Sligo Creek ES signed the pledge - how about you?
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September 17, 2014
Sligo Creek Elementary School Signed the RFKM Healthy Kids PTA Pledge... And So Should You!

SCES-RFKM 2Summer has come and gone and school is back in session, which means that fundraisers and class parties are right around the corner. Although these events often represent a time for parents and children to come together to raise funds for their schools or to celebrate the hard work that students put in during the school day, these celebrations often contradict the healthy eating habits that we are trying to instill in our children. Pizza, chips, and an assortment of sweet treats are more often than not the go-to snacks for these occasions. What if instead of pizza, fundraisers featured a make-your-own burrito bar? Or, to reward students at class parties, fun fruit kabobs and yogurt “sundaes” were served instead of candy and cookies?

Sligo Creek Elementary School PTA is starting their school year off the healthy way by implementing changes in accordance with the RFKM Healthy Kids PTA Pledge they signed at the end of last year. By signing the pledge, the SCESPTA agreed to choose fundraisers that promote healthy eating and physical activity, encourage parents to organize class parties and events that follow the RFKM healthier party planning guide and serve healthy food first, and promote serving water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages at PTA-sponsored fundraisers.

SCES PTA President, Amy Kenney, states, “Our PTA is supporting the Real Food for Kids pledge because healthful food matters. Kids do better when they eat well. Anything we can do to improve the learning experience is important, and a key ingredient is healthful lunches and snacks at school.” 

To garner parent support, SCESPTA has featured the pledge on their website, as well as several resources put together by RFKM to help parents plan healthier parties and bring healthier snacks for younger children. The SCESPTA has even listed reading the RFKM Healthy Kid pledge in their “10+ Things To Do Before School Starts,” and has invited RFKM to contribute to their monthly newsletters to keep parents reminded of the importance of good nutrition.

If you are a PTA member or a parent who would like to see healthy fundraisers, snacks and parties become the norm at your school, please consider asking your PTA to sign the RFKM Healthy Kids PTA Pledge. The pledge, as well as a wealth of healthy fundraiser and party planning resources can be found at:

If you have questions or if your PTA decides to sign the pledge, please email us at

RFKM School Advocacy Training

On Saturday Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., RFKM will be holding a training session for our school representatives (or anyone interested in school-based food activism) where we will work on school-based advocacy strategies. These strategies include presenting RFKM's work to your PTA, how to survey your school food environment, implementing changes you can make at the local school level, starting a Wellness Committee, and dealing with opposition. We encourage all members to attend. RSVP to Location TBA.

Eating a Rainbow

5for5challenge 2Five servings of fruits and vegetables every day for five days may not be a challenge to most of you, but for some it's an entirely new concept. Not to worry, we're here to offer some help. Health professionals often suggest that a colorful diet is a healthy one, so in the spirit of the "5 for 5 Challenge" take a moment to read about "the color games" which provides the most beneficial fruits and vegetables for each color of the rainbow. For an extra challenge, try incorporating some of these colorful foods into your diet for the week!

Our thanks to the kids and parents who signed up for the "5 for 5 Challenge" and good luck to them this week as they up their intake or variety of fruits and veggies!

Whole Foods in Silver Spring Presents Dr. Neal Barnard, President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Omnivore or Pescatarian? Vegan or Vegetarian? Whatever your style, we could all benefit from adding more plant-based foods to our daily diet.  As President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Neal Barnard, M.D. has been an advocate for healthy eating for many years. Catch Dr. Barnard Thursday Sept. 25 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Center on Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring. Dr. Barnard will be talking about realistic ways to kick start your health through diet-related lifestyle changes. Book signing and reception will follow the lecture in Whole Foods Silver Spring store café. Register for this free event at  

Opt out of Junky Snacks and Opt in to Good Health

Do you suffer from a mysteriously vanishing lunch account junk foodbalance? All secondary schools and most elementary schools in MCPS offer a la carte snacks that include a long list of items such as Cheezits, Doritos, Tostitos, gummy candies (aka Welch’s Fruit Snacks), Craisins, pudding, popcorn, sugary fruit juices, chocolate milk, ice cream and cookies (see a la carte summary sheet for 14-15). And many schools start serving lunch as early as 10:30 a.m. These a la carte snacks are sold to your children every school day – often without your knowledge and consent.


