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October | November 2017
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Lake Braddock's Chicken Shawarma
Debuts on FCPS Lunch Menu in November 

Last year's winner of the Real Food for Kids Culinary Challenge and Wellness Expo, Lake Braddock Secondary School, will see their creation on the FCPS lunch line beginning November 1, 2 and 3. The Chicken Shawarma from LBSS marks the first time in Fairfax County a student dish has been adapted to serve to students.
Real Food for Kids' Mary Pope says this has been the goal of the Culinary Challenge all along. "Students are the ones eating school lunch. Through the Culinary Challenge, they  have an opportunity to bring what they are hearing from their peers and adapt it to the school menu. November 1st is a celebration of students eating something their classmates created. We hope all the students at Lake Braddock give this dish a try. It's really good!"
Red Apple 21 will be filming the rollout on November 1 and the LBSS student newspaper will be carryiing a story about the dish and the work of Real Food for Kids.
The 2018 Culinary Challenge will be held March 17 at Hayfield Seconday School. The theme of the lunch competition is Vegetarian.
More from FCPS News You Choose
Celebrating 5000 Salad Bars 
50 States | 2.5 Million Students Served

On October 11, Real Food for Kids joined the Whole Kids Foundation, the Chef Ann Foundation, the National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance and the United Fresh Start Foundation to celebrate that 5000 schools across the United States that now have salad bars funded by the Salad Bars to School Partnership.
Virginia's First Lady, Dorothy McAuliffe, who has worked tirelessly to end childhood hunger, spoke about this important landmark across all 50 states providing over 2.5 million children with daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The event held during National School Lunch Week was fitting, as it reinforced that kids, when given the chance to self-select fresh fruits and vegetables will consume more of them, leading to improved academic and behavioral outcomes in school and influencing their choices outside of school walls.
Fairfax County's Lynbrook Elementary School hosted the event. Lynbrook received their salad bar last year, one of 141 being installed in the county through 2021. FCPS salad bars have been funded by Salad Bars to Schools. This past summer, RFFK reported on the Tour de Fresh, a cycling event in California that raises money for this program. Eight of the riders in the tour rode from Fairfax County schools.
Real Food for Kids' JoAnne Hammermaster shared how exciting it was for Fairfax to be chosen as the site for this event, recognizing FCPS School Nutrition Director, Rodney Taylor, for his work here and in previous districts. "Real Food for Kids has been advocating for salad bars since we first started in 2010. We are excited to be a part of the implementation of this project and are proud to be a partner with Food and Nutrition Services."
Real Food for Kids met with the First Lady following the event to discuss ways to advance the initiatives of their new Lunch Room Collective.
More on Salad bar 5000 from:
Welcome to Our Newest FCPS Salad Bar Schools!  
Annandale Terrace, Mount Eagle, Clermont, Kent Gardens, McNair, Oakton, Centre Ridge, Bucknell and Great Falls!
Which Schools are Coming Up?
Rolling Valley, November 15; Crestview, November 29; Shrevewood, December 6; Clearview, January 10; Groveton, January 18; and Ravensworth, January 24.

Please see our September Newsletter for more information on how Salad Bars are implemented and how you can help!
Register Now at

Interested in Advocacy Training for your small group? Contact Mary Porter 
Farm IN School
Falls Church City School Nutrition Director Brings the Farm-to-School Movement Inside 

