The LANA (Learning About Nutrition through Activities) program helps preschool children develop healthy eating habits by learning to taste, eat and enjoy more fruits and vegetables.
Studies show that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity—and the best place to start developing healthy eating habits is during childhood.
LANA includes materials for childcare providers, preschool teachers and parents, including curriculum materials, storybooks, parent newsletters and a Lana the Iguana puppet. The 8-week curriculum also includes recipes for children to make and then try. Here are some sample recipes:
Veggie Bagel Face snack
LANA kits are available at all Dakota County Library branches. Type “LANA kits” into the library catalog to check for availability.
Read a LANA curriculum overview or see a sample tasting activity.
More curriculum materials
Tips for Positive Mealtime Interactions
LANA storybook: "In And Out With Lana And Carlos"
Parent newsletter: "Parents Talk About Feeding Kids"
The impact of LANA
The LANA program was developed by the Minnesota Department of Health, the University of Minnesota and New Horizon Academy through a National Cancer Institute grant. Results from data collected in 2006–2007 on 508 children from 20 childcare centers:
- Increased consumption of targeted fruits and vegetables in the childcare setting.
- Increased servings of fruits and vegetables at home.
- Children were significantly less likely to be picky eaters.
During spring and summer 2009, the LANA program was piloted with 75 licensed home childcare providers in Dakota County who serve about 500 children. Follow-up surveys found that:
- 67 percent of children were more or much more likely to eat fruits and 78 percent were more likely to eat vegetables.
- 92 percent of children were more likely to try new foods.
- 76 percent of providers offered fruits and vegetables more often at snack time.