May 2022 Nutrition Newsletter

May 04th, 2022

Farmers’ Markets Are Back!

students at Bobier Elementary holding the fruits and vegetables they got at the farmers market



We’re thrilled to be able to bring back our friends from Food 4 Thought to host Farmers Market events at 9 of our elementary schools. Throughout April and May, students will get to pick their own fresh, seasonal, California-grown fruits and vegetables. Most of the produce is so fresh it was picked just a few days prior!


student displays a voucher for the farmer's market in front of a crate of orangesHere’s how it works: each student receives a voucher and can “buy” fruits and vegetables from the selection provided at the market. Each type of food has a price and students have to use their math and budgeting skills to purchase their produce (without having money leftover or selecting too much).


Before the market, each grade learns about the foods during a lively presentation. Students are called on to answer trivia about nutrition (winning broccoli, cabbage, apples, or other produce as a prize) and everyone together can shout out answers when prompted. The whole event is a fun, high-energy activity that students love. Plus, it adds real value to fresh fruits and vegetables!


students look at the many options at the farmer's marketHere’s the schedule for our Spring visits (some of which have already happened):

April 21: VAPA & Foothill Oak
April 22: T.H.E. Leadership Academy & Bobier
May 18: Hannalei
May 19th: Lake & Mission Meadows
May 20th-: Casita & Monte Vista


Be on the lookout for fresh produce coming home with your children. And one note: we encourage all families to thoroughly wash the produce and prepare a meal with it together.



Take Our Spring Menu Survey!

We love your feedback. Please take a few minutes and participate in our Spring 2022 Survey. This anonymous form lets you provide feedback, ideas, and suggestions for how we’re doing in serving our Vista Unified Community.


Click here for the elementary school survey.
Click here for the middle and high school survey.
*** If you have children in multiple grade levels, feel free to make a note of that in the feedback section of either survey.


Whether you are a student, staff, parent, or family member, these surveys provide us with valuable information to help us continually improve our process. From the popularity of different entrees to understanding how we are serving our community, your participation is important.


Thank you for taking part in this process and letting us hear from you.


Blender Bikes Return!

child smiling while riding a blender bike

As schools have opened up, so have our opportunities to bring our Blender Bikes back to schools. These visits provide a fun (and delicious) way to not just speak with students about healthy snacks and ways to make healthier choices but to show them how to do it.


Granted, most of us don’t have a blender bike at home, but a standard blender will do. Students get to see how easy it is to combine fresh fruits (and veggies) to make a tasty treat that doesn’t rely on lots of sugar.


Here are some pictures from recent Blender Bike visits. Click here for more.


If your school is interested in having the bikes for a visit (and a snack), just send us an email here.











It’s May, and in Vista, that means it’s time for the annual Strawberry Festival, as well as having strawberries as our featured item for Harvest Of The Month! Classrooms across our district will have tasting parties and learn all about the goodness (and deliciousness!) that comes with strawberries.


For example, did you know that strawberries are part of the rose family of plants? Are you aware that there are about 12 species of strawberries? And that they are recorded in history as long as 2,000 years ago when a Roman Senator named Cato wrote about them?


Home Grown: It should be no surprise that strawberries are a popular and plentiful crop in California, and have been since the early 1900s. California is the largest provider of strawberries in the United States, producing almost 90% of all strawberries in the nation.


Each year, California farms produce over 1 billion pounds of fresh and frozen strawberries. Yes, that’s billion with a “B”. And if all of the strawberries produced in California were laid berry to berry, they’d stretch around the world 15 times!


In addition to that, they’re delicious and good for you. Just ½ cup of strawberries provides more than 80% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C and is also a great source of fiber and folate.


Strawberries are delicious on their own, in a smoothie, with yogurt and granola, on our Strawberry Spinach Salad, or even infused in water to give you a simple and healthy beverage that helps you limit sugary drinks.


Learn more about strawberries, and discover ways to enjoy them at home and at school. Download our Harvest of the Month resources for families here.


If your child’s teacher wants to sign up for the program, it’s easy. For more information about the program, classroom tasting parties, and more, click here for our promo flyer.



No Cost for School Meals This Year!

A reminder that all school meals for the 2021-22 school year are offered to students at no cost. That includes breakfast, lunch, and supper if your child’s school offers a supper option. We are grateful to the USDA for expanding our ability to offer these meals to our students at no cost and hope that you will make the most of this offer.


