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Utica City School District Expands Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

The Utica City School District's Food Service Department has been working hard to promote innovative programs under its new director with the mission of supporting nutrition, wellness and healthy eating habits for all of its students.

One innovative approach has been the development of the school district's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which is designed to further educate students on nutrition and the importance of fresh produce as part of a well-balanced diet. The goal of this program is to introduce students to a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as healthy snack options while, at the same time, promoting a healthy and nutritious diet.

Each week, classrooms in participating schools are delivered different fresh produce items. Students get the opportunity to taste the food while they watch an informational video created by the Utica City School District's New York State Registered Dietician Hayley Mielnicki.

"l am so excited to expand upon the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program," said Mielnicki. "Teachers and students alike will have the opportunity to taste a variety of fresh produce items while also learning about the nutritional benefits, seasonality and flavors through a series of video clips available on the school website. My hope is that this program will ignite a new interest around exotic fruits and vegetables and drive our students to try them at home."

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The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program has been implemented at all of the elementary schools in the district, with each school receiving a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables three times a week.

Through this program, the Utica City School District hopes to not only broaden students' nutritional knowledge, but make a long-lasting positive impact on their health and wellbeing as well.

If you are interested in viewing videos of the foods that have been featured in the program, visit the Utica City School District’s website here.

Finally, as a reminder, all student meals are organized and selected daily by the District's New York State Registered Dietitian Hayley Mielnicki in accordance with New York state and USDA nutrition guidelines.

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