Falls Church City Schools Nutrition Director Richard Kane has always been an innovator in school food, influencing the taste and choice preferences of a demanding K-12 crowd with appealing dishes like Peruvian Chicken and Falafel Subs, but it's his twist on the urban farming movement that's drawing nationwide attention.
Two years ago, in partnership with Dr. Peter Mecca, science teacher at George Mason High School, Kane established a hydroponic garden in what used to be his staff's break room (staff now eat with students). The garden supplies lettuce for the school, but Kane is not the urban farmer. What began as a STEM project has blossomed into a vocation for students at the high and middle schools, whose work has earned them recognition as a Green School and won them the Youth Presidential Award from the Environmental Protection Agency. Kane buys the produce from the school with his food budget, creating a revenue source for the school and an entrepreneurial experience for the students.
Not many school food directors would have then turned their focus to raising fish - in a converted school book room - but when a greenhouse project became sidelined, that's exactly what Kane did. With the help of Dr. Mecca's contacts at Virginia Tech and a STEM grant, starter Tilapia were brought to the school and the growing began. Eventually the fish will be served on the FCCPS lunch line, but for now, students are learning to be brokers, working with buyers and learning the supply side business of seafood and creating another revenue stream for the school. Kane sees this as the healthy alternative to common food fundraisers. "These kids are learning business skills, entrepreneurial skills and social skills. They are going to use those skills for life."
Kane's next project is a grant for a Garden Robot in a new outdoor space. The robot, which can be controlled by laptop or phone, will plant, harvest and weed - skills that are particularly needed during the peak growing season, when kids are not in school.
Learn more about George Mason High School's Farm IN School program in this piece that aired October 23rd on WJLA.
RFFK Celebrates FOOD DAY with Students at Herndon Elementary
Fresh Food and Fun Fitness Take Center Stage  

Real Food for Kids celebrated its 6th annual Food Day event at Herndon Elementary School on October 24. The 850 student school hosted celebrity chef David Guas making RFFK's signature "big salad" in a baby pool with student help. Guas was joined by Herndon teacher Grace Choi for a lively aerobic dance with the kids and INOVA Healthy Plate's Kate Garsson for the K-2 assembly. School Board member Jaes Strauss kicked off the celebration.

Outdoors, the 3rd through 6th graders rotated through a seres of food and fitness stations o n a picture-perfect autumn day. The big salad station was led by Chef Diana Nash. Returning Food Day Chef Jonathan Bardzik created pumpkin oatmeal with homemade applesauce for a power breakfast. Local bakery Great Harvest Bread sampled honey whole grain rolls and Greenfare, a local vegan restaurant brought a plant-based chili to taste.

Herndon Town Council member Jane Grannis led the kids in a challenging aerobic exercise. Loudoun County's Jackie Zitel and Gym America's Laura Carr could barely get the kids to stop running the obstacle course they had created. Sally Smallwood from FCPS and Officer Denise Randles ran a Safe Routes to School exercise encouraging students to walk or ride their bikes to school.
Breakfast After the Bell

American educators agree that hunger is a serious obstacle to learning. Seventy-five percent say th ey have children in their classrooms who regularly come to school hungry.  
Bre akfast in the Classroom o r Breakfast After the Bell programs are catching fire in school districts across the country. Making breakfast part of the regular school day, they are finding, has a powerf ul effect on kids' academic success.
RFFK spoke with Andrea Early, Director of School Nutrition for Harrisonburg City Public Schools (VA) about what has made these programs so popular and successful. Harrisonburg serves around 3,000 students daily through its breakfast after the bell programs in K-12th grade.
RFFK: What is it about the Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) or Breakfast After the Bell (BAB) programs that has made school divisions so excited about offering them?
EARLY: There are really several factors. The participation in traditional breakfast programs, served in the cafeteria, has fallen, meaning many students who should be getting breakfast are not. The cafeteria can be a barrier. You're straight off the bus, you may not have any friends in there. In the classroom programs, everyone gets breakfast, it's calm, you're eating with classmates, it's the place you want to be. It starts to become the thing to do. There are also academic benefits. Our partners at No Kid Hungry have research that show grades and attendance rise when breakfast is served. And we're hearing positive feedback from teachers and nurses in our schools about improved behavior.
RFFK: Does a student have to eat breakfast in these programs?
EARLY: They don't, and we communicate that to parents. The majority of our students are eating breakfast, but not all. It's one less thing for parents to worry about in a busy morning. Many kids aren't hungry until they get to school and others, even if they've eaten at home, are ready for a snack when they get there. In the offer versus serve model we use, kids only have to take three components offered for the breakfast to qualify as a meal the USDA will reimburse.
RFFK: What have you found to be the biggest challenges to procuring healthy offerings for a BIC program?
EARLY: Certainly labor and transport. It's easier to do a large volume of scrambled eggs but they can't be portioned for these programs, so we have to rely on items pre-made for us. We get how that looks, but manufacturers are working really hard to have products that are as healthy as possible and still appealing to kids. We have to meet federal standards, but we can go above and beyond that. We know sugar is a big concern for parents and some foods we serve have an image problem, so we look carefully at different products to keep sugar as low as we can. We would like to see manufacturers do more. It is coming as the regulations change, but we as food service directors have to keep pushing the envelope with manufacturers.
RFFK: How can school communities and parents support BIC and BAB programs?
EARLY: Find out from your school menu what's being offered, and let your kids participate, even if it's only a couple days a week. It's incredibly important for the students who rely on school meals to see students who don't eating in their classroom. It normalizes the meal and builds a sense of community in the classroom and everyone has a chance to succeed.

