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, food waste reduction and food resource management. In 2022, Leah’s Pantry released an updated version of Food Smarts that incorporates principles of trauma-informed nutrition.  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 English.  

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating  
Intervention Type: Direct Education 

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

10 Tips for Adults

10 Tips for Adults (10 Tips) is a multi-level direct education intervention designed to reinforce messages related to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, increasing physical activity, consuming more water, and providing SNAP eligible adults with the skills to purchase healthy foods on a budget. The curriculum can be used in a variety of community-based settings frequented by SNAP eligible adults that complement and reinforce PSE interventions such as community gardens, healthy retail, worksite wellness, and healthcare clinical community linkages. The curriculum was designed to be implemented by qualified, professional Nutrition Educators and includes two distinct, but complementary, four-session series: Series A: Choosing MyPlate and Series B: Eating Better on a Budget. 10 Tips works to increase participants’ perceptions of the importance of a healthy diet and decrease their perceived barriers to shopping, cooking, and eating healthy on a budget. Each session includes a recipe demonstration and tasting to introduce participants to new healthy foods and simple cooking techniques to reduce perceived barriers to preparing healthy foods. 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time, Other: Budget-savvy shopping strategies   
Intervention Type: Direct Education 

Cooking Matters for Healthcare Partners (CMHP)

Cooking Matters for Healthcare Partners (CMHP) is a direct education and policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change intervention designed to increase participant consumption of fruits and vegetables by 15% based on the pre-post program surveys, increase participant access to direct nutrition education, and link SNAP/WIC eligible individuals to preventative community health interventions. To achieve these goals, the program couples the evidence-based Cooking Matters for Adults (CMA) curriculum with produce distribution at the end of each class so that participants can practice their cooking skills at home. For six months after completing the CMA class, participants have monthly nutrition education sessions with clinic nutritionists and redeem their produce via voucher redemption at Fresh MARTA Markets. Overall, the program increases access to direct nutrition education and produce in locations where SNAP/WIC eligible individuals seek health services, in order to change participant behaviors relating to fruit and vegetable consumption and food resource management.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance, Other: Food Resource Management

Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change

Healthy for Life Community Nutrition Program (HFL)

The Healthy for Life (HFL) Community Nutrition Program is direct education designed to change relationships with food and nutrition by inspiring individuals and families to make healthy food choices part of their everyday lives. It was designed from the community engagement model, emphasizing participants’ contribution in refining the program and program resources follow the 4-A format (Anchor, Add, Apply and Away). Also, community fit was ensured through the consideration of existing programs along with the target population and facilitator capabilities. Program material was designed to be culturally relevant and facilitators should connect and establish a reciprocal sense of trust and respect among participants. The materials are flexible and can accommodate individuals with time constraints, limited budgets, and minimal nutrition knowledge. The program aims to improve participant confidence and attitudes to sustain healthy behavior change. The recommendation is to offer at least four educational experiences, over 2-3 months to equips individuals with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to discover, choose, and prepare healthy food. Through facilitated food discovery experiences, participants will build food literacy to improve their health. 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating  
Intervention Type: Direct Education 

Stay Strong, Stay Healthy (SSSH)

Stay Strong, Stay Healthy (SSSH) is a direct education intervention designed to help older adults increase physical activity, decrease sedentary behaviors, increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and sustain physical activity participation and healthy eating behaviors post program. SSSH strives to meet the need for effective community-based physical activity (PA) and nutrition programs, so classes are offered by trained SSSH instructors in familiar locations such as churches, community centers, and senior centers. SSSH consists of 16 one-hour sessions over eight weeks. Participants complete a warmup, a prescribed set of upper- and lower-body strengthening exercises, and a cool-down. SSSH challenges participants through incremental increases in exercise volume and intensity. Each PA session is followed by a nutrition lesson, and lessons are tailored to older adults by addressing topics such as fiber, bone health, and vitamins and minerals for healthy aging. In addition to weekly group classes, participants are encouraged to complete the program on their own once a week, including preparation of the recipes. After the course ends, participants are still encouraged to continue at home or with a community group. The overall goal of SSSH is to increase PA and improve nutrition behavior to help seniors maintain independence.

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

Intervention Type: Direct Education

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.

FoodShare

FoodShare is a PSE change intervention designed to improve food security and health outcomes through fresh food access and affordability. Every 2 weeks residents can order a Fresh Food Box using cash or SNAP/EBT. The program is a SNAP Healthy Bucks site (a state SNAP healthy incentives program), which allows SNAP recipients to receive a $10 healthy incentive to go towards the cost of their box. Each Fresh Food Box contains 12-14 varieties of culturally appropriate fruits and vegetables, always with a mix of more common items (e.g., apples) and less common items (e.g., radishes). A recipe card that is culturally relevant to participants and based on the produce in the box in a given week is also included. The program is situated within an academic medical center and community-based hospital system. A screening and referral process was created that links patients to FoodShare.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

Intervention Type: PSE Change

Healthy Steps to Freedom

Healthy Steps to Freedom (HSF) is a direct education health, nutrition, and body image program (part of a broader intervention that includes PSE) designed to augment existing broad-based drug treatment and community education programs for women under supervision for substance use/misuse. While the long-term goal of HSF is to reduce recidivism and attrition for females in treatment for substance use disorder (SUD), the more immediate short-term goal is to teach healthy lifestyles as an alternative approach to substance use/misuse including nutrition, diet quality, balanced meal planning, physical activity, family mealtimes, understanding food labels, increased fruit and vegetable consumption, food resource management and positive self-esteem and reduced body dissatisfaction.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time, Other: dieting and unhealthy eating behaviors, body image disturbances and substance use/misuse

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Food Talk: Better U

The Food Talk: Better U (FTBU) curriculum is a direct nutrition education and obesity prevention curriculum taught by paraprofessionals in a classroom setting and focuses on healthy weight management tailored for SNAP-Ed eligible adult Georgians. FTBU includes both nutrition and physical activity (PA) components as weight management and obesity prevention strategies and helps participants increase portion control, decrease intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, make small healthy “shifts” in everyday food choices, and increase PA consistent with the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, MyPlate guidance, and 2018 PA Guidelines for Americans. The curriculum is comprised of a series of four, 90-minute direct education classes that include the following elements: interactive learning activities, interactive sharing among participants, guided PA, cooking demonstrations and recipe tastings, goal setting, and food and/or PA tracking homework.

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

Intervention Type: Direct Education