Heart Smarts

Heart Smarts is a direct education, PSE change, and social marketing intervention that combines healthy food access, nutrition education, and health and social services for individuals to improve their health and reduce their risk of diet-related disease. The program offers nine lessons for use in retail environments covering topics like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, sodium, sugar-sweetened beverages and making healthy choices along with nutrition-focused tip sheets. Each lesson includes taste tests, recipes, healthy food incentive coupons* and health screenings* (for blood pressure, weight checks, and healthy lifestyle counseling and referrals). Technical assistance and training is provided to site staff and storeowners to support PSE changes including healthier stores, businesses and communities.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

Intervention Type: Direct Education, Social Marketing, PSE Change

*These Heart Smarts components (health screenings, including blood pressure and BMI; counseling and referrals; and healthy food incentive coupons help participants choose heart-healthy items at the site) are not allowable by SNAP-Ed. Heart Smarts lessons and food tastings can be used without these additional components. Screenings and coupons can be funded by grants or partnered organizations.

Create Healthy Choices: Thumbs Up for Healthy Choices – Food Pantries (Thumbs Up)

Create Healthy Choices: Thumbs Up for Healthy Choices – Food Pantries (Thumbs Up) is a policy, systems, and environment (PSE) change intervention designed to improve the visibility and appeal of healthy choices for pantry users, leading to an increased selection of these healthy choices. Thumbs Up utilizes low-cost nudge strategies to make healthy choices easier in pantries. Prior to implementing Thumbs Up, educators evaluate the pantry’s readiness for change by conducting a baseline assessment using an adapted version of Illinois Extension’s Nutrition Environment Food Pantry Assessment Tool (NEFPAT). Once the baseline is established, educators work with pantries to identify areas the pantry management is interested in improving. Educators then use nutrition criteria outlined in the toolkit to identify foods that are low in sodium, added sugar, and saturated fat. At the end of a pantry’s partnership with SNAP-Ed, or the end of the fiscal year, the NEFPAT is used again to track changes made to improve the visibility and appeal of healthy items.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

Intervention Type: PSE Change

Healthy Choices for Every Body Adult Nutrition Education Curriculum

The Healthy Choices for Every Body (HCEB) is a direct education intervention designed to improve diet quality, physical activity, and food safety practices, as well as enhance food security and food resource management skills. HCEB incorporates lessons and activities that recognize participants’ experiences, skills, and knowledge; explains why, what, and how the nutrition education concepts presented relate to real-life situations; and includes active learning activities, hands-on practice, and demonstrations to help participants understand and apply content.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance, Other: Food resource management skills, food safety practices

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Nutrition Environment Food Pantry Assessment Toolkit

The Nutrition Environment Food Pantry Toolkit is a PSE change intervention designed to create pantry spaces where the healthy choice is the easy choice and that promote dignity and inclusivity. The toolkit includes site implementation materials that support pantries and technical assistance providers in carrying out small and large-scale interventions specific to food distribution styles, pantry layout, promotion techniques of healthful foods, variety of fruits and vegetables available, accessibility of information about community resources, and meeting the needs of diverse pantry audiencesPantry-level interventions are meant to be low or no-cost. The toolkit includes the Nutrition Environment Food Pantry Assessment Tool (NEFPAT), a validated environmental assessment that quantifies the nutrition environment of food pantries. It also includes NEFPAT-user training materials.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

Intervention Type: PSE Change

Voices for Food (VFF)

Voices for Food (VFF) is a PSE change intervention designed to enhance food security in diverse rural communities with high poverty rates, utilize community coaches to develop new or provide support to existing food councils, and encourage policy changes in local food pantries that increase the availability of healthy foods. VFF focuses on the engagement of community coaches with communities to achieve intervention objectives while utilizing VFF materials. Community coaches address food system issues by focusing on local food policy and making environmental changes, such as community gardens, aiding the food pantry in obtaining more space, and working on other issues of food security. Community coaches work collaboratively with food pantries to make PSE changes that transition to a client choice model of distribution (MyChoice) and offer the VFF Ambassador’s training, which includes nutrition education, cultural competency training, and food safety training. 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

