Food Smarts

Food Smarts is a direct education intervention that is designed to support healthy behavior change in the areas of healthy eating, food safety, cooking, and food resource management. Food Smarts is a flexible, learner-centered, multi-session nutrition and cooking program with several available lesson plans to fit the needs of a variety of settings. A kitchen is not required for the implementation of the intervention, but participants can be engaged in simple recipe preparation as an instructional strategy. The adult curriculum of Food Smarts is available in English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean. The youth curriculum is available in only English. 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating  
Intervention Type: Direct Education 

Text2LiveHealthy

The Text2LiveHealthy (T2LH) intervention is a direct education and social marketing intervention designed to increase family consumption of fruits and vegetables, increase physical activity among the entire family, and increase family consumption of water while decreasing consumption of sugary beverages. T2LH is a nutrition and physical activity digital health outreach effort that links the Integrated Nutrition Education Program (INEP) and Culture of Wellness in Preschools (COWP) youth education provided in classrooms to homes via text messaging, in order to influence behavior change for economically disadvantaged families across Colorado. There are four text message cycles in Year 1 with each cycle containing approximately 30 core texts that address the following themes: fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity and sedentary behaviors, sugar-sweetened beverages, and water consumption. Each cycle contains approximately seven to eight core messages and two to three evaluation messages. In general, the messages are easy to use and include goal-setting for healthy behavior change, fun and easy recipes, family-friendly physical activity ideas, motivational messages, and links to resources. In Year 2, participants receive one text per week with a focus on maintaining behavior changes. 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance  
Intervention Type: Direct Education, Social Marketing 

FoodCorps Healthy School Toolkit

The FoodCorps Healthy School Toolkit is a PSE change intervention designed to improve school food environments over time. The Toolkit includes a research-backed assessment tool that is used by school teams to assess healthy school food environment activities. The Toolkit also includes the Action Plan, a tool that guides school teams in setting goals and vision to improve school food environments. The Healthy School Progress Report was developed through an evaluation partnership with Columbia University’s Teachers CollegeIt assesses the school food environment across sixteen indicator areas known to contribute to healthy eating behaviors in children, spanning hands-on nutrition education, school gardening, and food preparation experience to the culture of healthy eating in the cafeteria and throughout the school’s practices. It is expected that schools actively using these tools and seeking to implement activities that support a healthy school food environment will make incremental progress on an annual basis.  

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating  
Intervention Type: PSE Change 

Veggie Van (VV) Toolkit

The Veggie Van (VV) Toolkit is a policy, systems, and environmental change intervention designed to:

  • Increase access to healthy, affordable fruits and vegetables in lower income and/or food insecure communities
  • Help the target population improve their diets through skill building
  • Address the interplay between the physical food environment, individual perceptions of that environment, and self-efficacy
  • Address multiple dimensions of access to fresh produce for lower-income and under-served communities, including availability, affordability, accessibility (geographic and financial), and accommodation
  • Improve self-efficacy for finding, purchasing, and preparing fruits and vegetables or other healthy foods via cooking and nutrition education interventions

VV achieves these goals via mobile farmers markets that present cooking demonstrations, recipes, taste tests, and nutrition education to help customers better use the produce they receive. VV mobile markets also accept SNAP benefits, electronic benefits (EBT), and other relevant local food incentive and benefit programs, as well as employ a bundling model in addition to a la carte purchasing. The bundling model allows the VV mobile markets to sell more items at a lower cost and expose participants to a greater variety of fruits and vegetables. Markets operate a minimum of 10 months out of the year and typically source produce locally or regionally.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

Intervention Type: PSE Change

Start Strong: Cooking, Feeding, and More

The Start Strong: Cooking, Feeding, and More is a direct education intervention for child care providers that promotes policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change in child care settings.  The intervention is designed to help child care providers increase their knowledge and skills of providing healthy foods for children, increase their knowledge of Federal food programs (SNAP, WIC, CACFP, and School Meals), and increase their confidence in talking about Federal food programs with families who may be food insecure. Family child care providers participate in four culinary nutrition education trainings to increase the knowledge and skills needed to create a healthier food environment for young children at their child care businesses. Child care providers may care for children of low-income families, so in order to address potential food insecurity, each training includes information about a food resource such as SNAP, WIC, and School Meals. As a result of training, child care providers promote healthier eating at their child care businesses by making changes that result in providing healthier foods and a greater variety of vegetables at meal times. For successful implementation of PSE change, facilitated discussions are held as a space for child care providers to learn promising practices from each other.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change

