School Nutrition Announces PowerFuel Meal Locations for Summer 2017

Loudoun County Public Schools are serving free meals at 9 school locations across the county as part of School Nutrition Services annual PowerFuel program.

The program is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s efforts to curb child hunger. Each summer, the USDA partners with local organizations like LCPS to provide free meals to children when school is out.

Any child under age 18 may come and eat a summer meal. No registration is required and meals are available to all children, regardless of income.

“For many families, schools are the one place their children can get a nutritious meal,” said Dr. Becky Domokos-Bays, Director of School Nutrition Services. “Our PowerFuel program allows School Nutrition to continue feeding children when school is not in session.”

To locate sites in your neighborhood please visit www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks. Loudoun County’s PowerFuel locations and serving times also can be found at www.lcpshealthycafe.org.

summer feeding flyer all sites 2017spanish summer feeding flyer all sites 2017

 

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 Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org or visit www.lcpshealthycafe.org

Frederick Douglas Students Take A Journey Through The Garden With School Nutrition

fde kinderWhat started out as a rainy day turned into one of sunshine for kindergartners at Frederick Douglas Elementary School as they partook in a special food and nutrition lesson on April 20th. Each student participated in a sensory activity where they used their senses to guess which vegetable was in the mystery bag. As little detectives, the kindergartners described how the vegetable felt, whether it was large, small, hard, soft, or fuzzy and guessed which vegetable it could be. They journeyed through the life cycle of a vegetable plant; starting with a seed, growing to a sprout, and ending with a vegetable. But the journey wasn’t complete without tasting the fruit of gardening.

LCPS Nutrition Intern lesson

The kindergarten classes assembled vegetable boats out of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow bell peppers, watermelon radishes, and hummus. They loved playing with their food and tasting it too! One of the most common reactions was how they thought a pepper would be spicy, but they were surprised to find the bell peppers are sweet! Other students mentioned how they loved dipping their veggies in hummus for some extra flavor.

fde kinder 2

Overall, the cucumber was the crowd favorite, however, the students were open to trying all the vegetables. This supports what current research is stating. Research shows that when children are in  direct exposure of fruits and vegetables it is associated with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables and an increased confidence in trying new ones. This is one of the reasons that over half Loudoun County Public Schools have school gardens. LCPS uses their school gardens as an educational and agricultural resource for their students to become more familiar with fruits and vegetable, to be more willing to eat them, and to teach healthy lifestyle behaviors.

 

For more information on the Farm to School program in Loudoun County or to schedule a nutrition education lesson at your school, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN and School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator (Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org).

Loudoun All-Stars to Sign Cards for School Kids

DSCF4392

Loudoun County’s award-winning farmer trading cards are back by popular demand. For the second year, Loudoun elementary school children will receive baseball-style trading cards on Tuesday, April 4th. The cards feature Loudoun County farmers, several of whom will make special appearances at Loudoun elementary schools to autograph cards:

  • Alex Bates, If It Flies Farm – Lucketts Elementary;
  • Sara Brown, Oakland Green Farm – Emerick Elementary in Purcellville;
  • Julie Borneman, Watermark Woods – Waterford Elementary;
  • Adrienne Green, Independence Homestead – Evergreen Mill Elementary in Leesburg;
  • Warren Howell, Allder School Berries – Lovettsville Elementary;
  • John Moore, Temple Hall Farm Park – Frederick Douglass Elementary in Leesburg;
  • Mary Ellen Taylor, Endless Summer Harvest – Balls Bluff Elementary in Leesburg.

“It’s great to have children look up to these successful business owners, who not only contribute to Loudoun’s economy, but also help feed the community,” said Loudoun Economic Development’s Executive Director Buddy Rizer.

“Last year’s farmers were treated like all-stars when they visited the schools,” said Loudoun’s Agricultural Development Officer Kellie Hinkle. “The cards generated so much excitement that local, regional and national media ran stories about them. School systems in other states contacted us to talk about producing trading cards of their own.”

Loudoun Economic Development partners with Loudoun County Public Schools on the cards.

“Our goal is to promote healthy eating, as well as to educate children about the importance of farming and where their food comes from,” said Dr. Becky Domokos-Bays, director of School Nutrition.

The other farmers featured on this year’s cards are Anna and Daniel Cohen of Bay Haven Farm, and John and Joel McClintic of Thousand Hills Farm. Entrepreneurs interested in starting or expanding a farm business in Loudoun can contact Kellie Hinkle by calling 1-(800)-LOUDOUN.

For more information on this promotion or details on the School Nutrition Program in Loudoun County, please contact Stefanie Dove at (571) 252-6502.

Understanding Food Labels

Written By:
Stefanie Dove, RDN
School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator and Registered Dietitian
Loudoun County Public Schools

Understanding the information on the food label might seem overwhelming or even confusing, however, today’s post will help breakdown the information on the label so that you can feel empowered the next time you venture to the grocery store.  Reading food labels will allow you to find out more about the foods you eat, thus helping you to make informed food buying decisions for your family.  Our school nutrition team looks at all of our nutrition labels in detail for all items we serve and prepare for students daily.

new_food_labels

The current Nutrition Facts panel found on most food labels will be changing very soon as manufacturers have until July 2018 to comply with these changes, however, you will notice that some have already started this transition. These changes to the label will help make some of the information easier to find, easy to read, and most importantly, easier to understand. Some of the most noticeable changes are:

