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

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


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 or email, Stefanie Dove, RDN, Marketing Coordinator at

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


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

planting at cat

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!


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 or (571) 252-6502.

Cedar Lane and Sugarland Receive Grants for School Gardens

Last month, Cedar Lane Elementary and Sugarland Elementary were the recipients of grants to help support their school garden efforts.  These grants were made possible by the Northern Virginia Dietetic Association (NVAND).  Each school received $100 from the organization.

These schools were selected from 12 applicants in the Northern Virginia region.  Each school submitted a detailed application where they had to describe the educational purpose and goals of their gardens while also discussing the impact and outcomes their garden had on the students and community.  Each application was ranked and voted on by board members of NVAND.

sugarland nvand 3

NVAND President, Teresa Lucas and Sugarland Garden Coordinator, Darielle Timothy

Sugarland uses their school garden to help students learn the role they play in both the community and as health ambassadors.  The garden coordinators help students understand that growing nutritious foods can be done regardless of ones income level.  They focus on inquiry-based learning and real world problem solving so that students can understand how gardens directly relate to their lives; such as the garden to cafeteria initiative.  They develop consistent schedules for the garden so that each grade has responsibilities relating to the project.

cedar lane garden grant

NVAND President Teresa Lucas and the Cedar Lane staff


Cedar Lane currently uses their garden to help their Autism classes learn curricular skills as well as career and working behaviors through garden-based activities.  They able to grow a variety of produce items which helps students become exposed to new foods.  Students learn the importance of following directions and reading recipes, conversational skills and money counting.  The Cafeteria Manager at Cedar Lane assists students with garden-based recipes and taste tests.  Cedar Lane also uses the harvest from their garden to host annual farmer’s markets at the school.  This allows the students to understand the background of having a business.

For more information on the farm to school program or school garden information in Loudoun County, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at or visit

Salad Science Comes to Algonkian and Selden’s Landing

Salad Science partnered with Second and Third grade students at Algonkian and Selden’s Landing Elementary schools this year. Teachers, Mary Carlson and Carrie Mock, served as the lead teachers at each of these schools to help organize the program. This program is divided into three sections, which is part of the Audubon Naturalist Society’s GreenKids program, enables students to grow their own lettuce while learning about edible parts of a plant, plant life cycles, composting, nutrition education, healthy eating, and general gardening skills.

Each phase contains a project-based learning mini-lesson that aligns with Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that incorporates a hands-on activity. Students did everything from writing journal entries where they recorded observations, made predictions on what would happen in the garden, and enhanced their math skills by charting data about the plants, weather, and precipitation. Classes were responsible for monitoring the garden beds, watering the plants, and tracking the progress of growth.

Students began the program by learning about the edible parts of a plant and planted lettuce seeds. They monitored the plans and thinned the lettuce to discuss and understand how nature recycles plant matter. The Salad Science program ended with students harvesting their lettuces where they participated in a salad party.  Students enjoyed having a taste party with the harvested lettuce along with a rainbow of healthy toppings and dressings.


The Salad Science program not only allows students to become more empowered when it comes to understanding and growing their own food, it also instills the importance of healthy eating and trying new things. This program helps expand the Farm to School efforts by the School Nutrition Department in the district. As of December 2016, Loudoun County currently has 48% of their schools utilizing schools gardens and nutrition education activities in the classroom.

For more information about the Farm to School or School Nutrition Programs in Loudoun County, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at

School Nutrition Announces Farm to School Art Contest Winners


School Nutrition Services kicked off National Farm to School Month in October with their first annual art contest. The theme for the 2016 contest was “What Farm to School Means to Me.” The contest was open to all Loudoun County students’ grades K-12. There were 75 entries in the contest from grades K-8 only. All entries went through a preliminary judging and the top 14 were then submitted for the final judging by an esteemed panel of judges where all student and school identifying information was omitted from the entries.

Grand Prize winner: Parnika S., Mercer Middle School, 8th Grade


Elementary Winners:
Craftsmanship: Abigail K., Madison’s Trust Elementary, 2nd Grade


Visual Impact: Ashley S., Lowes Island Elementary, 4th Grade


Interpretation and Creativity: Ishaan D., Meadowland Elementary, 2nd Grade

Honorable Mention: Katelyn M., Kenneth Culbert Elementary School, 5th Grade


Middle School Winners:
Interpretation & Creativity: Charly B., Trailside Middle School, 6th Grade


Visual Impact: Parnika S., Mercer Middle School, 8th Grade


Craftsmanship: Samah N., Mercer Middle School, 6th Grade


Composition and Design: Zoe L., Eagle Ridge Middle School, 7th Grade

Honorable Mention: Anaghasree H., Stone Hill Middle School, 8th Grade


The grand prize winner will have their artwork featured on Loudoun Farm Tour marketing materials for the spring 2017 season. The individual winners in both elementary and middle school will have their artwork developed into posters that will be displayed in the cafeteria at their individual schools. All participants will receive a certificate of participation in the art contest.
Loudoun County Public Library has also agreed to feature the student entries at various locations. The dates and locations for these exhibits will be announced in January, 2017. The artwork will also be featured on School Nutrition Services website
The judges for the art contest were:
Dr. Becky Domokos-Bays, RDN, SNS
Supervisor, School Nutrition Services
Loudoun County Public Schools

Kellie Hinkle
Agricultural Development Officer
Loudoun Economic Development

Cassie Walls
Rural Business Development Assistant
Loudoun Economic Development

Chris VanVlack
President of the Board
Loudoun County Farm Bureau

Lorraine Moffa
Library Aide
Loudoun County Public Library

Stephanie Kehoe
Art Teacher
Stone Hill Middle School

If you have any questions or comments regarding this contest, please contact Stefanie Dove by email at or by phone at (571)252-6502.

This promotion was made in part by the USDA Farm to School Planning Grant.

School Nutrition Kicks Off Fall With Taste Parties

In October, Loudoun County School Nutrition Services took to the polls to have students from seven, K-12 schools to vote on new menu items that could be added to the breakfast and lunch menus next school year. A hand selected group of students from each school were brought into the cafeteria, where they were served these new items and asked to vote on them using emoji evaluation cards.

Some of the items students tried were: buffalo chicken legs, baked chicken with whole grain waffles, garlic knots, whole grain biscuits, buffalo chicken crunchers, sliced turkey, a variety of new red and black bean items, honey sriracha chicken, new soup recipes, street tacos, and the new vegetarian pepperoni for pizza to name a few.

After the students sampled and voted on these new items, the results will be tallied by School Nutrition Services and those items with high ratings will be included on the menu for next year.  School Nutrition relies on student feedback to incorporate items that they like and want to see on the menu.  Each year, different schools are selected to provide this opportunity to students across the county.

Last year, School Nutrition surveyed all secondary students to find out what they would like to see changed on the menus and this school year, those comments and concerns were addressed.

For more information on the menu and School Nutrition Services, please visit


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.