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LANA & Head Start – A Perfect Combination

Posted Posted by Lana the Iguana in News and Events     Comments No comments

It’s no secret that Head Start programs lead the way in parent involvement and education when compared to other early childhood programs.  Research has consistently shown that care giver/parent education is a key factor to ensure quality of care and developmentally appropriate practice.  When Learning ZoneXpress exhibited at the National Head Start: Parent Engagement Conference in Atlanta, the booth was swamped with parents, providers, and policy council members hoping to get the latest nutrition and wellness resources for their programs.

Please Pass the Peas – a training session focused on reducing picky eating in children, offered by Maureen Lyons from Learning ZoneXpress, had standing room only, featuring tips, tricks, and tools to start children out on a healthy eating pattern from the start.  Ms. Lyons speaks from experience due to texture sensitivity and food aversions she has lived with throughout her life.  Understanding where picky eating comes from helps parents and care givers choose strategies to combat this growing trend.

LANA - Head StartThe LANA Nutrition Program, created by the Minnesota Department of Health through a research grant from the American Cancer Institute, was a hot topic of discussion at the conference because it includes a strong parent component as well as flexibility for easy incorporation with curriculum already in place.  LANA includes learning activities for all core subjects, introducing more fruits and vegetables – along with reducing competitive foods, and of course physical activity.

With childhood obesity rates at a record high, the LANA Nutrition Program is the perfect tool to promote improved health and wellness for tomorrow’s leaders and their families.

My Moment of Fame!!

Posted Posted by SofiaLZX in featured, News and Events     Comments No comments

By Lana the Iguana

In March, I had the opportunity to appear along side Maureen Lyons from Learning ZoneXpress and Amanda Meredith from Kinderberry Hill Child Development Center on the local FOX news show in the Twin Cities. It was an honor to be there to talk about the LANA program and how it can help preschoolers develop healthier eating habits! Take a look!

It was nerve-wracking at first. It is a good thing you can’t see iguanas blush! I enjoyed my time on the small screen but don’t worry– I’m not giving up my day job!

LANA In the News!

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We are always proud and excited when new schools and/or childcare centers adopt the LANA program. Recently some preschools and day care centers in Minnesota used grant money toward LANA kits for their classrooms. Read all about it here!


Today’s the Day!!!

Posted Posted by SofiaLZX in featured, News and Events, Uncategorized     Comments No comments

It’s What’s On Your Plate Day!! Since it is National Nutrition Month, we are working with  to encourage people to make changes to their eating habits for a healthier lifestyle. It is also a time to recognize what changes people have already made! We know that people are making small AND large changes to their plates and achieving success throughout the country!

If you are looking to make a healthy change to your diet, here are some suggestions:

– Enjoy your food, but eat less. Focus on portion sizes.
– Keep it simple. Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Make them the star of the plate!
– Check out Super Tracker at This great tool can help you plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity.
– If you are on twitter, use #MyPlateYourPlate to see changes that others are making and post your own!

If you have made some healthy changes recently, share with us what you have done, how it is going, and words of wisdom for others!

Getting Geared Up for What’s On Your Plate Day!!

Posted Posted by SofiaLZX in Fun Ideas, News and Events     Comments No comments

Thursday, March 8th is National What’s On Your Plate Day! Check back soon to see what all the buzz is about!! (And if you are on Twitter, follow #MyPlateYourPlate for details!)

A New Tool to Help With Health Goals!

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The USDA has released a comprehensive tool to help track your health, nutrition, and fitness goals. With this tool, users can do everything from a quick food look up to in-depth diet and activity tracking and analysis over time and weight management.

This video explains how SuperTracker works:

You can check it out and create your (free) account here:


Lana the Iguana Growing in Popularity!

Posted Posted by SofiaLZX in News and Events     Comments 1 comment

Reprinted from:


LANA program distributed by Learning ZoneXpress recognized in local school by CBS Minnesota.

