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Denver Extension nutrition programs collaborate on parent/child food preparation

Bringing parents and kids together to prepare nutritious food is one of the most effective ways of promoting healthy eating. Recently, Denver Extension’s two Nutrition Educators from the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Food and Nutrition Education (FANE), paired up to co-teach lessons to parents and children at Claire Gardens, a designated eating site through Food Bank of the Rockies Kid’s Café., and Operation Frontline.

Akwe Starnes, EFNEP Nutrition Educator, provides nutrition lessons at many Kid’s Café sites in Denver. Kids Café provides hot, nutritious meals through cooperative partnerships throughout the City and the Western Slope. Through Denver Extension EFNEP, kids attend six hands–on nutrition classes as part of the Exploring MyPyramid with Professor Popcorn curriculum. Youth participants range in age from six to eight.

Developed at Purdue University, Professor Popcorn helps young people develop into healthy adults by encouraging safe food-handling techniques, eating healthy foods and making physical activity part of their lifestyle.

As kids experience the smells, color, and physical characteristics of foods, their parents learn how to prepare quick and tasty nutritious meals on a limited budget. Sara Ward, Nutrition Educator with FANE, focuses her classes on the five MyPyramid food groups with emphasis on menu planning, reading food labels, cutting down on fats, sugar and salt; and incorporating activity into daily life. When the lessons are completed, parents and kids come together to prepare and eat what they have learned. At the end of the session, each child receives complimentary food to take home from Kids Café. At Claire Gardens, community friends donated beautiful bed linens to all of those attending.

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Updated Saturday, September 25, 2010