August is ‘Kids Eat Right’ Month

With childhood obesity on the rise, making sure kids eat right and get plenty of exercise is vital.

Parents and caregivers can play a big role in children’s nutrition and health, teaching kids about healthy foods, being a good role model and making sure physical activity is incorporated into each day.

August, which is Kids Eat Right Month™, is a great time for families to focus on the importance of healthful eating and active lifestyles. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging families to take the following steps:

Shop Smart. To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

Cook Healthy. Involve your child in the cutting, mixing and preparation of meals. They will learn about food and may even be enticed to try new foods they helped prepare.

Eat Right. Sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal and the opportunity to share the day’s experiences with one another. Research indicates that those families who eat together have a stronger bond, and children have higher self-confidence and perform better in school.

Healthy Habits. You can help kids form great, healthy habits by setting a good example. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, choose lower-sodium options, and make at least half the grains your family eats whole grains. For beverages, choose water over sugary drinks, and opt for fat-free or low-fat milk.

Get Moving. Aside from being a great way to spend time together, regular physical activity is vital to strengthen muscle and bones, promote a healthy body weight, support learning, develop social skills and build self-esteem. Kids are encouraged to be active for 60 minutes per day.

Getting kids to eat right can sometimes be a challenge, particularly if they are picky eaters. But experts say that a conversation can help.

“Talk to your children. Learn the foods they like. Teach them about the foods they need for their growing bodies. Find ways together to make sure they have the knowledge and ability to eat healthy and tasty foods at every meal,” says Angela Lemond, registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson.

It may help to consult a registered dietitian nutritionist in your area to ensure your family is getting the nutrients it needs with a meal plan tailored to your lifestyle and busy schedule.

For more healthful eating tips, recipes, videos and to learn more about Kids Eat Right Month, visit www.KidsEatRight.org.

This August, reevaluate your family’s eating and exercise habits, and take steps to make positive, healthful changes.

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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.

School Nutrition Wins Big at State Conference

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In March, Loudoun County School Nutrition Services local chapter took home several awards at the School Nutrition Association of Virginia State Conference in Hampton, Virginia. The awards received by Loudoun County members:

  • 100% Membership Award for the central office team.
  • Cow of a Different Color Award for the highest percentage increase for an individual chapter for Virginia.
  • Holy Cow Award for the largest membership increase for an individual chapter in Virginia.
  • Mayra Rosales, School Nutrition Manager at Creighton’s Corner Elementary, received the SNA-VA Marketing Award for her dedication to marketing her program through harvest of the month promotions and the successful cultural night sampling event, where parents, students and administration had the opportunity to test and provide feedback on a variety of culturally diverse vegetarian menu items such as paneer cheese.
  • Cathy Wilson, School Nutrition Manager at Frederick Douglass Elementary, received the SNA-VA Physical Activity and Nutrition Education Award for her efforts to integrate school nutrition into the thriving school garden program at the school. Cathy and her team harvest items with students and work with them to provide taste parties and activities throughout the year.
  • Kirk Dolson, Principal at Park View HS, received the Friends of SNA-VA Award for his tireless efforts to partner in the successful After School Fuel supper program, being a member of the district wellness committee and supporting the new Patriot Patch garden program.
  • School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator, Stefanie Dove, RDN, SNS, received the Helen G. Ward Scholarship to support her educational goals as she is currently completing her Master of Business Administration in Marketing at Liberty University.
  • Rose Custer, School Nutrition Manager at Horizon Elementary, Niki Kanavas, School Nutrition Manager at Dominion Trail Elementary, and Debbie Turner, School Nutrition Manager at Loudoun County High School, each received recognition for their 20 years of service in school nutrition.

There are currently 108 active members in the association who are employed by LCPS School Nutrition. School Nutrition Association of Virginia promotes quality school nutrition programs, provides educational opportunities and affects regulatory and legislative issues concerning school nutrition.

For more information visit www.lcpshealthycafe.org or contact Stefanie Dove, RDN, SNS 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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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

Putting School Nutrition in the Spotlight at the 1st Annual Regional Garden Summit

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

On October 14th, 2017, DC Greens hosted the first annual Regional School Garden Summit at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary in Washington, D.C. The goal of the Summit was to nurture the emerging regional network of nonprofits, schools, and government agencies interested in capacity and network building around school gardens by providing a space to learn, share best practices and make new connections. The day consisted of panel discussions covering topics such as innovative school garden program models, sustaining school gardens through public policy and advocacy, growing networks, and collaborative efforts to connect gardens and the cafeteria.

Stefanie Dove, RDN, School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator for Loudoun County Schools Department of School Nutrition, sat on the panel to discuss the ways LCPS utilizes school gardens as educational tools to connect the concepts to school meals. LCPS Cafe also provided copies of their School Garden Toolkit in the gift bags for all attendees. Mark Pankau, Physical Education Teacher at Guilford Elementary, sat on a panel to discuss the importance of growing school garden networks.

In the afternoon, all 75 attendees were provided a lunch that was prepared using ingredients from the school garden. After lunch, attendees were shuttled onto buses where they spent the afternoon touring several school gardens across the district. The summit ended with an evening of networking with other school garden advocates in the region.

For more information on the school garden program in Loudoun County, please contact Stefanie Dove at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org.

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