Healthy-snacks program spreads to 35 elementary schools in Las Vegas Valley

Sweet potato sticks or yellow squash? Kumquats or persimmons? Edamame or sugar snap peas?

Every student at 35 low-income elementary schools across Clark County will have access to these fruit and vegetable snack options during class this year because of a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Two schools in the southwest valley, Diskin and Red Rock, are participating in the program.

Diskin joined the program in 2008, the program’s inaugural year in the district, and Red Rock joined in 2016.

“Being at a Title I school, kids don’t have the opportunity to experience some of these (fruits and vegetables) because parents often can’t afford it,” Red Rock assistant principal Nikki Longmore said.

Districtwide, it’s an increase from the 30 schools that received the grant last year, according to Lory Hayon, a registered dietician with the district.

Produce is delivered to the district’s food-service warehouse, where it is washed and cut. School administrators place weekly orders, and vegetables are shipped to each campus. Teachers are responsible for picking up the fruit and vegetable snacks from the cafeteria on delivery days and distributing them during class.

“They can definitely reach more students (during class),” Hayon said. “Once the lunch bell rings, chaos ensues.”

A student at one of these 35 schools might snack on rutabaga sticks on Friday then, the following week, try green beans, edamame, sugar snap peas, Asian pears, jicama sticks or cantaloupe.

Schools approved for the grant are required to have at least 50 percent of students on free or reduced meals. Longmore helped write the grant for Red Rock, where last year more than 85 percent of students received free or reduced lunch.

Longmore orders the snacks two or three times a week. Some of them are incorporated into lessons, she said.

“But any time there’s a new fruit or vegetable they perhaps haven’t had, they talk about what it is and where it’s grown,” Longmore said. She said such lessons may become more common when the school’s new garden is ready in late September.

Offerings are based on what’s available seasonally and will change throughout the year, Hayon said.

The federal program was established in 2002 and expanded to all 50 states in 2008, according to the USDA’s website. Each school receives between $50 and $75 per student for the school year to purchase extra fruits and vegetables.

While Longmore said she could order fruits and vegetables for every day of the week, she doesn’t want it to become a burden for teachers, who take time out of their lessons to distribute snacks. But if she sees an interesting item on the menu — kumquats, for example — she’ll order it, she said.

Mango with chili lime powder is a student favorite. The least popular item Longmore has introduced to Red Rock students?

“They don’t like broccoli. They complain that it smells horrible,” Longmore said.

Some things never change.

Contact Madelyn Reese at or 702-383-0497. Follow @MadelynGReese on Twitter.

Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like