Planting a Healthy Habit:

Benefits of Plant-Based Foods and Strategies for Eating More

Research shows plant-based diets may prevent, treat, or reverse chronic health issues such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. With more people, especially students, choosing plant-based lifestyles, our panelists will share the benefits of those choices, how to make a mindful transition to more plant-based foods and how our school systems are responding to the growing health trend.


Kristen Hartke

Food Writer and Recipe Developer

Regan Karlsen

Forward Food

Amy Maclosky

Arlington County Public Schools




Nutrition Facts Labels:

Informing Your Health Roadmap

In 2016 the FDA announced new Nutrition Facts labeling for packaged foods to make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices. So, exactly how do you decode the new information on that can or box you’re buying to make a healthy purchasing decision? Join our GMU panel to learn more about how the new labels can be part of your roadmap for good health.


George Mason University

School of Nutrition and Food Studies

Moderated by

Mary Porter

Director of Programs

Real Food for Kids



2018 Culinary Challenge

Hayfield Secondary School

March  2018

Thanks To


Principal Sponsor



 CELEBRATE / ANTICIPATE Last November, the winning dish from the 2017 Culinary Challenge & Wellness Expo –food created by students for students – made its debut on the Fairfax County school lunch menu, proving that our students can truly play a change-maker role in elevating the quality and character of school food. This year, even more teams are competing for that coveted lunch spot. Are they up to the challenge? Who Should Attend? students / parents / educators / nutrition professionals / school health advocates What will you experience? The Public Tasting More teams! More to taste! Sample the creations of our student chefs from 8 Northern Virginia teams in both our Competition and Showcase categories. Plus samples of the newest additions to the FCPS lunch menu. Before you arrive, learn more about how teams must prepare for this challenge. The Plenary Session new this year our expanded Plenary Session will feature a fast-paced program of presenters, panelists and special guests sharing their expertise in nutrition, health & wellness, culinary arts and career exploration. The plenary will cap off with the announcement of our winning team and recipe. Our partners' hall Also New this year. An opportunity to visit with some of Real Food for Kids’ partners in food, nutrition & health, education and much more. Samples, recipes and information to take home. and there's more! prize drawings including top tier restaurant gift certificates and signed cookbooks.* *Winner Must be Present at Time of Drawing To Win.

Ype Von Hengst


Richard Crespin

Richard Kane


Clay Doubleday

Kristen Hartke

Brian Head

Regan Karlsen

Amy Maclosky

Ryan McElveen

Heather Jones

Peter Mecca


Schedule of Events

10:00 AM                            Registration and Partners’ Hall Open


11:00 AM – 12:15 PM         Public Tasting

                                               For your lunch, taste the creations from all Middle and High School teams plus new menu samples from Fairfax County


12:30 PM – 1:45 PM           Plenary Session and Awards Presentation

                                               Door prizes will be announced


1:45 PM – 2:00 PM             Awards Ceremony







Students wiil be challenged to create a delicious and appealing Smart Snack item


Participating Schools

Sandburg MS

West Potomac HS







Back 2 Basics Snacks




Students will be challenged to create a healthy school lunch on a tight budget while meeting high standards for nutrition, taste, presentation and creativity


Participating Schools

Chantilly Academy

Franklin MS

Lake Braddock SS

Marshall Academy

Sandburg MS





Market Basket


(Judged Competition)



Students wiil be challenged to create a delicious and appealing Back 2 Basics Breakfast item


Participating Schools

West Potomac HS







 Back 2 Basics




Using approved ingredients and USDA school nutrition guidelines, middle and high school student teams demonstrate how they – the consumers – can impact the taste and reputation of the lunch line with creative approaches that benefit entire school systems. The lunch, breakfast and snack dishes are designed to bring restaurant-quality food to our school cafeterias. See who’s participating…

This year we have a range of presenters, panelists and speakers sharing ideas and information on food, nutrition and health, culinary and related career insight and more intriguing stuff. This fast-paced session will build up to the presentation of our awards to the top three teams and the winning recipe of the competition. Here's a sample of what you'll see.

The Expo Plenary

The Culinary Challenge


The Entrepreneurial Connection Between School Food and STEM

Farm to School programs, as a procurement model, are gaining traction in many school districts. In Falls Church, an entirely different Farm IN School model is growing – but along with lettuce, entrepreneurs are taking root through project-based STEM education. Find out how students are raising the food supply chain – and the bar – inside these school walls


Richard Kane

Director Food and Nutrition Services, Falls Church City Public Schools

Peter Mecca

STEM Educator, George Mason High School and students from GMHS

Moderated by

Richard Crespin

CEO CollaborateUp



Sweet and Savory?

A Healthy Snack That Works Two Ways

What common nut can be both a creamy, savory base for mac and cheese and a sweet dip for sliced apples? Cashews, one of the world’s most popular, heart-healthy nuts, have extraordinary and delicious versatility. Kristen Hartke will be joined by some FCPS students to share the secrets of getting smooth with cashews. And the recipes will be available on our website after the event!

Click Here for Recipe

Kristen Hartke

Food Writer and Recipe Developer


This is Not Your Mother’s Home Ec:

Leadership and Life Skills for the New Economy

Whoever said life skills aren’t taught at school never took a Family & Consumer Sciences class. Beyond traditional cooking and sewing instruction, FACS classes simulate life experiences that provide a foundation for managing individual, family, career, and community roles and responsibilities. Ryan McElveen will talk with three FACS champions about how these sought-after courses are supporting students in developing character and the critical thinking, communication and practical skills required in today’s workforce.

Family and Consumer Sciences Educators

Chef Clay Doubleday

Chantilly Academy

Chef Brian Head

FCPS Food and Nutrition Services

Heather Jones

 Sandburg Middle School

Moderated by

Ryan McElveen

School Board Member at Large

Fairfax County Public Schools


Getting There

Register Below

Your $15 Registration Includes:


Public Tasting of Culinary Creations from all Middle and High School Teams

Expo with Over 15 Speakers, Panelists and Special Guests

Partners Hall with Exhibits, Recipes and Samples


Check Back Later



Audience Drawings for:

Dining Certificates

Celebrity Signed Cookbooks



Real Food For Kids is committed to working in collaboration with our partners to increase the quantities of healthful foods in our school systems, developing and delivering programs that educate our students and their families on making healthier lifestyle choices, and ensuring access to real whole foods for all school children.







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