By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator
What better photo op than a class of 3-year-olds popping pieces of colorful red and yellow peppers into their mouths AND enjoying the taste?
These students at the G.W. Carver Center in Frankford didn’t even have to be coaxed to eat their vegetables.
Asia Thurston, one of the Food Bank of Delaware’s Community Nutrition Educators, introduces the children, and pre-schoolers at other facilities, to some new fruits and vegetables through a program called “LANA the Iguana.”
LANA is an acronym for Learning About Nutrition through Activity. Through storytelling and play, young children learn to try new fruits and vegetables in a supportive environment.
There are four classes, each with two 30-minute components, from which teachers can select for their students.
The Food Bank is concerned about hungry Delawareans all of ages, especially hungry
children, so in addition to alleviating childhood hunger, we also educate children about how to select and enjoy nutritious food, including fruit and vegetable snacks.
Research shows that children who eat more nutritious meals are less likely
to miss school, have fewer behavioral problems and perform better in school. We are addressing childhood hunger on all fronts – hunger after school, during the summer and
on the weekends.
And at the Food Bank, we start when they are young.
Asia makes scheduled visits to early childhood centers around Kent and Sussex counties with LANA, a hand puppet, to talk about healthy fruits and vegetables.
The interactive lessons feature a hands-on activity, often focusing on the senses, including taste.
Built into the class is a message about hand sanitizing and food safety.
“Hands out,” says Asia, as she pumps a dollop of hand sanitizer into every student’s hands.
As this group of six students sit at a little table, she then demonstrates how to cut a pepper, how to taste it, and offers them the opportunity to sample the peppers with a little ranch-style dressing on the side.
With Asia’s coaching, the children build their own kabobs. After they eat and clean up their spaces, the lesson is finished, and Asia moves to another class.
To learn more about how to welcome LANA to your school, please click here.