Share This Page

New program to help Plum students fuel up for after-school activities

| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Plum Advance Leader
Michael Payne and Jimmy Koerner, Plum High School football players, select from a variety of healthy lunches from the cafeteria during football camp. The school is also offering healthy snacks after school for football, band, cheerleading, etc.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Plum Advance Leader
Plum High School football players Tyler Ruggiero, Michael Payne, Zack Eckman and Jimmy Koerner select from a variety of healthy lunches from the cafeteria during football camp. The school is also offering healthy snacks after school for football, band, cheerleading, etc.

Nathan Turchick got into the habit of bringing a protein bar and water to school to energize him for football practice.

“Last year I was done eating (lunch) at 11 (a.m.),” said Turchick, 16, who will be a junior this year.

Turchick can leave the food at home and turn to the high school cafeteria after classes for healthy foods before practice this year.

The Plum School District food service and nutrition department is starting the “Afterschool Fuel” program. Students will be given time after classes — from 2:20 to 2:45 p.m. — to purchase healthy snack items, said Maryann Lazzaro, the district's food supervisor.

The items will range in price from 50 cents to $1.50. Lazzaro said students can use cash or their lunch accounts to buy foods including yogurt, fruit cups, muffins, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without crusts and Pop Tarts as well as water, fruit juice, chocolate milk and Gatorade. Fruits and vegetables also will be available.

“Unless they pack something in the morning, kids are going (to after-school practices and activities) without any fuel,” said Lazzaro who also is a registered dietitian. “For athletes to perform, they have to take in enough calories and nutrients.”

“I loved the idea,” said high school Principal Ryan Kociela. “Some of the younger students eat lunch at 10 a.m.”

Lazzaro said the drinks contain electrolytes and minerals while the food choices have carbohydrates, fiber, protein, calcium, vitamins and calories.

Lazzaro emphasized that the menu of items doesn't include foods such as candy bars, chips and crackers.

“We want to give them good nutrition to fuel their bodies,” Lazzaro said.

Sharon Strohm, manager of clinical nutrition and diabetes education at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, said eating healthy foods before practice helps improve performance and can decrease injuries.

“I applaud (Plum School District's) solution,” said Strohm who also is a registered dietitian. “It will really fill a void.”

Assistant athletic Director Jeff Wolfe said the boost from the food available after school also will help students who go to work or other activities after sports practice.

“What they are selling is good for (the students),” Wolfe said. “Our people are professionals.”

Wil Fuhrer, 16, a junior who plays football, looks forward to trying the different food selections.

“I won't worry about packing,” Fuhrer said.

“We don't want kids skipping meals and being ravenous,” Lazzaro said. “It is the right thing to do for kids.”

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.