Lunchbox Notes: Briefs on school, food and what the kids are eating

Loudoun County School Nutrition Services gets its own Instagram, and elementary schools promote locally grown produce with baseball-style trading cards.

Farm school
Photo by Bushnell Photography

Lunch Ladies
Parents can finally see what their kids really ate for lunch through the Loudoun County School Nutrition Services Instagram account. Plus, scroll through pictures of the salad bar and the lunch ladies who serve it all.

Trade You
Loudoun County Department of Economic Development and Dr. Becky Domokos-Bays, supervisor of school nutrition services for Loudoun County Public Schools, distributed baseball-style trading cards starring the county’s farmers to over 50 elementary schools last year as part of the USDA-funded Farm to School pilot program promoting locally grown fruits and vegetables on school cafeteria menus. There will be another batch in the spring.

The Bar is Open
With recipe contests, taste receptor workshops and sports nutrition education, Real Food For Kids promotes healthy eating in school settings with chapters in Alexandria, Fairfax and Loudoun. At the end of the last school year, RFFK opened its first seasonally rotating salad bar at Vienna Elementary School with 15 opening this fall in Fairfax alone. By 2020 all 120 elementary schools will have this style salad bar.

Mix and Match
When students can pick their own combinations in amounts they prefer, says Amy Maclosky, the director of food and nutrition services for Arlington schools, they’ll end up selecting both fruits and vegetables from the lunch line. Maclosky found an uptick in takers during the pilot program, and this year the a la carte option (not portion-controlled) will be available at all schools. Baby carrots and mandarin oranges were favorites.

Farm School
Ashburn’s Willowsford, a community with its own farm and culinary professionals, trained kitchen staff from Fairfax and Loudoun schools last month through its new Chef’s Academy. This is part of an ongoing program to encourage the use of local ingredients and scratch-kitchen methods in cafeterias.

(September 2016)

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