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

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

Child Health Initiative for Lifelong Eating and Exercise (CHILE) Plus

The Child Health Initiative for Lifelong Eating and Exercise (CHILE) Plus is a multi-component nutrition and physical activity education program for preschool age children and their families. CHILE Plus is the dissemination project of CHILE, a randomized control trial conducted by the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center (UNM PRC). CHILE Plus is based on the socioecological model and includes 6 components that fit into this model: the classroom curriculum, staff professional development, food service, family engagement, grocery store collaboration, and partnership with local health care providers and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program providers.

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

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

Healthy Steps to Freedom

Healthy Steps to Freedom (HSF) is a direct education health, nutrition, and body image program designed to augment existing broad-based drug treatment and community education programs for women under correctional supervision for substance use/misuse.  HSF intervenes through self-enrollment, court ordered programs and the corrections system. While the long-term goal of HSF is to reduce recidivism and attrition for females under correctional supervision, the more immediate short-term goal is to teach healthy lifestyles as an alternative approach to substance use/misuse including nutrition, diet quality, balanced meals, physical activity, family mealtimes, reading food labels, increased fruit and vegetable consumption, and positive self-esteem.

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

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Teen Battle Chef (TBC)

Teen Battle Chef (TBC) is a direct education and PSE change intervention designed to develop skills in nutrition, cooking, and leadership for participants and their families through cooking lessons, a PSE campaign, ongoing nutrition education, development of youth leaders, and supporting a culture of wellness in partner organizations. TBC includes eight sessions in which participants learn plant-focused recipes and cooking skills to compete in cooking battles. After eight weeks of skill development, the Teen Chefs choose one of four tracts to impact PSE change. The four tracts are bundled with the curriculum license and include School Food Ambassadors (for collaborating with schools’ food service), Special Event Headliners (for ensuring healthy options at School Events), CHEFS 4 Change (program for youth collaboration with local bodegas to support healthy ‘grab n’ go’ options), and Culinary Coaches (teaching other students healthy meal/snack strategies).

TBC School Food Ambassadors have been effectively utilized as partners with school food service to co-develop new school menu items and promote them with demos and sampling. This active collaborative creates peer-driven motivation for more students to participate in school lunch and breakfast, which is easily measured through school food service participation rates.

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

Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change

Bingocize®

Exercise can help prevent chronic diseases and falls in older adults, but unfortunately, less than 15% of older adults exercise regularly.  Many older adults report that traditional exercise programs are not enjoyable, leading to inactivity and related health issues. Bingocize® offers a unique solution that mixes exercise, health education, and bingo to help overcome health problems in participants across the entire spectrum of care. It’s completely adaptable for all types of facilities and is beneficial for all ranges of physical and mental ability. Evidence shows social, cognitive, and physical improvements when Bingocize® is used, plus, it’s FUN!  

Bingocize® is a 10-week program designed to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior. Specifically, Bingocize® can increase older adults’ functional fitness, knowledge of falls prevention, and social engagement in a variety of settings, including community senior centers and congregate meal sites. The program combines a bingo-like game with physical activity and/or health education (falls prevention and nutrition). Trained lay leaders may select between separate units that focus on exercise-only, exercise and falls prevention, or exercise and nutrition. Each unit includes a leader’s script for each session, participants’ materials, and “take home” cards for participants to complete exercises and tasks at home to reinforce the weekly health education information.  Participants play Bingocize® twice per week on nonconsecutive days, with each 45-60 minute session consisting of exercises (range of motion, balance, muscle strengthening, and endurance exercises) and/or health education questions. The program is pre-approved by the National Council on Aging as an evidence-based falls prevention program and qualifies for Title IIID funding.

The program can be delivered both using a printed version or mobile app.  The mobile app is considered an add-on and is not required to implement and complete any of the Bingocize® units. Organizations deciding to purchase the mobile app can choose to use the printed version and/or the mobile app. This provides a versatile option for organizations with multiple facilities because some facilities may have strong WIFI and access to electronic devices (tablets or phones) making the mobile app a good option. However, some facilities may choose to use only the printed version because they lack the technical resources, or their participants just prefer printed materials. 

 To view a short video of the program in action, visit https://youtu.be/meCfC0CU4fg

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

Intervention Type: Direct Education

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

Eagle Adventure

The Eagle Adventure (EA) was designed to address the need for culturally relevant SNAP-Ed programming to prevent type 2 diabetes in Indian Country. EA was developed using the CDC Eagle Book series as the central theme. Through this series of four books, wise animal characters are brought to life. Mr. Eagle, Miss Rabbit and a clever trickster, Coyote, engage Rain That Dances and his young friends in the joy of being physically active, eating healthy foods and learning from their elders about traditional ways of being healthy. Throughout the program, youth and their families learn that type 2 diabetes can be prevented through healthful dietary and physical activity (PA) choices. Students in grades 1-3 are introduced to the program through the EA play, which embraces traditions of Native American storytelling. Students participate in hands-on activities and food experiences in each of the lessons.

EA includes the following social marketing components: school and radio announcements, newspaper messages, place-based signage, and social media components to extend healthful messages beyond the classroom to community settings. Not Our Destiny (www.NotOurDestiny.com) is a complementary intergenerational social marketing campaign that is asset-based and shares stories of health from Native Americans who engage in healthful activities.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time, Other: preventing type 2 Diabetes

Intervention Type: All: Direct Education, Social Marketing, PSE Change

Healthy Way to Grow

The Healthy Way to Grow (HWTG) is a direct education and PSE intervention directed at early childhood education centers (ECE). HWTG is designed to promote the adoption of wellness policies and implementation of best practices at the center level to create cultures of health within child care facilities, which positively impact early childhood providers’ knowledge and skills about healthy eating and physical activity (PA), provide tools and resources for child care facilities to help parents and families increase healthy eating and PA, and expose children to healthy foods and PA at a young age. HWTG helps centers learn how to approach these issues and embed best practices into their ongoing activities to create a culture of health and wellness within their environments.

Target Behavior: Breastfeeding, Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time, Other: staff wellness

Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change

Cooking Matters at the Store

Cooking Matters at the Store by Share our Strength is a free program that empowers families to stretch their food budgets so their children get healthy meals at home. Cooking Matters at the Store is a guided grocery store tour that teaches low-income adults how to get the most nutrition for their food dollars.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Cooking Matters

Cooking Matters is helping end childhood hunger by inspiring families to make healthy, affordable food choices. Cooking Matters by Share Our Strength teaches participants to shop smarter, use nutrition information to make healthier choices and cook delicious, affordable meals. Cooking Matters provides professional-level curricula and instructional materials, training, evaluation and national leadership support to approved partners, while local program partners provide hands-on, grassroots-level resources, program customizations and relationships that are best addressed on the local level.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

Intervention Type: Direct Education