We don’t know who gave vegetables such a bad rap, but according to a recent story from CBS Minnesota, kids at Kinderberry Hill Child Development Center in Roseville, MN are changing that with the LANA Preschool Program distributed by Learning ZoneXpress.

LANA stands for “Learning About Nutrition through Activities.”It is a 24 week research-based program developed by the Minnesota Department of Health and the University of Minnesota. For multiple years, teachers and students have been exploring this program which includes a fun hand puppet of the program’s mascot, Lana the Iguana. This is an exciting way to get kids thinking about health and nutrition, both by tasting fruits and vegetables and creating easy recipes.

We all know there’s nothing worse than a picky eater, and LANA can remedy that. The iguana gets kids excited about fruits and vegetables and encourages them to try foods they may have never dreamed of!

The program encourages parents to try these foods with their kids. Children tend to be more willing to explore when others are doing the same right beside them. Learning ZoneXpress distributes the complete LANA curriculum filled with fun activities, recipe books, and story books that parents, teachers and kids can all do together!

The program being implemented in child care centers like Kinderberry Hill makes it easier for parents at home to continue these fun and healthy practices. And LANA doesn’t have to be just for kids. It’s been known to teach us a thing or two as well.

Owatonna, Minn.-based Learning ZoneXpress is a leading source of award-winning teaching tools. Its mission is to help improve the health and vitality of children by providing relevant, creative and affordable learning tools about life skills, healthy behaviors and nutrition. Learning ZoneXpress offers a wide variety of affordable educational DVDs, posters, MyPlate products, prizes, and PowerPoint presentations. They are dedicated to responsive and personalized customer care. For more information about Learning ZoneXpress products, visit the Learning ZoneXpress web site or call Toni Gnasdoskey at 888-455-7003

LANA Featured on WCCO – CBS News Minnesota

Posted Posted by Lana the Iguana in Articles & Inspiration, News and Events     Comments No comments

Reprinted from:


Video viewable here: WCCO/CBS News MN Features LANA

ROSEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) – Children and vegetables can be like oil and water. They just won’t mix.

So when 3- and 4-year-olds are grabbing slices of green pepper by the handful, it’s easy to wonder how they grew to love eating their veggies.

During snack time at Kinderberry Hill Child Development Center in Roseville, teachers have been trying a new way to teach kids about healthy eating. A green iguana puppet named Lana encourages the kids to try fruits and vegetables.

“As soon as you put Lana on, (the kids’) faces light up and they know it’s time to try something new,” says Megan Recksiedler, a teacher at Kinderberry Hill.

LANA stands for Learning About Nutrition through Activities. The program was developed by the University of Minnesota for caregivers, whether at home or in a child care setting.

One example of snack time is having the kids learn about different types of peppers. Each of the children try a red, green, and yellow pepper and are then asked which one they liked the best.

“I liked all of them,” one student said.

The teacher then asks the children if they’d like “kisses” from the puppet Lana, which they really seem to enjoy.

Recksiedler says parents should be able to apply some of the techniques used in the LANA program at home.

“If you taste it with them, that’s a great way for them to try it too,” says Recksiedler.

Before the kids can eat their snack, they get familiar with the food, touching it and learning what color it is.

Teachers say including a “fun” sauce to dip the veggies in always helps as well.

If you want to learn some of the ways to get kids interested in eating healthier snacks, try out some of LANA’s recipes. Here are their tips for kiwis and strawberries.

LANA Launches at the NAEYC 2011 Conference

Posted Posted by Lana the Iguana in News and Events     Comments No comments

If you are an early childhood educator attending the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) Annual Conference, make sure to come learn about LANA! Anne Roy and Holly Beckius will be presenting about LANA and how the program helps children to taste, eat and enjoy fruits and vegetables.

LANA and Learning Zone Xpress will also have a booth at the expo, so please come by and meet us!


For those not yet registered for the conference, please see the information below and click on the link to register.


What: An opportunity to explore best practices, connect with colleagues, learn new skills, and get the professional development you need at the world’s largest gathering of early childhood educators
Where: Orlando, FL
When: November 2-5, 2011