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Food for thought

Haevyn Rafet helps make a healthy snack as part of the Kid in the Kitchen program at the Rosemount Family Resource Center.1 / 2
In addition to learning how to make healthful foods, children get to do a fun activity.2 / 2

Patti Brown likes to cook. The 10-year-old gets to help prepare food at home, so when Shira Rabinowicz told her about the Kids in the Kitchen program happening at the Rosemount Family Resource Center she decided to attend.

"I thought it would be fun," said the shy girl.

Brown was one of six kids on a recent Wednesday to show up for the class that promotes healthy eating. The children, who range in age from 6 to 10 years old, learn how food and exercise choices can impact their health.

Nutrition education assistant Jane Rezac teaches the weekly class and said it's important for kids this age to learn the value of making healthful decisions. She said each week the group does an activity and then makes a healthful snack.

"Kids this age usually choose their own snacks and it's important to encourage them to choose healthy foods," said Rezac. "We at least want to make them think about it."

On this particular week the group tried warmed applesauce with homemade cinnamon granola. Not everyone liked, it but Rezac got everyone to try it.

"The kids are usually amazed when they try a new snack and find out they like it," said Rezac. "I really try to encourage them to try new foods."

The foods they are exposed to during the hour-long lessons vary greatly. Rezac said fruit smoothies are always a favorite but opinions vary on things like zucchini.

The kids who attend get to help in the kitchen. Because some of the children are younger Rezac said they avoid cooking hot things.

The activities vary as well but usually focus on exercise and its part in living a healthy lifestyle.

The Dakota County Extension agency runs the program. It is funded through a United States Department of Agriculture grant.

Rezac said she holds the classes at various locations throughout the county. In Rosemount she will hold the class from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Rosemount Family Resource Center through August.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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