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Schools plan special menu

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County Public Schools hopes to make a slam dunk with special menu items planned for National School Lunch Week.

The School Nutrition Association's annual campaign teaches students about the importance of eating healthy and being active. This year's theme is All-Star School Lunch.

In honor of the NBA-inspired theme, Gwinnett cafeterias on Friday will serve items including Nothing but Net Boneless Wings or Hot Wings, Free-Throw Fries, Three-Point Play Pretzels, Slam Dunk Veggies du Jour, Final Four Fresh Fruit and Double Dribble Milk, said Karen Crawford, the school district's nutrition education coordinator.

Every student who eats a school lunch Friday will be entered into a drawing to win an Atlanta Hawks basketball, Crawford said. The school winners will be entered into a districtwide drawing, and one student from each school level - elementary, middle and high - will win four tickets to the Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers game on Dec. 29.

"It's (designed) to get students excited about our school nutrition program," Crawford said. "We offer a healthy, well-balanced meal every school day, and we would like to do things here and there that are different."

One item will make a rare appearance Wednesday. The cafeterias will serve Spirit Cupcakes to everyone who eats a school lunch.

"Cupcake is never on the menu," Crawford said. "We searched for the healthiest cupcake we could find. ... It's not your regular cupcake. It's a whole wheat cupcake, so you're getting more fiber."

On Thursday, students will have the opportunity to purchase Lay-Up Lemonade, a frozen confection.

Participating in National School Lunch Week is part of the school district's efforts to educate students about healthy eating habits. In addition to its successful vegetarian menu and offering of all-natural products, the district also coordinates the Nutrition Education and Training (NEAT) project, a program implemented at each Gwinnett school to encourage students about making healthy choices.