Can PTAs Find Healthier Options?
Now It's Easy

In the last several years, there have been regulation changes regarding what can sell to be sold to students during the school day. This can be challenging for PTAs to navigate. Many PTAs want to have healthy options for students - whether items are sold to students or provided to students free of charge.
It just got easier to serve healthier snacks to kids across the country, close the "healthy snack gap," save time, and support healthier kids. In an effort to make it easier for schools, sports, and parent groups, a great new partnership has been formed to help out: Healthier Generation Store with Amazon Business - the first verified online store dedicated to exclusively selling products compliant with Smart Snacks in School Standards. You'll find everything you need to organize your meeting, event, or appreciation function. You'll need to create a free Amazon Business Account to start shopping. There's free two-day shipping for orders $49 or more. Need help getting started? Contact Amazon's Customer Service  or call (866) 486-2360.
Share this information with your committees and other schools! 
Real Food for Kids SHORTS 

Whether you are a school food professional, a parent, a teacher, an administrator, or an advocate of healthy food for all, Chef Ann Cooper's School Food Institute provides the in-depth training, operational skills, and strategic vision necessary to make school food fresh, healthy, and sustainable and be part of the movement to get fresh, healthy food to every child, every day.
The Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released their State of Obesity Report for 2017. For 14 years, the annual report has raised awareness about the seriousness of the obesity epidemic, encouraged the creation of a national obesity prevention strategy and highlighted promising approaches for reversing the epidemic at the state and local level.  
The National Drinking Water Alliance has released three new downloadable Fact Sheets on Healthy Hydration, Effective Access to Water in Schools and Drinking Water Safety in Schools. 
The Bainum Family Foundation launched The Food Learning Locator, a one-stop resource for finding food-related community education programs, job training programs and organizations across the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. RFFK is among the resources listed. 

Action for Healthy Kids and National PTA, with support from ALDI, have teamed up to create  ParentsforHealthyKids.org, a new website that teaches parents how to get involved in school health and wellness to create healthier schools where kids can thrive. The site is unlike any other dedicated to school health-it's by parents for parents, no matter what your knowledge or experience is in school health .
Real Food for Kids in partnership with Georgia SHAPE, The Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Strong4Life has launched a Healthy Concessions Toolkit for schools, now available on our website. 
Articles and Links to More Resources

Healthy Snack Options at the Checkout, CSPI TV

Why School Vouchers are a Health and Wellness Issue, Healthy Schools Campaign
We Need to Reset the Baseline, Real Food for Kids Montgomery's Lindsey Parsons blogging for The Lunch Tray 


Real Food for Kids' Monthly Meetings
Please Join Us

November 16, North County Government Center, Reston
December 14, Gatehouse Administration Center, Fairfax

Can't make it but want to learn more? Send us an email!

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Real Food for Kids is committed to collaborating with school communities to elevate the quality and character of school food; develop and deliver programs that advance literacy in nutrition and health; and engage students, parents and schools in building a culture of health that spreads to their homes and communities.