An Exlusive Interview

Posted Posted by SofiaLZX in Articles & Inspiration, featured, Fun Ideas     Comments No comments

By Sofia Horvath, Master Facilitator and Mother of 3

This month I had the opportunity to sit down with our resident reptile, Lana, and learn more about the LANA approach to nutrition education. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was afraid I would be intimidated, but she was so open and friendly that I felt like I was chatting with an old friend. As I drank my coffee, she nibbled on some kale chips and talked about the LANA program.

Sofia: Lana, thank you for sitting down with me. I know you have a very busy schedule- a lot of schools to visit and a lot of children to meet! My first question for you is: LANA stands for Learning About Nutrition through Activities. Why is it so important and effective to use activities with kids when teaching about nutrition and healthy eating?

Lana: Activities help kids learn by creating memorable experiences. If you can tie positive experiences with fruits and vegetables to activities, then kids are more familiar with those foods and are more willing to give them a try.

Sofia: The LANA program targets 8 fruits and vegetables. Can you tell me why those 8 foods were selected for the program?

Lana: Well, they were picked because I really like red, green and orange colored fruits and veggies – they’re my favorite colors! No really, the 8 fruits and veggies are included in the LANA program because they’re nutrient rich and they usually are new fruits and vegetables for kids to taste and eat. The best part is that you can find them in your grocery store and they’re affordable too.

Sofia: So there are several reasons for those foods being in the program. Interesting! Do you have a favorite fruit or vegetable among the ones in the program? Can you choose just one that you love the most?

Lana: Oh, I don’t think I can pick just one! Each is tasty and delicious in its own way. I love all the fruits and veggies in the LANA program – I even love fruits and vegetables that aren’t a part of the program! I just LOVE to eat all fruits and veggies!

Sofia: The program has a cookbook that contains recipes using the program fruits and vegetables. Can you tell me what it was like to create your very cookbook? What is your favorite recipe in there?

Lana: Writing my own cookbook was honestly a dream come true. I love fruits and veggies and I want kids to learn to love them just as much as I do! I think the recipes in my cookbook make fruits and veggies a lot of fun. My favorite recipes are the ones that look like something else – like the Pretend Fried Egg, the Veggie Bagel Face, the Stoplight Snack or the Mousetail Snack. They’re just so much fun to make and then eat!

Sofia: Looking at your cookbook, I can say that Rachel Ray and Pioneer Woman have some competition, for sure!

Parents and teachers who have used and participated in the LANA program have seen fantastic results. They have seen the children eat more fruits and vegetables and, in general, be willing to try more new foods as a result of the program. Your program has gotten some rave reviews! Why do you think that LANA makes such a difference? What is your secret?

Lana:  I think the LANA program works because there’s no pressure placed on the kids to like the fruit or vegetable during tasting activities. It’s OK and perfectly normal to not like how something tastes the first time you try it. There’s a lot of fun involved- incorporating fruits and vegetables into the classroom and cooking activities.

Sofia: So no bribery or coercion. Got it. As a parent, that is something I have to remember! Speaking of parents, I know that the LANA program is not something that stops when the children leave school/daycare. There is a very important home/school component. Can you talk to me a little about how the LANA program bridges the learning between home and school?

Lana: The LANA program is really great because it gives parents amazing resources to reinforce classroom learning at home. There are tasting kits with samples of the fruits or vegetables for kids to take home to taste with mom and dad. There are also great resources for parents to learn about handling food battles.

Sofia: That is so important! Parents have a lot of questions when it comes to feeding their kids. It is great that the LANA program gives them some support.

Last question- I’m getting personal, here! Children love you! Those that participate in the LANA program see you often and learn a lot from you. Who are some of YOUR idols? Who do you admire?

Lana: So many people inspire me… teachers, Michelle Obama, kids, Oprah… oh gosh, I love Oprah – really miss her show… Jamie Oliver, parents, farmers… I could go on and on. Really any one who has a passion for healthy eating inspires me!

Sofia: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me and give me some insight into the LANA program. It is rare to see a program that not only delivers a strong message, but also does it in a fun and engaging way. After talking with you, I can see why you are so popular!

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