15 LCPS Schools Win Big With School Garden Scholarships

This spring, School Nutrition Services and Loudoun County Health Department (LCHD) teamed up to award 15 schools with scholarships to help develop and sustain their school garden programs. The partnership between LCHD and School Nutrition has been ongoing for the past 3 years. They have supported LCPS school garden initiatives by supplying nearly 150 indoor hydroponic self-watering vertical garden towers, soil, seeds, and garden kits to PK – 12 classrooms in the county. Jennifer Brady, Obesity and Chronic Disease Prevention Educator for LCHD, said “Pairing hands-on gardening education with nutrition education has been shown to increase a child’s likelihood to try new vegetables and this is the outcome we have heard anecdotally from teachers. LCPS kids are enjoying kale after growing it in their garden towers much to the surprise of their parents!”

Dr. Becky Domokos-Bays, Director of School Nutrition, described the school garden program as “an inter-disciplinary approach to nutrition education accomplished by coordinating school gardens, school cafeterias and physical education provides students with authentic, rich experiences that is helping them make nutritious choices is exciting. Students of all ages and abilities are learning life long positive health habits through the this valuable partnership.”

This year, thanks to funding from the Virginia Department of Health, LCHD provided $15,000 in additional supplies to gardens in 15 schools based on the individual needs of each school. Interested teachers completed an evaluation of their gardens and were able to request funding for the specific items they needed to take their school gardens to the next level. This ranged from lumber and rakes for gardens just starting out to more advanced gardening supplies like permaculture materials. School Nutrition Services utilized some of the funds received from their USDA Farm to School Planning Grant to provide additional supplies and tools to the select schools. They will also work with these schools during the upcoming school year to provide hands-on educational opportunities for the students.

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2018 School Garden Scholarship Winners:

Middleburg Charter Academy: $500
Lovettsville Elementary: $500
Mercer Middle : $1,000
Frederick Douglass Elementary: $3,000
Meadowland Elementary: $1,000
Rolling Ridge Elemetary: $1,000
Heritage High: $500
Loudoun Valley High: $500
Sully Elementary: $1,000
Smarts Mill Middle: $1,000
Cedar Lane Elementary: $500
Belmont Station Elementary: $1,000
JM Lunsford Middle: $1,000
Park View High: $1,000
Pinebrook Elementary: $1,500

For more information on school gardens or the farm to school program in LCPS, contact Stefanie Dove, RDN, SNS at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org.

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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 Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org

School Nutrition Helps Guilford Elementary Introduce PBL Unit

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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.

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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 Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org

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Celebrate Better Breakfast Month With Our Peach Yogurt Parfaits

In honor of Better Breakfast Month, why not celebrate by recreating one of LCPS Cafe’s student favorites: yogurt parfaits! This month, we are sourcing locally grown peaches in some of our schools, so our peach parfaits are always a hit with students.

Here is our easy-to-follow recipe so that you can enjoy these when school is not in session!

2 medium-sized ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and diced (about 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups yogurt (we use low-fat vanilla, but you can use can use plain, vanilla, or low-fat Greek, Coconut or regular yogurt)
1/2 cup granola (our students love cinnamon granola)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, toss the peaches with cinnamon and set aside.
  2. Using a 8-12-ounce cup or jar, assemble the parfaits by adding a layer of yogurt (about 1/4 cup) to the bottom.
  3. Next add 3-4 tablespoons of the peaches on top of the yogurt and then add 2-3 tablespoons of granola on top of the peaches.
  4. Repeat layers filling to the top of the cup.
  5. You can top the parfaits with a small spoonful of peaches, a fresh peach slice, or another fruit and a sprinkle with extra granola.

*This recipe makes 2 peach parfaits.

This parfait is the perfect protein-packed snack or meal. The yogurt is filled with protein, calcium and vitamin D and the peaches are loaded with fiber and vitamin C! Granola provides essential carbohydrates students need to fuel their day.  In Loudoun, all of our granola is whole-grain rich, so it is full of fiber to keep them satisfied longer.

In addition to the parfait, students can grab an additional fresh fruit, 100% juice to complete their breakfast.  We also offer parfaits during lunch where they are paired with a whole-grain bagel and low-fat string cheese in addition to their fresh fruit and vegetable options for the day.

For more information about the menu options in Loudoun County, visit www.lcpshealthycafe.org or contact Stefanie Dove, RDN, CDN- School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator at Stefanie.Dove@lcps.org or 571.252.6502

School Nutrition Is Here To Help

The Loudoun County Public Schools Department of School Nutrition is made up of a team of food and nutrition professionals including Registered Dietitians, that are dedicated to students’ health, well being and their ability to learn. We are taking the lead to promote nutrition, wellness and physical activity for our students. Check out our district’s new interactive and user friendly Nutrition Services website by visiting www.lcpshealthycafe.org.

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Good nutrition leads to great academic performance. When your nutritional needs are met it is easier to focus and learn. When you are physically fit you are more alert, more positive and enjoy a better quality of life. Combine good nutrition with physical activity and you will have a winning combination to succeed in school. Our team is also here to help our students, parents, teachers and community partners develop and grow the farm to school program in our district.  Whether we assist with garden implementation, taste parties or nutrition educations or work with our local farmers to organize activities in the classroom, we are always happy to help!

LCPS Nutrition Intern lesson

Along with information about menus, food allergy guidelines, meal applications, and online payments…you will find interactive nutrition lesson plans, nutrition videos, nutrition games, fitness calculators, fun activities, and healthy recipes…and it is all updated quarterly! Want to access this information from your mobile device? Download our FREE app!

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In Loudoun County, it is cool to eat at school and Nutrition Services is committed to helping you form the healthy habits today that will last a lifetime! Stop by and try one of our new menu items to help you fuel up for the day!

For more information on our program, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org or (571) 252-6502.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Facebook.com/TrayTalk.

For more information about schools meals, visit http://www.lcpshealthycafe.org or http://www.schoolnutrition.org/SchoolMeals.

Media contact:
Stefanie Dove
(571) 252-6502
Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org

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LCPS Supervisor of School Nutrition Invited to Provide Input on Dietary Guidelines

Last week, our very own Dr. Becky Domokos-Bays, Supervisor of School Nutrition Services, was invited to provide her input on the new Dietary Guidelines.  Dr. Bays is the current President of the School Nutrition Association and a School Nutrition expert with over 30 years of experience.  You can read her comments below.

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For more information on this please visit www.schoolnutrition.org