pm

 SESSION F: SENIORS (Grocery Department Focus: Canned Foods)

Presented by: Yu Ping Lin, Michaela Mlejova, Worawarin Ratanawijit, Richard Xiao

Nutrition & Food Studies, George Mason University

 For this workshop, we will focus on controlling sodium intake and optimizing folate (B9) intake to reduce blood pressure and improve heart health. We will provide tips for selecting canned goods. Canned foods are convenient and have a long shelf life, but they are recognized for being high in dietary sodium which can negatively affect blood pressure and kidney function. However, a thorough draining and rinsing of canned products eliminates sodium from the surface to help individuals with high blood pressure cut their sodium intake. We will talk about how to decrease high blood pressure through the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and the importance of vitamin B9 in improving cardiac health with good dietary sources like canned beans. We will prepare a mixed beans and greens salmon salad.

Click here to sign up for any of the FREE nutrition education sessions.