Beaufort County schools perform well in healthy schools challenge

July 5, 2011 

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  • A list of suggestions from schools that have earned recognition in the USDA's Healthier U.S. School Challenge, which seeks to promote healthier lifestyles for school students:

    • Replace all of the fat in baked goods with pureed beans.

    • Cut costs associated with whole grain products by eliminating pre-made foods and buying raw ingredients instead.

    • Introduce local lunch days, featuring locally grown food.

    • Hold a taste test with a local bakery to allow students and parents to sample different types of breads and grains.

    • Involve the principal in activities, such as morning walks, to ensure the kids are physically active.

    • Start a nutrition club.

    • Hold a health fair, at which each class puts together a table of information on a specific health topic.

    • Create a parents' room with an area dedicated to nutrition education for parents.

    Source: www.fns.usda.gov

Twenty-nine of 31 Beaufort County public schools were recognized in the Healthier U.S. School Challenge, according to a news release Tuesday, and picked up $17,500 as a result.

Shanklin Elementary and Shell Point Elementary schools won gold awards, which ranks just below the "gold award of distinction" as the contest's highest honor, according to the Healthier U.S. School Challenge website.

Two schools won silver awards, and 25 won bronze.

The program, which began in 2004, is sponsored by the USDA's Food and Nutrition Services Division and is open to all schools participating in the national school lunch program. To be named a winner, schools had to meet criteria in 10 areas, including meal planning and portion size, nutrition education, physical education, and school health and nutrition policies, according to a Beaufort County School District news release.

"Beaufort County has been aggressive in the healthy schools initiative," superintendent Valerie Truesdale said in the release. "We partnered with Sodexo, our food service contractor, to revise menus to promote healthier choices in school breakfasts and lunches, eliminating fried foods."

Truesdale said the district also hosted the "Eat Smart, Move More" regional conference, and it measures students' body mass index, pursues grants to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, and has removed high-calorie items from vending machines. Some schools also have started walking and fitness clubs, she noted.

Award-winning schools receive monetary awards, totaling $17,500 to the district. Application for the awards was supported by Sodexo partners Larry Wilson and Donna Brazil, who direct food services with the county school district.

Other award-winning schools were:

  • Silver -- Mossy Oaks Elementary, Port Royal Elementary.

  • Bronze -- Battery Creek High School, Beaufort High School, Bluffton High School, Hilton Head Island High School and Whale Branch Early College High School.

    • Beaufort Middle School, Bluffton Middle School, H.E. McCracken Middle School, Hilton Head Island Middle School, Lady's Island Middle School, Robert Smalls Middle School, Whale Branch Middle School.

      Beaufort Elementary School, Bluffton Elementary School, Broad River Elementary School, Coosa Elementary School, Hilton Head Island Elementary School, Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts, Lady's Island Elementary School, Michael C. Riley Elementary School, Okatie Elementary School, Pritchardville Elementary School, Red Cedar Elementary School, St. Helena Elementary School and Whale Branch Elementary School.

    Related content Healthier U.S. School Challenge website

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