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.

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Harvest of the Month Recipe: Mushroom Quesadilla

Our Harvest of the Month program is back in full swing for the new school year!! All K-12 students will have the opportunity to try a seasonal fruit or vegetable at no cost during school lunch.  This is open to all students, not just those who purchase school lunch that day.  The first feature items will be mushrooms!  Elementary students can try them on September 15th during Taste It Thursday and our Middle and High School students will get to test their fears of trying new foods on September 16th during Fear Factor Friday.

New this year, we are providing recipes that feature the item our students tried that week.  The recipes have few ingredients, are low in cost, and are easy to make in order to help promote more of our families cooking together at home!  Recipe cards will also be available on the day that these items are offered for students to try.

mushrm-ques-side-far

Photo Courtesy of Hungry Happens

Check out our first recipe of the year below!

mushroom-quesadilla-recipe

Recipe adapted from Hungry Happens

Becky Domokos-Bays Named 2016-17 President of the School Nutrition Association

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner

703-576-7526

media@schoolnutrition.org

Becky Domokos-Bays Named 2016-17 President of the School Nutrition Association

7/13/2016

SAN ANTONIO, TX – During its 70th Annual National Conference, the School Nutrition Association (SNA) installed Becky Domokos-Bays, PhD, RD, SNS, as president for the 2016-17 school year. Dr. Domokos-Bays, Supervisor of School Nutrition Services for Loudoun County Public Schools in Va., will represent SNA’s 56,000 school nutrition professional members nationwide.

Since September 2014, Domokos-Bays has managed school meal programs in Loudoun County, one of the fastest growing school districts in the nation. With 430 employees, the School Nutrition Services team serves more than 73,000 students in 87 schools, with plans to open one new school every year through 2022.

With just 17 percent of students eligible for free or reduced price meals, Domokos-Bays is focused on attracting new students to the cafeteria. She has hosted taste tests and surveyed students to gather feedback on menu items, and is utilizing social media to reach students and families. She also launched a new grab-and-go breakfast program that has helped boost breakfast participation by 28 percent districtwide.

To promote the nutritious choices available with school meals, Domokos-Bays introduced monthly “Taste It Thursday” and “Fear Factor Friday” events to allow students to sample different fruits and vegetables. With a goal of sourcing 30 percent of foods locally within 3 years, Domokos-Bays has expanded the district’s Farm to School program and is partnering with school garden coordinators to feature harvests on the menu. She also helped add nutrition education programming to the district’s after school programs.

Domokos-Bays has partnered with community groups to strengthen staff skills. She arranged for a local chef to train managers in knife skills and develop signature spice blends for use in recipes. Domokos-Bays has also been recognized by the district for improving the program’s financial systems and strategic planning.

Previously, Domokos-Bays served for 12 years as Director of Food and Nutrition Services at Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) in VA. She is credited with launching Breakfast in the Classroom, afterschool snack, supper and summer feeding programs to ensure students in need have consistent access to good nutrition. Under her tenure, ACPS earned designation as an SNA District of Excellence and received several HealthierUS Challenge Awards. Prior to her time at ACPS, she served for 14 years as Support Operations Specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools.

Domokos-Bays has a long history of service to SNA, starting as the Executive Director of the then-Georgia School Foodservice Association. She is a Past President of the School Nutrition Association of Virginia. Domokos-Bays served as chair of SNA’s Nutrition Committee prior to her 2013 election as Vice President.

Domokos-Bays earned a doctorate in adult and continuing education and a master’s in human nutrition and foods from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Her bachelor of science degree in dietetics is from Marshall University.
About the School Nutrition Association:
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 56,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated tomaking healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students.For more information about ANC, visitwww.schoolnutrition.org/anc

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.

Kid-Friendly Strawberry Salsa Recipe

strawberries
Strawberries are a versatile fruit- they make a great snack or dessert, but can also pair nicely with salty foods or meats to balance savory flavors with a touch of sweetness! Try this easy 5-ingredient salsa at your next cookout- either on top of some grilled chicken, or as a dip for chips!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, finely diced
  • Half of a small red onion, peeled and finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2/3 cup finely-chopped fresh cilantro, loosely-packed
  • Juice of 1 lime, about 2 tablespoons
  • (Pinch of salt and black pepper)

DIRECTIONS:

Toss all ingredients together until combined.  Season with extra salt and pepper if needed. If you would like a sweeter salsa, feel free to stir in a few teaspoons of warmed honey.

Recipe From: Gimme Some Oven

 

Health Benefits of Strawberries

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It is no coincidence that our students love strawberries!  This year, we have been fortunate to expose our students to locally grown berries from Wegmeyer’s Farm right here in Loudoun!

Here are some fun facts about strawberries!

  • One cup of strawberries provides more than 100% of the recommend daily allowance of vitamin C for adults as well as roughly 3 grams of fiber.
  • Vitamin C is an important antioxidant with many functions. It protects our cells from damage caused by free radicals, helps with wound healing, and assists with the body’s absorption of iron.
  • Fiber, particularly soluble fiber (which is the type found in strawberries) also has many beneficial functions. It can help lower our “bad” LDL cholesterol, regulate digestion and reduce our risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Strawberries are a great source of Manganese as well, providing about 30% of the daily value in a one-cup serving.
  • Manganese helps the body utilize key nutrients, helps to maintain strong bones and healthy nerves, assists in synthesizing fatty acids and cholesterol, and maintains normal blood sugar levels- preventing energy spikes and crashes.
  • Strawberry season is in full swing, which is why all students in Loudoun County were able to try strawberries for free at their Taste It Thursday and Fear Factor Friday events in May!

This blog was written by Virginia Tech Dietetic Interns