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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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

September is Better Breakfast Month

As we gear up for another school year, we can’t forget to fuel our students minds and bodies for the school day! September is Better Breakfast Month and School Nutrition is here to help make sure students across Loudoun County have the nourishment they need for the most important meal of the day. A study conducted by Kellogg’s recently found that about one-third of the 14,000 individuals surveyed found time to fit breakfast into their schedules. Mornings are hectic and everyone is in a rush to get to school and to get out the door as quickly as possible. Don’t make breakfast an afterthought.  Let school nutrition check that breakfast off of your morning “to-do” list! All schools in the district offer breakfast daily for students. We serve a variety of items from whole grain gourmet bread loaves, oven baked chicken sandwiches, egg and cheese pitas to fruit and yogurt smoothies, yogurt and bagels.  All breakfast entrees come with fresh fruit, 100% fruit juice and milk.

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The new chocolate chip whole grain gourmet breakfast loaf students can select for breakfast.

Why is breakfast so important? There are many reasons, but we are going to focus on a few of the essentials.  Students who eat a balanced breakfast will stay focused in the classroom and stay full for a longer period of time.  With some students not eating lunch until well in the afternoon, that can be a long time to go without a meal! Eating breakfast also fuels them with energy so that they can succeed in the classroom.  Those students who eat breakfast will also reduce their chances of overeating later in the day.  We have even made it easier for our students to enjoy breakfast at school.  Last year, we introduced our Breakfast After the Bell program in Harper Park Middle School and Smart’s Mill Middle School and are pleased to announce that Brambleton Middle School and Freedom High School have joined this program for the 2017-2018 school year! Breakfast After the Bell allows students the opportunity to purchase breakfast after first block in their class. Our staff brings the breakfast to them.  All they need to do is enter their number into the computer and grab their meal!

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The School Nutrition staff at Harper Park Middle School getting ready to welcome students for Breakfast After the Bell.

A nutritious breakfast will jump start their brains and power it throughout the morning, allowing students to think clearly and concentrate on tasks in the classroom. Breakfast is also a wonderful opportunity for students to increase their fiber intake. Fiber is a nutrient in which many Americans lack in consumption.   All school breakfast entrees contain at least 51% whole grains. Whole grains are higher in fiber than other meal choices. In addition to the whole grains, fruit and vegetables also contain fiber. As previously mentioned, all school breakfasts are served with fresh fruit options. Students can increase the nutritional value of their breakfast by adding fruit to their meal.

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The NEW fruit and yogurt smoothies are a student favorite for breakfast. They are made with low fat yogurt, low fat milk and 100% whole fruit puree. 

Want to find out more information on the School Nutrition Program or find out what’s for #LCPSBreakfast? Visit our website at www.lcpshealthycafe.org or contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org.

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!

LCPS Nutrition Intern lesson

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 Gears Up to Celebrate National School Breakfast Week

Getting More Students to Begin their Day with Breakfast
“Take the School Breakfast Challenge” Encourages Loudoun County Families to Choose Breakfast at School

Ashburn, VA –February 23, 2017 – Busy weekday mornings make it a challenge for families to find time for a healthy breakfast. However, US Department of Agriculture data show that more students are starting their day with a nutritious breakfast in their school cafeterias. To encourage more families to take advantage of the healthy choices available with school breakfast, Loudoun County Public Schools will recognize National School Breakfast Week during March 6-10, 2017.

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Cedar Lane Elementary students enjoying breakfast

The National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) campaign theme, “School Breakfast Challenge”, reminds the entire school community that school breakfast provides a healthy, energizing start to the day for students. Students will be encouraged to “Take the Challenge” from March 6-10 with special menus, decorations, cafeteria events, and more. Many schools will be offering special prizes and giveaways all week. Cedar Lane Elementary will be promoting the newest school breakfast trend: egg pops on Tuesday, March 7th. Harmony Middle School is celebrating all week long, offering free breakfasts to all students on select days. They will also have a #LCPSBreakfast selfie booth where they can take pictures while enjoying breakfast and students can cast their school breakfast votes with a customized ballot. Lovettesville Elementary will host special breakfast guests all week long, including the mayor. At Smart’s Mill Middle School, the new Breakfast After the Bell program launched in January, which now allows students a second chance to get school breakfast after the bell rings. Students will see special breakfast items featured on the menu during this week, including the launch of our new fruit and yogurt smoothie program.

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Students at Cedar Lane ES decorated breakfast bags to promote healthy eating

“A healthy breakfast at the start of the day is one way to ensure students are getting the best education they can,” said Dr. Becky Bays, Director of School Nutrition. “National School Breakfast Week helps us educate parents and students about all the healthy and appealing choices we offer”. The district serves over 5,104 breakfast meals daily through the federally funded School Breakfast Program. Over 350 school nutrition professionals in Loudoun prepare breakfast and lunches every day that meet federal nutrition standards – limiting fat, calories and sodium – and encourage students to choose from the fruits, vegetables and whole grains offered with school meals.

Students can select from healthy breakfast options daily with everything from cereal, breakfast sandwiches, open faced breakfast toast, yogurt smoothies, freshly baked cinnamon rolls, whole grain banana bread, and a variety of breakfast bars. Breakfast also includes a fresh milk, fresh fruit, and 100% juice. Students receive all of this for $2.10. If a student qualifies for free or reduced lunches, breakfast will also be at no cost.

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Principal Waldman at Smart’s Mill Middle School with the new Breakfast After the Bell cart.

National School Breakfast Week was launched in 1989 to raise awareness of the availability of the School Breakfast Program to all children and to promote the links between eating a good breakfast, academic achievement and healthy lifestyles. The “Take the School Breakfast Challenge” is made possible by the nonprofit School Nutrition Association, Kellogg’s and Potatoes USA. Parents and students can follow the fun on Facebook.com/TrayTalk.

For more information about schools meals, visit http://www.lcpshealthycafe.org or http://www.schoolnutrition.org/SchoolMeals.

Media contact:
Stefanie Dove
(571) 252-6502
Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org

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