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.

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School Nutrition to Honor the School Lunch Heroes Serving Healthy Meals Celebrating the 5th Annual School Lunch Hero Day on May 5, 2017

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Media contact: Stefanie Dove, SNS Marketing Coordinator
Phone: (571) 252-6502
Email: Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org

Ashburn, VA– Between preparing healthy food, adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies, and offering service with a smile, Loudoun County School Nutrition professionals have a lot on their plate. To celebrate their hard work and commitment, Loudoun County Public Schools will celebrate the fifth annual School Lunch Hero Day on May 5 to end the week long celebration of School Nutrition Employee Week. This day, celebrated annually since 2013, was designated by The School Nutrition Association and Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the “Lunch Lady” graphic novel series. School Lunch Hero Day provides an opportunity for parents, students, school staff and communities to thank those who provide healthy meals to 30 million of America’s students each school day.

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Students at Newton Lee Elementary in 2016 showing off their hairnet creations for School Lunch Hero Day.

All across the school district, school nutrition professionals will be honored with thanks, cards, and recognition from students, school staff, parents, and the community. At Newton Lee Elementary, students and staff will participate in the annual hairnet decorating contest, while students at all schools will be able to enjoy a special super hero-themed lunch to celebrate the day.


“School nutrition employees must balance many roles and follow numerous federal, state and local regulations to ensure safe and healthy meals are available in schools. School Lunch Hero Day provides the opportunity for the community to thank these hardworking heroes,” said Dr. Becky Domokos-Bays, Director of School Nutrition. Federal nutrition standards ensure that school cafeterias always offer low-fat or fat-free milk, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. School meals also meet limits on calories, sodium and unhealthy fats.

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The importance and nutritional value of school meals are well documented. For many children, school lunch is the most important and nutrient-rich meal of their day. Across the county, students can enjoy a variety of menu items such as salads using locally grown lettuce, a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain options, lean protein, and low-fat milk. The school nutrition staff serves approximately 5,421 breakfasts, 26,565 lunches, and 3,867 after school meals daily.
Get the details about School Lunch Hero Day at http://www.schoollunchheroday.com. To learn more about the school nutrition program for Loudoun County Public Schools visit http://www.LCPSHealthyCafe.org

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 55,000+ school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. To find out more about today’s school meals, visit http://www.schoolnutrition.org/SchoolMeals.

 

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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.

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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.

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.

 

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 www.lcpshealthycafe.org