The LANA Preschool Program began with a study conducted by The Minnesota Department of Health through a grant from The National Cancer Institute. The goal was to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in young children by giving them more opportunities to taste, eat and enjoy them on a daily basis. Countless scientific studies have shown that encouraging healthy eating habits at a young age may prevent chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes later in life.
The study was originally conducted with preschool children, their parents, and staff in twenty child care centers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota.
Comparing children that participated in the LANA Program to those that did not, it was found that those involved in the LANA program ate significantly more vegetables at lunch as well as more total fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Total vegetable intake was significantly higher at follow-up. Other results showed that the LANA program:
Increased consumption of targeted fruits and vegetables in the childcare setting
Increased servings of fruits and vegetables at home
Reduced “pickiness” and fear of trying new foods
In addition, as a result of the LANA program:
76% of providers offer fruits and vegetables more often at snack time
Parents offer targeted foods more often (81%)
Parents are more likely to complement their children for tasting a new food (58.7%) and are more likely to say something positive about the food their child is eating (60%)
LANA Downloadable Files
We are pleased to offer a selection of LANA Preschool Program resources as downloadable PDFs to help aid in planning and implementation of the curriculum. Click the links below to download.
+Program Planning - Includes a sample timeline for implementing the LANA Preschool Program and a blank planning chart with blank fields to customize the sheet to tailor to your site needs and schedule.
+Weekly Lesson Planning - Includes a sample lesson plan that illustrates how to incorporate the LANA Preschool Program activities, storybook suggestions, and taste testing into a school day and a blank planning sheet to tailor to your site needs and schedule requirements.
+Event Flyers & Resources - The LANA Preschool Program offers a handful of special events to connect families with the healthy eating messages demonstrated in the curriculum. PDF files of event flyers and resources are available to customize with your event details and give you the option to print in color.
+LANA Supplemental Booklist- The booklist highlights a number of suggested storybooks to make available in your classroom that support the LANA theme units. The list has been updated and made available for programs that may have an older copy of the LANA curriculum, which included books no longer in print.
Studies suggest that eating habits and food preferences are established in early childhood. By educating and actively encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption both at school and at home, LANA helps children establish healthy eating habits early.
Why is the LANA program unique?
The LANA Preschool Program is based on well-established nutrition education and behavior-change theories. LANA helps children learn to eat more fruits and vegetables by:
Increasing opportunities for children to taste and eat fruits and vegetables
Providing opportunities for hands-on experiences with fruits and vegetables
Creating a supportive environment for eating fruits and vegetables
Providing children with role models who eat fruits and vegetables
Connecting classroom activities with the home environment
How do the LANA activities work? Do I have to use all of them in order? No. The binder is a tool for you. You can pull any activity that you feel would work in your classroom at any time. While you certainly can go in order, LANA is adaptable and can be used in whatever way you find helpful in your school/center.
What kind of parental/guardian involvement does LANA require/encourage? One of the great things about LANA is that the learning doesn’t stop at the school door. The program provides a multitude of special events, handouts, and activities to share with the adults at home.
Why does LANA highlight the fruits/vegetables it does? The LANA foods were chosen because they are high in many nutrients (e.g., Vitamin A/beta-carotene, C and E, lycopene and lutein), they are fruits/vegetables that are different from those that most children already get (but yet they are foods that are still easy for schools/centers to find and afford), and they are foods that are easy to prepare in a variety of ways.
Why is an iguana the LANA Preschool Program’s mascot? An iguana was selected as the mascot of the LANA Preschool Program because iguanas are vegetarian animals that only eat fruits and vegetables.
How much time each day is needed to implement LANA? As little as 20 minutes each day. LANA has a variety of different types of daily, weekly, monthly and bi-monthly activities with flexibility to pick and choose for what best fits your program’s needs.
Can the LANA approach be used to introduce foods other than the 8 targeted fruits and vegetables? Yes! While the program targets the consumption of eight highly nutritious fruits and vegetables, the approach can be used to introduce any new fruit or vegetable to young children.