Nutrition director honored by national physicians group
School board to discuss opening of schools
Kathleen C. Lazor, the school system's director of food and nutrition services, has received the Golden Carrot award from The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a national nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that promotes healthy diets.
Lazor was honored because of her approach to serving low-fat, vegetarian food to students, according to the physicians committee.
The school system offers vegetarian chik 'n nuggets, veggie burgers, and soy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to its students, along with soy milk and fruit juice.
Parents of elementary school students are told of the school system's vegetarian options through a monthly menu, and all county schools participated in "Farm to School Week," where fresh fruits and vegetables were on the menu.
The physicians committee will give $500 directly to Lazor, and another $500 will go toward the county's food service program. Lazor said she would donate her $500 to the program.
"By offering plenty of fruits, vegetables and low-fat vegetarian meals, Montgomery County Public Schools' lunchrooms help students understand the link between what they eat and their health," committee nutritionist Kathryn Strong said in a statement. "Young people who develop good eating habits are more likely to choose carrot sticks and veggie burgers over chicken wings throughout life. Healthier choices can dramatically reduce their risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease."
The physicians committee established the Golden Carrot Awards in 2004 to recognize food service professionals doing a good job of improving the healthfulness of school lunches. The committee looks for programs that encourage kids to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and offer plenty of vegetarian, low-fat, whole grain, and nondairy options.
Last summer, however, the nonprofit Cancer Project in the District gave the Montgomery school system a failing grade on a survey of the nation's large school systems because it served processed meats too often to students for breakfast and lunch.
At the time, a senior nutritionist with the Cancer Project said that the school system made significant strides in cutting processed meats from its menus.
Processed meats, including hot dogs, bacon and deli fare, were offered to students for breakfast and/or lunch more than 20 percent of the time, according to a national report card released Thursday by the Cancer Project.
The numbers were highest in county elementary schools, where 13 percent of elementary school lunch menus offered processed meats. Some 8 percent of middle school lunches and 2 percent of high school lunches included processed meats.
We continue to serve healthy, nutritious and affordable food to all of our students," Suzanne E. Wood, the school system's assistant director of food and nutritional services, said at the time.
School board meeting
The county school board, along with Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, will meet at 1 p.m. Aug. 27 to discuss the school system's readiness to open for the school year and the annual growth policy, among other items. The first day of classes is Aug. 31.
The meeting will take place in the board room at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville.
Meetings are shown online at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/boe, and broadcast on Comcast Channel 34, Verizon FIOS Channel 35, and RCN Channel 88. Meetings are rebroadcast at 1 p.m. the Saturday and Sunday following the meeting.
For more information, call 301-279-3617.