  • Serving sizes: The serving sizes listed on packaging now reflect what people currently eat, rather than what a company may view as reasonable. This means that some serving sizes that were equivalent to only a few chips might now reflect the whole package.
  • Calories: The total number of calories per serving is now highlighted in a large font rather than being in the same type size as the other nutrition information.
  • Added sugars: This is something that is completely new to the nutrition label.  Similar to how fat is broken down on the label, added sugars will now be measured in both grams and as a percent daily value. This change will allow consumers to see the difference between sugars added during processing versus sugars that come naturally, such as in fresh fruits and dairy.
  • Multi-serving Products: For those products that contain multiple servings, there will now be two columns to indicate the per serving and per package calorie nutrition information to allow for easier label reading.
  • Unconventional Serving Sizes: All food items that are between one and two servings such as a 20-oz bottle of soda or juice, will now be labeled as one serving to help eliminate confusion.
  • Dietary Fiber and Sodium: The percent daily values for sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D will change for many foods based on the new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations. This means that the new recommendations either increase or decrease the amount you need to eat to satisfy those needs. An example of this is the previous recommendation for Americans to eat up to 25 grams of fiber day as part of a nutritionally balanced diet.  The new recommendations encourage up to 28 grams a day, so if a food item contains 5 grams of fiber per serving, the old label would have listed 20 for the percent daily value. The new food label will have 18 percent for the percent daily value.
  • Vitamin D and potassium: Labels will now include both the percent daily values and the gram amount since these are nutrients that American’s are not getting enough of on a daily basis.
  • Vitamins A and C: These will no longer be required on labels since the average American receives an adequate amount of these nutrients on a daily basis and deficiencies are rare.
  • Fat: The “Calories from Fat” line will be eliminated, however, “Total Fat,” and the subcategories “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” will still be required since new research shows that the type of fat consumed is important.

The Benefits of Reading Nutrition Labels

•Reading labels can help you determine which foods are good sources of dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium.
•You can compare similar foods to find out which one is lower in calories, sugar, fat, etc.
•Nutrition labels help you to check your portion sizes to against the serving size listed on the label.Use percent Daily Values (DV) to help you evaluate how a particular food fits into your daily eating plan:
•You can review the percent Daily Values (DV) to help you assess how specific foods fit into your daily eating plan for the entire day and are based on a person consuming 2,000 calories per day.  Keep in mind that depending on how many calories you eat each day, you may need more or less than 100% DV.

Use Nutrition Labels to Help You Monitor These Things:

  • Try to select foods with saturated fats containing less than 10% of total calories daily by replacing them with unsaturated fats.
  • Avoid and limit trans fats to as low as possible.New guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg daily (for adults and children 14 years and older).
  • Keep added sugars to less than 10% of total calories daily.

For more food label information, visit the Food and Drug Administration  or contact LCPS School Nutrition Services for additional information as we are happy to help answer any questions you might have. 

Aldie Elementary Hosts School Breakfast Sampling Event

Last Friday, Aldie Elementary hosted a free school breakfast sampling event so that students and parents can sample all of the menu items served daily.  With the help of the Aldie Safety Patrol team, students were welcomed in the multipurpose area where there were tables filled with samples waiting for students to try. Over 100 students enjoyed this event to kick off National School Breakfast Week that began on March 6th.

Some of the items students sampled were: sweet potato cinnamon rolls, whole grain cocoa cherry bars, Benefit bars in a variety of flavors, open-faced breakfast toast sandwiches, and the new whole grain, mini pizza bagels.  This event allowed students and parents to get to know more about the breakfast program that is offered across the county as well as providing School Nutrition with valuable feedback on what menu items the students enjoy eating.

This event was organized by the Cafeteria Manager at Aldie Elementary, Kat Ciurzynski and was supported by the administration at Aldie as well as additional staff members from School Nutrition Services. For more information about the breakfast program at LCPS or details about School Nutrition Services, please visit www.lcpshealthycafe.org.

Smart’s Mill Middle Increases Breakfast Participation By 204.9%

Last month, Loudoun County Public Schools launched their first Second Chance Breakfast program at Smart’s Mill Middle School.  The Breakfast After the Bell program helps to increase access to a nutritious breakfast by maximizing convenience and overcoming barriers to participation. These meals are distributed via breakfast carts where students are dismissed from their classrooms to purchase breakfast.  Students simply enter their PIN numbers into the kiosk and grab their breakfast to enjoy it in the classroom.  Since the launch of this program five weeks ago, Smart’s Mill has increased their breakfast participation by 204.9% with an average of 303 students eating breakfast daily. Of that total, an average of 231 students are participating through the Breakfast After the Bell program daily.

DSCF5440

Cafeteria Manager, Kaoutar El Hamdani, ready to serve students for Breakfast After the Bell.

Breakfast after the bell extends the reach of the School Breakfast Program and enables more students to have the nutrients necessary to perform their best in the classroom. This helps to ensure that all students are able to start their academic day with a nutritionally balanced meal. Students can still enjoy the traditional school breakfast that begins before the start of the school day.  This is a good first step to addressing hunger and supporting student achievement, however, school nutrition understands that not all students are ready to fuel up for the day before the first bell rings and students do not always give themselves time to each before rushing to class in the morning.  This is why second chance breakfast is vital for the nutrition of students. By providing mid-morning nourishment, students are refueled until lunch.

breakfast-after-the-bell-principal-small

Principal Waldman with the Breakfast After the Bell kiosk at Smart’s Mill.

The Breakfast After the Bell program is extending to Harper Park MS on March 13th with additional schools in the district looking to model this program for the upcoming school year. For more information on the Breakfast After the Bell program or School Nutrition Services, please visit www.LCPSHealthyCafe.org .