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GOOD NUTRITION AND BRIELLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL A WINNING COMBINATION
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(BRIELLE) – Green was the school color at Brielle Elementary School today when New York Jets offensive guard Adrien Clarke stopped by to commend school officials for their commitment to healthy eating and good health and to encourage the students to enjoy the nutritious foods offered in the cafeteria.
The Jets and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture joined together for the Eat Right, Move More campaign which urges Garden State students to eat the healthy foods in school that adhere to the state’s new school nutrition policy. The program was announced last year by the New York Jets and Governor Jon S. Corzine, who has been a major supporter of healthy eating for all New Jersey citizens.
“Our new nutrition guidelines that require wellness education and the offering of more nutritious foods to students are scoring big with both school districts and the students themselves,” said Jill Niglio, a regional child nutrition supervisor for the Department. “We applaud Brielle Elementary School’s enthusiasm and their healthy menu and programs that promote good health.”
Clarke, now in his third season with the Jets, spent some time at recess with a group of students then addressed the entire student body at an assembly. The 6-foot-five 330-pound professional football player said he knows the benefits of healthy eating and exercise from his years of playing football.
"Eating healthy and exercising regularly gives me the energy I need to perform my best on and off the field," said Clarke. "The most important lesson we can teach our children is how to take care of their bodies so that they grow up to lead long, healthy and productive lives."
Brielle Elementary School was one of five schools chosen to receive Jets player visits as part of the Eat Right, Move More contest, which challenged New Jersey schools to submit their meal menus to determine the five schools with the most creative meal selections and that have made the most significant changes to improve their school nutrition environment.
Snacks and commercial soda were removed from Brielle School’s ala carte program several years ago and the lunch menu began offering significantly more fruits and vegetables. Salads, such as Chicken Caesar, Chef Salad and Garden Salad also are popular menu items that, at times, result in a line at the salad dressing area.
“Our program has a high participation rate,” said Brielle School Superintendent Joseph G. Torrone. “While there was initial concern that students would begin to bring their lunches, the result of this program has been an increase in student participation in our school lunch program over the past three years.”
There are 712 kindergarten through eighth-graders in Brielle Elementary School.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture works closely with the state Department of Education in providing nutrition and wellness education.
“What has happened at Brielle Elementary School and the other winning schools shows that with a little effort and creativity, you can change a nutritional culture,” said New Jersey Education Commissioner Lucille E. Davy. “That’s a major benefit for children now in the classroom, and it impacts their overall health and well-being in adulthood. By offering kids a choice of healthy foods and showing them that healthy food can taste good, too, you are providing them with a nutrition roadmap for life.”
The Model School Nutrition Policy is the most comprehensive in the nation, covering pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, and limits fat and sugar content in foods offered in a la carte lines, snack bars and vending machines, school stores and as part of on-campus fund-raisers. For more information on the policy, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/childadult/school_model.html.
To be eligible to apply for the Eat Right, Move More program, schools must participate in the national school lunch program, a federally funded program to ensure all children have access to a wholesome meal during the school day, which is administered by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
As a professional football team that plays in New Jersey, the Jets regularly promote youth health, fitness, and education, particularly in disadvantaged communities. Over the past six years, the Jets and their charitable foundation donated or raised more than $6 million to promote youth health, fitness, and education.
The other four winning schools in the Eat Right, Move More contest will be visited by Jets players in May. They are: Sandman Consolidated Elementary School in Lower Township; Heywood Avenue Elementary School in Orange; J. Ackerman Coles Elementary School in Scotch Plains; and Springfield Township Elementary School in Jobstown.