Intervention Type: PSE Change

VeggieBook, a mobile app for Android and iOS smartphones (VB)

VeggieBook is a social marketing and direct education intervention app that is designed to help users choose customized recipes and healthy eating tips which ultimately lead to increased vegetable-based preparation for meals at home. The app invites a user to create a new VeggieBook or SecretsBook. VeggieBooks are sets of recipes, each set built around 1 of 10 vegetables. A series of questions posed by the app helps users select recipes and food preparation tips of interest. Recipes use simple ingredients most households have and have been tested for user-appeal. SecretsBooks are 5 sets of illustrated ideas about food use and acquisition–Secrets to Better Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Shopping. The app’s emphasis on users’ choices promotes just-in-time learning.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

Intervention Type: Direct Education, Social Marketing

Create Better Health Curriculum

The Create Better Health (CBH) Curriculum is a direct education intervention designed to improve the nutrition and physical activity-related knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy of SNAP-Ed eligible adults to lead an active and healthy lifestyle with limited resources. CBH has a unique emphasis on improving food resource management through the use of “Create” concepts. “Create” concepts teach participants how to use foods they already have in their kitchen to create a variety of nourishing meals. CBH includes 8 lessons that are to be offered in a series of 6-8 classes. Nutrition educators are trained regularly to teach CBH classes all of which include a nutrition topic, physical activity discussion, and a hands-on (ideally) cooking demonstration that utilizes a “Create” concept. CBH addresses and evaluates individual level changes including short term readiness and capacity and mediumterm changes over the course of a series, as well as long-term changes 6 months after participation in the areas of healthy eating, physical activity, and food resource management. CBH also includes a 1-year follow-up survey to evaluate long-term behavior changes. 

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

Intervention Type: Direct Education

The Safe and Healthy Food Pantries Project (SHFPP)

The Safe and Healthy Food Pantries Project (SHFPP) is a PSE change intervention designed to improve the food environment and food safety practices within an emergency food pantry. The SHFPP manual provides tools to support the adoption of research-informed strategies likely to expand access and promote safe and healthy food. Users are encouraged to follow an action cycle with 5 steps outlined in the manual (e.g., assessment, strategies, action planning, implementation, and evaluation). The project is implemented and maintained with collaboration between SNAP-Ed educators, food pantry staff and volunteers, and other stakeholders. This team is encouraged to assess where changes can be made including readiness and sources of food procurement. The stand-alone tools help guide the team to plan policies and practices that change the food pantry environment in terms of health and safety. Example strategies include donor education, improvements in food layout or display, signage, procuring local food, and food safety and nutrition policies. Finally, the toolkit emphasizes continuously evaluating and assessing the efforts and changes made in the pantry.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance, Other: Food Safety

 Intervention Type: PSE Change

Food Hero

Food Hero is a multi-channel social marketing campaign designed to change family and community behaviors.  Food Hero includes an extensive evaluation process. The program is designed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income Oregonians, and components of the campaign have been used widely in other states and countries. 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change, Social Marketing

EatFresh

EatFresh.org is mobile-friendly website that was created for the SNAP-Ed population and the organizations that serve them. It provides practical resources and encouragement for individuals with varying levels of digital literacy, internet access, health awareness and culinary skills. EatFresh.org is a stand-alone indirect education resource, an extender for direct education interventions, and a useful tool for a variety of PSE strategies. Partners throughout California use EatFresh.org as a tool to direct their participants to healthy recipes during nutrition workshops, to look up preparation and storage tips for food received at food banks, and to apply for SNAP/Calfresh.  They promote the website by distributing recipe cards at health fairs and other indirect events and refer clients to the EatFresh.org Mini Course as a flexible direct education resource. The EatFresh.org Mini Course is a free online direct education course that features 15 SNAP-Ed self-paced topics that can be completed in any order. 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change