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 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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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.

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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.

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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).

School Nutrition Services Brings FOODPLAY Productions to Aldie Elementary

This past July, members of the School Nutrition Services Department attended the annual School Nutrition Association conference in San Antonio, Texas where they met members of FOODPLAY Productions.  In September, it was announced that one lucky school from LCPS would be awarded a free FOODPLAY assembly.  School Nutrition Services selected Aldie Elementary as the recipient for this assembly that was held on November 18th during American Education Week.

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FOODPLAY’s fun-filled performance puts healthy eating and active lifestyles center stage. Along with a school-wide assembly performance, schools receive extensive follow-up resources to keep the messages alive in the classroom, cafeteria, and at home, all year long. The highly spirited program helps get everyone at school excited and on board to work together to create healthier schools and improve children’s eating and physical activity habits.

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During the school-wide assembly program, children meet “Janey (or Johnny) Junkfood,” whose dream is to become a juggling super star. The problem – s/he keeps dropping the balls because of her/his poor eating habits. Like many of today’s children, JJ skips breakfast, fills up on soda and candy, zones out in front of the TV and computer, and then
wonders why s/he’s sick, tired, and out of practice. With the help of the “Coach” of the National Junior Juggling Team, and the audience, JJ discovers how to juggle the foods s/he eats to wind up with a balanced diet. Kids learn the importance of fueling up with breakfast, and if they don’t get breakfast at home, they can get breakfast at school. They learn how to eat to win using USDA’s MyPlate food guide, filling half their plates with fresh fruits and vegetables, and choosing whole grains, low-fat calcium-rich sources, and lean protein foods. Students take back a host of fun ways to be physically active every day including participating in sports, de-stressing with yoga, dancing indoors on a rainy day, and taking walks with their families.

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The program empowers kids with the skills needed to make sense of a confusing food marketplace by seeing through TV commercials and deciphering food labels. While health experts recommend that people consume less than six teaspoons of added sugar a day, kids are amazed to discover that there are ten teaspoons of sugar in one can of cola, and that for many sports drinks, sugar is the main ingredient! Coach teaches kids how to “Read It Before You Eat It!” and explains that the main ingredient is listed first on ingredient labels. And while a food or beverage may be advertised as “natural” or “nutritious” – there are tricks along the way. There are, for example, many names for sugar, including “high fructose corn syrup,” and several can be found in one food product.

FOODPLAY Makes Good Eating Great Fun

To test their nutrition smarts, kids participate in the “Super Star Snack Attack!” The challenge for the three game show contestants is to choose the healthiest snacks from a variety of fresh and processed packaged items. The winning snacks turn out to be the ones that they can prepare themselves such as popcorn, veggie grab bags, yogurt parfait, rainbow fruit sticks, and natural soda made by mixing half fruit juice, half seltzer. Kids discover that choosing fresh foods is not only good for their health, but it’s good for the health of the planet. The contestants receive “FoodPlay Fruit + Veggie Tracker Bands” – a fun tool that encourages kids to eat more fruits and veggies throughout their day, and the audience receives snack cards to bring home and post on their fridge. As students return to their classrooms to the beat of “Treat Your Body Right!” – FOODPLAY’s message comes in loud and clear: feed healthy foods to your body, positive messages to your mind, and have fun being active every day.

For more information, free nutrition resources, recipes, and tips, visit: www.foodplay.com
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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.

 

LCPS Teachers Receive School Garden Training As Part of USDA Farm to School Grant

Twenty-four Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) teachers participated in a school garden training program on Saturday, October 15th, at Willowsford Farm in Ashburn.

The workshop was funded by a USDA Farm to School Planning Grant that was awarded to the LCPS School Nutrition Services Department earlier this year. The workshop was coordinated by Sarah Holoway and Lea Howe of DC Greens.  DC Greens is a non-profit organization that addresses food education, food access and food policy.
“Partnering with our teachers is a natural progression of the work School Nutrition Services does every day to help students learn the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables.  We provide a practical extension of what students learn in school gardens and classrooms,” said LCPS School Nutrition Services Supervisor Dr. Becky Domokos-Bays.
Lola Bloom of D.C. Bilingual Charter School presented an interactive cooking workshop that modeled tips and tricks for cooking with students.  Ibti Vincent and Kealy Rudersdorf of Fresh Farms Food Prints program led an outdoor workshop on how to integrate school gardens into the curriculum to meet Virginia Standards of Learning for every grade level.
“It is rare as teachers that we are given the opportunity to be with such a wide range of professionals; such as chefs, farmers, non-profit groups who provide unique garden-based instruction or cooking,” said Mary Cunningham of Frederick Douglass Elementary. “You learn from each of these individuals and their experiences and are given hands-on experiences that can be taken back to your school to further develop your garden-to-table program. Most importantly, you feel supported, inspired and driven to doing more for this type of instruction.”
LCPS School Nutrition Services supports all school gardens and can provide resources and support to schools wishing to start a garden.  Please contactStefanie.Dove@LCPS.org for more information.