Marion Brownies learn a tasty lesson

FOODFACTS: Ronnie Duncan (standing) talks to Brownies about healthy eating. (Courtesy photo)
FOODFACTS: Ronnie Duncan (standing) talks to Brownies about healthy eating. (Courtesy photo)

MARION — On Thursday, 12 Girl Scout Brownies learned why a baked potato might be a better choice than french fries.

As part of a unit on nutrition, the second grade members of troop 3844 visited Ronnie’s Lunch Box, the popular riverside restaurant in Marion, where they were introduced to basic food groups and the principles of healthy eating.

The girls experienced first hand the benefits of fresh foods by preparing their own chef salad, combining favorite ingredients topped with shredded cheese, sliced eggs, tomatoes and turkey and ham strips.

They sat in the dining alcove overlooking the Middle Branch River to enjoy their salads, milk and bread while owner Ronnie Duncan addressed the group, offering tips on healthy eating choices and explaining what is involved in operating a successful restaurant.

Duncan then led the girls on a tour, providing a glimpse of behind-the-scenes restaurant operations including food preparation, the kitchen stoves, ovens and grills, storage areas, dishwashing and other equipment.

During a question and answer period Duncan responded to a number of questions about how and why she became interested in the restaurant business.

“Growing up, I used to stand in the kitchen and watch my mom cook,” said Duncan. “I’ve been interested in cooking from that time and finally decided to have my own restaurant. It’s hard work, but enjoyable, and I love getting to know the customers. A lot of them have become friends.”

Healthy eating allows special treats from time to time, and Duncan surprised the girls with dessert, appropriately brownies, served with ice cream.

When asked what they enjoyed most about their restaurant visit, the girls had a variety of answers.

“I liked the tour best of all,” said Elizabeth Fouch. “There’s a lot in the back of the restaurant and it was fun to see.”

Madison Henry said she liked learning about nutrition. “I learned eating healthy is a good thing,” she said, “and I leaned some good ways to eat better.”

According to troop leader Rebekah Armentrout, the scouts planned to pay for food at the restaurant with proceeds from their fall fund raising campaign. They learned that a generous resident from the area, who wishes to remain anonymous, paid for everything.

“The scouts and I want to thank the person who paid for the food,” said Armentrout. “It’s a surprise and a great thing to do for the girls, and we want to thank you, whoever you are. We want to thank Ronnie too for inviting us to the Lunch Box and all her hard work getting ready and for the tour.”

To learn more about opportunities for Girl Scout Brownie membership in Marion, contact Armentrout at  (231) 872-9939.