Enter the Gridiron Cooking Challenge

The Dairy Council of Florida is now accepting recipes for its fourth annual Gridiron Cooking Challenge, a fun filled cooking competition for elementary and middle school students throughout Florida.  Students in groups of four are encouraged to create and submit a healthy, original recipe that prominently features dairy products (milk, cheese and/or yogurt). The deadline for submissions is March 3, 2017. The top four student teams in each Florida NFL market – represented by the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars – will compete for the grand prize at the Gridiron Cooking Challenge as they cook their recipe on-site in less than 60 minutes. The students’ creations will be judged by a select group of distinguished professionals including NFL players, Florida Dairy Farmers, Fuel Up to Play 60 student ambassadors and health professionals. The winning team in each NFL market will receive a prize pack for their school valued at up to $2,500. Each student on the team will receive an iPad mini, among other prizes.

Recipe entry forms can be found on the Florida Dairy Farmers website, and can be submitted via mail or email. For entry forms and contest rules please visit:


Healthy Students and Staff at Lakemont Elementary

Students and staff at Lakemont Elementary are serving as role models for their peers.

Recently, a group of Lakemont Elementary staffers completed their first Camp Gladiator session.  Camp Gladitor is described as “…more than a gym, it’s more than a boot camp, it’s an experience!” Camps are 4 weeks of unlimited, one-hour, full-body workouts.


Students are also serving as healthy role models as they take on leadership roles as “student ambassadors” with Fuel Up to Play 60.   Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council and NFL, in collaboration with the USDA, to help encourage today’s youth to lead healthier lives.


Hungerford Elementary Hosts “A Hero’s Breakfast”

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It takes a village to create and sustain a culture of health and wellness within a school.  Schools must partner with community organizations and local businesses to ensure their students and staff are healthy and ready to learn.

Hungerford Elementary has leveraged many community partners to provide the best opportunities possible for their students and staff.  To say thank you to these partners, on March 16, 2016, Hungerford Elementary held “A Hero’s Breakfast” at First Watch in Winter Park.  Attendees included representatives from Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, the Dairy Council of Florida, Orlando Orthopedic, Winter Park Health Foundation, and volunteers from career day.

Hungerford’s principal, Ms. Letecia Foster, thanked participants for their dedication to Hungerford Elementary and were then treated to a healthy breakfast.  Participants had the opportunity to learn from each other and develop new relationships, an opportunity for future partnerships.

The breakfast was modeled after Fuel Up to Play 60’s A Hero’s Breakfast play.


Local Students Participate in Active Kids Summit

On March 4, nationally recognized health and wellness experts joined together at Florida Hospital’s Health Village campus in Orlando to discuss how initiatives such as Let’s Move! Active Schools and local programs can improve children’s health and fitness.  Among the experts were students from Lakemont Elementary and Winter Park High School, who shared their stories about how the Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60) program and other school based health initiatives have helped them perform better in and out of school.

Owen Clark, 5th grade student at Lakemont Elementary and FUTP60 Program Ambassador, shared a story about how he was able to get a friend of his, who wasn’t very active, to move more through informal football games.

“Once my friend started playing football, he felt better which helped him listen better in class and increase his grades,” Owen said to the group of experts.

Riley Bannatyne, Senior at Winter Park High School and FUTP60 Program Ambassador, talked about how being healthy helps her in and out of school.

“Eating well helps me perform better in academics and athletics,” said Riley, who is also a member of the Winter Park High School Girls’ Lacrosse Team.

Additional students from Lakemont Elementary and Winter Park High School participated in the summit.  One student sat at each table, providing valuable insight into what students value during brainstorming sessions.  As one student mentioned, “If my teacher doesn’t know about brain breaks, I tell her about them.  Pretty soon, the whole class is asking for them.”

Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling (Ret.), who transformed the Army’s system for basic training and now serves as Florida Hospital’s Senior Vice President, Global Partnering, Leadership Development and Health Performance Strategies, spoke about the importance and benefits of instilling healthy habits early.

“There’s a direct correlation between good health and good education,” said Hertling, who serves as a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

Healthy School Teams Focus of 2015 Florida PTA Leadership Convention

11742656_983803101652164_1829086630013573625_n (2)On July 17, state and national school health and wellness leaders came together to address over 800 participants at the 2015 Florida PTA Leadership Convention.  Parents, students, and community leaders listened to keynote presentations from Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO, Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Ms. Laura Bay, National PTA President.  Dr. Wechsler stressed learning through movement, the importance of physical activity/recess in school, and how offering healthy alternatives as rewards for good behavior will make a difference in the health and well-being of children and their learning environments.  Dr. Wechsler also commended Florida for leading the nation in the support for physical activity and healthy eating within schools.

Dr. Wechsler later joined Ms. Bay, as well as several FL leaders for a school health and wellness panel.    Participants eagerly asked questions of the panel, determined to take the knowledge gained through the Florida PTA Leadership Convention and implement it within their schools.

During the second day of the convention, participants had the opportunity to learn about the new Healthy School Team requirement, fundraising, and resources from the Florida Department of Agriculture, Florida Action for Healthy Kids, and Dairy Council of Florida.

For assistance with the new Healthy School Team requirement, please visit the Florida Department of Agriculture’s website

For resources available to assist your Healthy School Team, please visit Action for Healthy Kids’ website

For information on how the Florida Dairy Council can assist your Healthy School Team, please visit Fuel Up to Play 60’s website