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!

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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 Hosts District Wide Taste Test

The Harvest of the Month promotion began last school year and continues to be a popular event at all 87 schools in Loudoun County this year.  This farm to school promotion allows all students in the county to try a new seasonal fruit or vegetable at no cost each month.  Students have been able to try everything from parsnips and tricolor cauliflower to locally grown apples.

The feature item for February is starfruit.  This will be available during lunch to all elementary students on Thursday, February 16th as part of the Taste It Thursday promotion and to all middle and high school students on Friday, February 17th as part of the Fear Factor Friday promotion.

Not only does this promotion help expose students to new food items, it has also turned into a successful collaboration between School Nutrition Services and Monroe Technology graphic arts students.  The students design all of the posters for the events and send them to the schools monthly as their One to the World project.

The School Nutrition staff works closely with the students to discuss themes, design, and the Registered Dietitians work with them to provide interesting facts about each item being featured. These events take place each month.  There is a great lineup for the rest of the school year with blood oranges, watermelon radishes and fresh strawberries being the featured items.

Want to know more about this promotion? Visit your school cafeteria or stop by the School Nutrition website to discover some of the other activities we have going on in our schools.

 

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.

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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 Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org

School Nutrition Announces Farm to School Art Contest Winners

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 http://www.lcpshealthycafe.org.
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 Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org or by phone at (571)252-6502.

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

LCPS to Celebrate National School Lunch Week

 

Loudoun County Public Schools to Celebrate National School Lunch Week

“Show Your Spirit” during #NSLW16

Ashburn, VA – September 21, 2016 – To recognize the National School Lunch Program and the 30 million children it serves every day, Loudoun County schools will recognize National School Lunch Week from October 10-14, 2016. The theme, “Show Your Spirit” is all about getting parents, students and school officials to show their spirit for school lunch.

National School Lunch Week will emphasize the healthy foods that are offered daily at Loudoun County schools. All high school students have the opportunity to participate in a student video contest promoting school lunch.  Kenneth Colbert Elementary will host local farmer, Ellen Polishuk from Potomac Vegetable Farms, for a farmer trading card signing during school lunch to celebrate National Farmer Day on October 12th.  Promotional events and activities including trivia activities, guest servers, special lunch guests, and giveaways are scheduled at many schools across the district to help students understand the importance of eating a healthy school lunch.

“School lunches are healthier than ever, with more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and less fat and sodium” said Dr. Becky Domokos-Bays, Supervisor of School Nutrition.  “National School Lunch Week helps us educate parents and students about all the benefits of our lunch program, and the appealing choices we offer”.

Students are offered a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that include items grown locally.  Loudoun County students can enjoy some of the new wraps, cold sandwiches, salads, 100% all-beef burgers, and the new vegetarian “beefy” crumble that is used in the tacos this year.  Hummus and vegetable meal kits are also offered as a vegetarian option during lunch.  The middle and high school students have a daily self-serve fruit and vegetable bar so that they can select as much as they would like.

The federally-funded National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provides nutritionally balanced, healthy meals to students during the school week.  The program, which has been serving the nation’s children for over 60 years, requires school meals to meet federal nutrition standards which includes offering fruits and vegetables every day, serving whole-grain rich foods, and limiting fat, calories, and sodium.

The LCPS community is encouraged to use the hashtag #LCPSLunch so that School Nutrition and track and share all promotions and events that are occurring in the district.

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.