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Washington Co. Public Schools Receive Bronze Award for Nutrition

So making sure that we're serving the best quality product at the highest level, utilizing the fresh products that have less additives, less preservatives and just flat out taste better. That's what's important to us in making sure that kids are eating their meals and it all comes down to taste for kids," said Jeffrey Proulx.
MAUGANSVILLE, Md. - Washington County Public Elementary Schools have received the bronze medal for school lunches.

It's all part of the HealthierUS School Challenge, a national USDA program aimed to make kids healthier through better meal choices, more physical activity, and proper nutrition and psychical education as well.

In Washington County, students get not one, not two, but at least three lunch options a day, plus choices of different fresh fruits and veggies, like a salad, a banana, green beans, an apple, or carrot sticks, plus low-fat dairy to round out their tray.

"Currently we have local apples all coming from right here in Washington County. Our ground beef is currently being processed through Hoffman Meets, and is coming from within a 500 mile radius. So we're looking to enhance that product and really do a lot more to really increase the local economy through agriculture. And also take advantage of the harvest that we have here," said Jeffrey Proulx, Supervisor of Food and Nutrition Services for Washington County Public Schools.

And it's all a science. Kids get specific portions based on their age and caloric needs, so they receive the proper nutrients to help them grow, and thrive in and out of school.

"Obesity is clearly a reason, the Food and Nutrition Department is here to fulfill a need during the school day when we have students here as sort of, a captive audience. But we can't take lightly our obligation to the community to foster healthy kids," said Proulx.

The application process for WCPS took almost 18- months. Officials with Food and Nutrition Services applied through the Maryland State Department of Education before it moved on to the USDA. And Washington County Public Schools will receive a certificate and a small monetary reward for their achievement.

"So making sure that we're serving the best quality product at the highest level, utilizing the fresh products that have less additives, less preservatives and just flat out taste better. That's what's important to us in making sure that kids are eating their meals and it all comes down to taste for kids," said Jeffrey Proulx.
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