School Nutrition Kicks off the Holiday Season with their Annual Harvest Lunch

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

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This week, School Nutrition Services hosted their annual Harvest Lunch in all schools across the county to celebrate American Education Week. The meal was served during regular meal times in the schools with some of the holiday staples that many have for their upcoming Thanksgiving meal.

School Nutrition works with their partner, Cuisine Solutions, who is based in Sterling, to provide sous-vide turkey breast for this meal. The School Nutrition staff also made stuffing, mashed potatoes with chicken gravy, fresh rolls, steamed broccoli, side salads, fresh vegetable cups, fresh fruit, and also offered a frozen fruit treat made from 100% whole fruit.  For those students who did not want to enjoy the turkey, the department also offered Baked Chicken Bites, Chicken Caesar Salads, Vegetarian Chef Salads, Turkey Chef Salads, Bagel and Yogurt Boxes, and Hummus Meals.

For more information about this event or School Nutrition Services, please visit www.LCPSHealthyCafe.org or email, Stefanie Dove, RDN, Marketing Coordinator at  Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org

Stay Up-to-Date on all SNS events by following us on social media @LCPSCafe

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LCPS School Nutrition Celebrates Veterans

Last week, School Nutrition Services honored veterans and active military by serving freshly baked cookies to all who visited a school on November 11th.  This promotion was conducted in all schools across the district.  Over 800 cookies were served to our special guests on this day.

School Nutrition wants to thank everyone for their support and partnership to make this a successful event and to especially thank all of our active duty military and veterans for their service to our country.

 

Harvest of the Month Recipe: Mushroom Quesadilla

Our Harvest of the Month program is back in full swing for the new school year!! All K-12 students will have the opportunity to try a seasonal fruit or vegetable at no cost during school lunch.  This is open to all students, not just those who purchase school lunch that day.  The first feature items will be mushrooms!  Elementary students can try them on September 15th during Taste It Thursday and our Middle and High School students will get to test their fears of trying new foods on September 16th during Fear Factor Friday.

New this year, we are providing recipes that feature the item our students tried that week.  The recipes have few ingredients, are low in cost, and are easy to make in order to help promote more of our families cooking together at home!  Recipe cards will also be available on the day that these items are offered for students to try.

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Photo Courtesy of Hungry Happens

Check out our first recipe of the year below!

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Recipe adapted from Hungry Happens

School Nutrition Services Wins “One In A Melon Award” for Virginia

One in a Melon BadgeLoudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) School Nutrition Services received a “One in a Melon” Award from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its efforts to bring fresh, local produce to the students eating in school cafeterias each day.

One district per state received the honor. LCPS was selected from among all of the schools in Virginia with similar initiatives.
School Nutrition Services’ farm-to-school efforts date back to 2014 and include two local farms, Kilmer Farms and Wegmeyer Farms. For example, just last week, LCPS students enjoyed fresh strawberries from Wegmeyer Farms. The berries were actually picked the same day they were served in LCPS cafeterias.
In addition to receiving food from local farms, 31 schools also operate school gardens in an effort to produce some of their own food. Educational programs about farming extend to LCPS classrooms as well. The most successful project to date has been Farmer Trading Cards. The trading cards were released on the opening day of baseball season, which is also the first day of growing season. Instead of featuring baseball players, these trading cards profiled 12 Loudoun County farmers. The trading cards were produced in conjunction with the Loudoun Rural Economic Development Commission.
School Nutrition Services Director Becky Domokos-Bays says that future promotions are planned around Virginia Agriculture Week in October and the creation of more of the popular trading cards.

Kid-Friendly Strawberry Salsa Recipe

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Strawberries are a versatile fruit- they make a great snack or dessert, but can also pair nicely with salty foods or meats to balance savory flavors with a touch of sweetness! Try this easy 5-ingredient salsa at your next cookout- either on top of some grilled chicken, or as a dip for chips!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, finely diced
  • Half of a small red onion, peeled and finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2/3 cup finely-chopped fresh cilantro, loosely-packed
  • Juice of 1 lime, about 2 tablespoons
  • (Pinch of salt and black pepper)

DIRECTIONS:

Toss all ingredients together until combined.  Season with extra salt and pepper if needed. If you would like a sweeter salsa, feel free to stir in a few teaspoons of warmed honey.

Recipe From: Gimme Some Oven

 

Health Benefits of Strawberries

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It is no coincidence that our students love strawberries!  This year, we have been fortunate to expose our students to locally grown berries from Wegmeyer’s Farm right here in Loudoun!

Here are some fun facts about strawberries!

  • One cup of strawberries provides more than 100% of the recommend daily allowance of vitamin C for adults as well as roughly 3 grams of fiber.
  • Vitamin C is an important antioxidant with many functions. It protects our cells from damage caused by free radicals, helps with wound healing, and assists with the body’s absorption of iron.
  • Fiber, particularly soluble fiber (which is the type found in strawberries) also has many beneficial functions. It can help lower our “bad” LDL cholesterol, regulate digestion and reduce our risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Strawberries are a great source of Manganese as well, providing about 30% of the daily value in a one-cup serving.
  • Manganese helps the body utilize key nutrients, helps to maintain strong bones and healthy nerves, assists in synthesizing fatty acids and cholesterol, and maintains normal blood sugar levels- preventing energy spikes and crashes.
  • Strawberry season is in full swing, which is why all students in Loudoun County were able to try strawberries for free at their Taste It Thursday and Fear Factor Friday events in May!

This blog was written by Virginia Tech Dietetic Interns