SNAP-Ed Soccer for Success (SfS)

Soccer for Success (SfS) is a direct education intervention designed to improve fitness levels of participants, improve nutritional knowledge and behavior of participants (and their families), and improve youth development outcomes of participants. SfS helps kids establish healthy habits and develop critical life skills through trained coach-mentors. Our multifaceted model combines structured physical activity, nutritional education, family engagement resources, and coach-mentoring best practices. The nutrition component meets USDA standards. SfS lessons are taught 3 times a week for 12 or 24 weeks by trained coach-mentors. SfS’ curriculum provides coach-mentors with tools to integrate nutrition lessons into fun activities. As a result, children are constantly engaged and challenged to incrementally increase both their level of physical activity and their understanding of healthy lifestyles. To further address the social determinants of health, we use SfS as a hub for wrap-around health services. The SfS model incorporates community engagement days, featuring health resources from local community-based organization partners.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time

Intervention Type: Direct Education

The OrganWise Guys Program (OWG)

 The OrganWise Guys Program (OWG) is a direct education and PSE change intervention designed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and increase physical activity among participants, as well as facilitate PSE changes in the settings in which it is conducted. SNAP-Ed staff or trained classroom teachers provide direct education through various curriculum to youth in child-care and school settings and provide support materials for families. The WISERCISE! program provides 10-minutes of desk-side daily physical activity in the classroom. Foods of the Month helps create a healthy cafeteria environment via daily nutrition messaging and outreach to parents. The OWG gardening curriculum helps establish gardens while children learn to grow and consume homegrown food. These curriculum focus on PSE changes by working with school wellness councils to develop policies that address foods served at school events, establish school gardens, and improve and promote school meals/snacks. Partnerships and parent/adult engagement in positive health behaviors can lead to PSE change that is sustainable and beneficial community wide.

Target Behavior: Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change

Illinois Junior Chefs

Illinois Junior Chefs (IJC) is a direct education curriculum designed to improve dietary attitudes and behaviors in youth ages 8-13 through learning hands-on cooking skills and MyPlate food group education. IJC is a 10-hour cooking education program designed for five two-hour classes. Each class focuses on a food group and related cooking skills. Recipes provided let participants practice specific cooking skills for preparation of foods for the food group highlighted in each lesson. A variety of recipes are included in the curriculum as well as additional resource links for supplemental recipes. Recipe selection should be based on age-appropriate cooking tasks for the participants and culturally appropriate recipes for diverse audiences. Participants are recruited through eligible schools and community agencies. Eligible participants attend IJC classes at sites having access to running water and electricity for the purpose of hand washing, food safety, and preparing recipes that need cooking.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Other: Cooking Skills

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Together, We Inspire Smart Eating (WISE)

Together, We Inspire Smart Eating (WISE) is a direct education intervention designed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in children in early education programs as well as in the home. WISE delivers developmentally appropriate food experiences and promotes behavior change through its 3 components: classroom curricula, parent engagement content, and educator training. The intervention is designed to be delivered across a 9-month term with food experiences and supporting activities executed weekly. This program creates positive changes in child and family eating behaviors that align with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations, specifically, increasing the number of servings of fruit and vegetables consumed and an increase in a variety of fruits and vegetables consumed. Social media content is available for programs interested in using the content to engage families and early childhood educators in the WISE program goals.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Mind, Exercise, Nutrition…Do It! (MEND)

Mind, Exercise, Nutrition…Do it! (MEND) program is a direct education intervention designed to manage overweight, obesity in children 2-13 years old and their families by improving health, fitness, and self-esteem. The MEND programs combine physical activity, healthy eating, and behavior change to facilitate safe, effective weight management and lasting changes in lifestyle. Programs run for 10 weeks and the child and at least one parent or primary caregiver must attend. MEND programs help families in the following areas: 

● Mind – improving children’s self-esteem and supporting families to change their behaviors around eating and activity 

● Exercise – engaging in regular physical activity that is fun 

● Nutrition – learning about good nutrition and healthy eating 

● Do it! – taking action to make healthy lifestyle changes long term 

The newest program, Healthy Together, for children ages 6–13 years and their families, is based on MEND 7-13 but with simplified delivery and focus on critical content. Healthy Together can be delivered by one person and is ideal for smaller groups and spaces. 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time 

Intervention Type: Direct Education