Not only can families save plenty of money on food, but with meals ready at school, you’ll have more time to spend together as a family than when you used to be making lunches! As always, we are committed to serving fresh, healthy, delicious meals, and working with as many local and California-based farms as possible.

*** With meals being offered at no charge, we are anticipating more students will be dining with us. This may affect the availability of some entrees as we learn and adapt to greater numbers and meet the demand.



Staff Spotlight: Dania Velarde,
Central Kitchen Coordinator


This month we’re going to spotlight one of our Central Kitchen team members, Dania Verlade.


Dania oversees the massive operation in the kitchen. The team is up and at it early every day (starting at 5 AM), prepping meals, making gallons of salsa and salad dressings from scratch, running the pizza process, and assembling supper meals, among many other things.


Dania makes sure the kitchen runs smoothly, develops new recipes, and trains the team on the process of making thousands of meals every day. She does it with a kind demeanor and gracious expertise gained from lots of experience. We’re grateful for Dania and are happy to give her some well-deserved recognition.


How long have you been at the Central Kitchen? 5 years at the Central Kitchen and 22 years with Vista Unified.

Favorite Hobbies: Hiking, running, trying new food locations. working out, reading.

Favorite TV/Binge Watching: Game of Thrones, Yellowstone, Queen of the South, Ray Donovan, The Last Kingdom

Favorite Music (Bands/Singers): I like everything:)

Favorite WaveCrest Entree: of course PIZZA and the fish tacos with our CK-made fish sauce dressing!

Favorite thing about working at WaveCrest Cafe? Working daily with a great group of individuals that can take challenges and turn them into a positive outcome.


We're hiring. See open positions and join our team.

We have staffing opportunities at most of our schools, and new positions come up regularly. Come be part of a fun, dynamic team and serve our students, staff, and families every day.


With all meals being offered at no charge, we are anticipating even more students will be dining with us, which may result in longer lines. Help us serve our students faster and better – come be part of our team!


Click here to learn more about our open positions and apply today.



MENU SPOTLIGHT: Teriyaki Chicken & Noodles

This month’s spotlight entree is a new twist (for us) on the always-popular Teriyaki Chicken. Tender chicken receives a glaze of sweet and tangy teriyaki sauce before joining fresh veggies and being served on top of a hearty serving of freshly cooked noodles.



Add to that a selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies and you’ve got a delicious and nutrient-packed meal ready to please any hungry learner.


Be sure to check your school’s menu to see your daily options, and enjoy our fresh, healthy, and delicious meals! 


Resources & Grants | Recursos y subvenciones

Sprouts Neighborhood Garden Grants – May 31 deadline
These grants support organizations working at the community level, providing nutrition education and healthy food access to kids. With grants ranging in size from $5,000 to $10,000, we support organizations that help children develop healthy eating habits that last a lifetime. Click here to learn more.


Request A Master Gardener For Your School
The San Diego County Master Gardener Association provides Master Gardeners to help schools set up and maintain gardens. Master Gardeners act as consultants, mentoring parents and teachers who request help with beginning or improving their school gardens. Request a garden consultant here.


Educational Garden Design Grant – Rolling Dates
The California Native Garden Foundation offers grants for school gardens that feature CA native plants. Types of support include garden design services, in-kind donations of plants and landscape materials, volunteer assistance, and direct financial assistance. Click here to learn more and to apply.


American Heart Association Teaching Gardens Grant – Rolling Dates
The American Heart Association is helping the fight against childhood obesity by planting gardens in elementary schools across the country that become real-life learning laboratories for students to experience what it means to be healthy. Click here to learn more.



Solana Center Workshops – Rolling Dates
The Solana Center hosts a variety of workshops and lessons across San Diego County, with topics including composting, raising backyard chickens, green living, and water-wise gardening. Check out their events calendar here.



Bonnie’s Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program – Rolling Dates
Bonnie’s provides free mega-cabbage plants to 3rd-grade teachers across the US who want to participate. Students grow the cabbages and submit pictures and measurements of their harvest to be considered for a $1,000 scholarship. Find out how to participate here.


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(C) 2022 WaveCrest Cafe / Vista Unified School District
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Esta institución es un proveedor de igualdad de oportunidades.