WIC Educators offer healthy food choices to the youngest Delawareans

May 23, 2018

The Food Bank of Delaware’s WIC Education Specialists take the gospel of making healthy food choices on the road, and they make the message interactive and entertaining as well as informative.

These outreach programs use foods included in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food package for pregnant and post-partum women. Clients and their children through age 5 learn more about healthy food choices, and programs targeting children encourage youngsters to try new, nutritious foods.

Last week, Chong, one of those educators, brought a puppet named LANA the Iguana to story hour at the Greenwood Public Library. About a dozen children, ranging in age from 1 to 5 years old, along with a parent or caregiver, engaged in playing a game, listening to a poem, and sampling home-made – and healthy – Pear Ginger Applesauce.

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.

LANA the Iguana was developed by the Minnesota Department of Health. The goal of the LANA Preschool Program is to help young children eat more fruits and vegetables each day to promote good health, healthy weight and reduced risk of chronic disease.

WIC educators like to make learning new things fun, so Chong engaged the children through an interactive game. The kids were then encouraged to try applesauce prepared in a different way. She provided adults with the recipe to take home.

All of these educational activities and materials have been developed using the 2015 Dietary guidelines, USDA’s MyPlate.

In addition to children’s classes, cooking demonstrations are scheduled on a monthly basis at each WIC clinic throughout the state of Delaware. Each demonstration consists of a different recipe, highlighting foods available in the WIC food packages. Sessions consist of rolling demonstrations that showcase the meal preparation as well as enable participants and their families to sample the completed recipe.

The program is a collaboration between the Delaware WIC Program and the Food Bank of Delaware, to further educate participants about the benefits of the WIC food package, encourage full use of all products, and increase program participation in children over the age of 1 year.

In Delaware, the child food insecurity rate is 16.8 percent; 32,240 Delaware children are food insecure, according to the most recent statistics from Feeding America. Some experts believe that children who grow up in poverty are more likely to do poorly in school. According to www.dosomething.org, 40 percent of children living in poverty aren’t prepared for primary schooling. That study also states that children that live below the poverty line are 1.3 times more likely to have developmental delays or learning disabilities than those who don’t live in poverty.

Visit www.fbd.org to learn more about the Food Bank’s programs.

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