Advocates Honor Bethesda School For Healthy Food Changes


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A group pushing MCPS to make its cafeteria menus more healthy honored Bradley Hills Elementary School on Tuesday. Real Food for Kids - Montgomery named the school "most improved" thanks to a flurry of changes and educational activities prompted by parents. RFKM's Lisa Mandell -- a member of the school PTA's Wellness Committee -- worked with Principal Sandra Reece to remove snack items on the school's a la carte menu that more than half of parents disapproved of. Items jettisoned from the lunch menu included gummy fruit snacks, Doritos chips and ice cream. The changes came after Mandell and PTA member Aimee Aronson met with Reece and MCPS Food and Nutrition Services Director Marla Caplon. According to RFKM, MCPS agreed to remove the items after the meting. It followed a 2012-2013 parent survey the PTA put out about school food. That survey showed parents wanted a salad bar in the cafeteria, which was subsequently installed. The PTA Wellness Committee organized a "Rainbow Week" in April during which students were supplied with charts and stickers to track the different types of food they ate throughout the week. At the request of Reece, MCPS Food Services supervisor Elizabeth Harrell spoke with parents at a November 2013 meeting about changes to the a la carte menu and introduction of the salad bar. RFKM co-director Lindsey Parsons gave Reece a certificate on Tuesday. The RFKM nonprofit was key in getting MCPS to ban strawberry milk and quarreled with MCPS over snow day-influenced menu changes that meant two days of double-stuffed pizza in elementary schools during one week in January. They also made a wide-ranging list of recommendations for the entire school system (including salad bars in every cafeteria and more scratch-cooked meals) that picked up some support from members of the County Council. MCPS officials say they're always looking to make improvements in their food offerings. But they've also said some of the suggestions, including the idea of offering unlimited fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the day, just aren't practical. Real Food for Kids - Montgomery also had some suggestions for upcoming classroom Halloween parties in a recent email to supporters: Basically, get rid of all candy and soda. Photo via Real Food for Kids - Montgomery

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