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Butterflies made out of apples, and snowmen made out of bananas. It’s called food art; a free summertime program offered by the Colonial School District and other collaborators like the University of Delaware (UD).

“The objective is to get kids to be more interactive with healthy food and to bring more healthy options to the community. We encourage the kids to try foods that some have never had before because it’s more fun this way!” said Sarah Russel, a UD student who volunteers to help youngsters make the edible creations.  Russel, who majors in dietetics, goes to Eisenberg Elementary on Thursdays and to McCullough Middle School on Tuesdays at noon so she can talk to students about the benefits of eating and snacking on healthy foods while they’re making their tasty projects. Students who come to the schools for free lunches made by Colonial’s Nutrition Services Division thanks to a federally funded program are invited to join Russel to make food art.

“I love it!” said Vickie Snyder who brings her grandchildren to the program. “They’ve made some interesting items out of fruits and vegetables and they’re enjoying it,” she said.

Amanda Cox, a mother of four, is another fan of the food art program. “They love fruit and it’s nutritious for them, it’s not candy. Most of the time when you see stuff like this it’s made from junk food and this is actually good for them,” Cox said.

Ayanna Davis, a 7th grade McCullough student took great pride in her edible art project. “I just made a fish out of oranges, blueberries, and kiwi; it’s fun!” she said.

Michelle Gries knows exactly what she likes about food art saying, “It’s cool because you get to eat it afterward!”

That’s the whole idea. Russel said many of the children who created the fish out of fruits and vegetables had never tried kiwi before and most discovered they liked it. “Anytime you can get children to eat fruits and vegetables is a step in the right direction of living a healthy lifestyle,” said Supervisor of Nutrition Services, Paula Angelucci. “In Colonial, we make every effort to introduce children to healthy options including unfamiliar options that they may not normally have at home”