If you haven’t already, contact your cafeteria manager and request that your child’s lunch account be blocked from purchasing a la carte snacks. Send your name, your child’s name, and their 4-digit lunch account pin number. This is an effective way to help your child make good choices in school. This will also send a message to MCPS that parents prefer their children be served a healthy meal at lunchtime and not be tempted with junky snacks. Some schools will also allow you to put “white milk only” on the account if you would like to restrict your child's purchase of chocolate milk.


Once you've opted out, send us an email with your name and school. We'd love to know which schools are working toward a healthier school food environment.

Please support the 34% of MCPS children on Free and Reduced Meals by supporting RFKM!

While most of the parents in MCPS can easily solve the problem of unhealthy school food for their children by sending in a lunch, 34% of kids in MCPS qualify for Free and Reduced Meals, meaning their parents probably can't. RFKM is working to make school food healthier for those children, who may also be eating breakfast in school (or in the classroom, which is in 74 MPCS schools) as well. Adding in after school supper programs, some children are consuming up to 3 meals a day in school. Your support enables our advocacy work to continue - please give generously at:
RFKM Exhibiting at Poolesville Day 

Join the fun this Saturday, Sept. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be lots to see and do at the 22nd Annual Poolesville Festival and Celebration. There is a 5K race, a parade, lots of food, music, and over 100 exhibitors. RFKM will be in space #2. For more information about Poolesville Day click here.

If any RFKM supporters from the Poolesville area have an hour or two to spare this Saturday, we'd love for you to help us out at our table and spread the word about bringing better food to our kids in MCPS. Students can earn SSL hours for volunteering. Please email if you can make it.

Kids Consuming Too Much Salt

More than 90 percent of American kids eat more than the recommended amount of salt, putting them at risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease when they’re older, according to a CDC report released Tuesday. Nearly half — 43 percent — of the sodium consumed by children comes from 10 of their favorite foods: pizza, cheese, chicken nuggets/tenders/patties, bread and rolls, sandwiches, charcuterie, savory snacks, pasta dishes, Mexican dishes and soup. “Most sodium is from processed and restaurant food, not the salt shaker,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said.

Articles, Videos, and Petitions of Interest

Successful, Healthy Fundraising

Parents Support Healthier School Food Policies by 3-to-1 Margin

Human Food Project - Want to know more about your gut microbiome? Join thousands of others who have already donated and signed up for the American Gut Project.

Gut Reaction - Learn about the interaction between the bacteria in our gut, the food we're eating, and our health from this Australia Public TV 2-part series on Catalyst: Part One and Part Two

Tell the USDA to Label Pink Slime

Montgomery County Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign - Sign the petition now to end any new investments in fossil fuel. Help save your environment and the thousands of dollars that are wasted!

Voices for Healthy Kids Order a toolkit that will provide you with health facts, access to affordable foods, and other great resources.

Healthy Changes in Fairfax County Thanks to Real Food for Kids

Fairfax County is making some serious changes to the foods offered to all students. Thanks to the diligence of our friends at the original Real Food for Kids, students will be offered healthier options on a regular basis. Fresh food bars, otherwise known as fresh food "zones" will be placed into each middle and high school. They will offer fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as various salad fixings and wraps. Along with this change, they will be eliminating artificial additives, preservatives, and dyes from the foods that are served. FCPS have also generated a plan, with the help of RFFK, to eliminate soda in phases as new machines are put in. 

With so many changes already, RFFK and FCPS have exceeded expections immeasurably by taking the extra step to provide access to better nutrition information for parents and students alike. 

To learn more about these changes, read the Salud America! Growing Healthy Change article on RFFK in Fairfax, VA. 

Amazon-Smile  - - (301) 202-4812

Real Food for Kids - Montgomery is a 
grassroots parent and student advocacy group working to promote
whole, delicious, fresh and nutrient-rich foods in the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland.

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