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Fuel Greatness Smoothie Kickoff Event Promotes Healthy Choices


The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association on Wednesday hosted the Fuel Greatness Smoothie Kickoff event with Loudoun County students.

Students from local elementary schools squared off "Iron Chef" style on Wednesday night during a smoothie-making competition at Redskins Park.

The Charitable Foundation, in partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association, hosted a Fuel Up to Play 60 Smoothie Kickoff Wednesday, March 16th, 2016, at Redskins Park.

The secret ingredient? Dairy products.

Hosted by the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association, the Fuel Greatness Smoothie Kickoff event – a part of NFL Fuel Up to Play 60 – featured teachers, administrators and students from Loudoun County Public Schools and even a special Redskins guest.

Loudoun County Public Schools was the big winner on the night, receiving a $40,000 grant from the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association that will significantly help the school system promote healthy lifestyle choices.

Hugh Brockway, a physical education teacher at Lovettsville Elementary and a Fuel Up to Play 60 Program Ambassador, said that his school already has big plans for the grant money, and that it's important to let their students have input on the decisions.

"We're going to look at two main things – we're going to try to do a thing called 'Ramp up Recess' where we're going to take the students ideas and implement things they want to see painted on the blacktop out there for recess for them to play," he said. "The other big initiative that were going to do at our school is in-class activity breaks or implementation where we're going to get some yoga ball chairs for the students and also some standup desks for the kids to use in the classroom."

Brockway cited research that says "kids need to be up out of their chairs every 20 minutes or so, and we want to do that but in a controlled way where it's not going to make disruptions in the classroom."

"So this money and this grant is going to make some real positive impact at our schools, in the classroom as well as outside at recess too," he said.

The idea of making healthy lifestyle choices was further echoed Wednesday when Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen spoke about why Fuel Up to Play 60 – featuring initiatives that encourage healthy eating and getting 60 minutes of exercise each day – is crucial to kids everywhere.

"Nutrition and fitness are very important to me. I'm thinking about post-football, like finding a career path there, so this is something that I have a natural interest in and it kind of organically came up and it was just easy to come talk," Paulsen said. "And also I think empowering kids to make smart nutritional choices – and not totally relying on their parents who may or may not know – is going to be beneficial for the health of our nation, not just the health of these kids long-term."

After hearing from speakers from the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association on Wednesday, the teachers and students transitioned to the team dining room where they spoke to Redskins Executive Chef John Mathieson.

From there, the students had some of their own fun in the kitchen, as groups from three elementary schools who had submitted dairy-based smoothie recipes were selected to make their smoothies for Mathieson and a panel of judges.

Hutchison Farm Elementary showed great compromise when they combined two recipes to make one smoothie that featured elements from two students' entries. Their 'Berry Banana Blitz' had blueberries, strawberries, bananas and low-fat Greek yogurt for an extra protein punch.

The 'Sunshine Burst' was the submission from Lovettsville Elementary; their tropical smoothie had oranges, pineapple, peaches, flax seeds and low-fat vanilla yogurt.

In the end, the team from Lucketts Elementary proved victorious with their 'Laney Loo Loo' smoothie. The smoothie featured a combination of fresh and frozen strawberries, bananas, chia seeds and strawberry yogurt.

After judging the creations, Mathieson said that he tasted some "incredible" smoothies and stressed why this type of event is important for both kids and parents with information to make healthy lifestyle choices.

"I think it's been lost over time, right now with fast food and things like that and the convenience, but now people are finding out that making smoothies are really quick and easy," he said. "You can get the food or the fruits at the store, put them in your freezer, throw them in your smoothie the next day with some yogurt, milk and you've got something to go with."

Brockway believes that students taking part in events like Wednesday's at Redskins Park will help grow the program and its message.

"The kids they're going to go back and they're going to tell their friends," Brockway said. "And next thing you know, those other kids that really didn't know much about the program are going to say, 'Well I want to get involved, how do I do that?' and, 'What does this take?' And by having the Redskins be such an integral part of the program makes it real."




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