FSNC Masthead
 HomeAbout SNAPSNAP-Ed TalkDatabasesHelpContact Us
 Search FSNC
Search all USDA
advanced search
search tips
browse by subject
National SNAP-Ed
resource library
state gates
photo gallery
professional developement
You are here: Home / Resource Library / Resource Finder / Resource Details
About the Food and Nutrition Information Center

Back to Search Results | New Search | Bookmark and Share
Title:Pick a Better Snack™ & ACT lessons and social marketing campaign
Pub. date: 1999, 2003, 2007, 2012
Edition: 2007, 2012
Includes: Lesson plans and various other components available online.
Audience: Children, Elementary School Children (K-5), Families of Elementary School Children
Language: English; some components are in Spanish
Description:The Iowa Nutrition Network's social marketing campaign, Pick a better snack™ & ACT (PABS), was created to promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables by marketing them as an attractive alternative to less healthy snacks. PABS classroom lessons are available online (four per month) for elementary grades K-5. Each month, lessons feature seasonal fruits (focus on fruits), vegetables (vary your veggies). Additional lessons are available in the archive including: physical activity, Eat Smart Play Hard, My Pyramid, and the Color Way). The Iowa Nutrition Network website also features coordinating lessons designed to be delivered by a classroom teacher.

Lessons incorporate nutrition and physical activity bingo cards (scorecards for upper elementary students) to encourage experiential learning and engage families. Monthly parent newsletters (available in English and Spanish) are sent home with students to encourage families to eat more fruits and vegetables and to be active together. Supplemental resources are available including fruit and vegetable fact sheets and posters. Pick a better snack™ & ACT social marketing components enhance and reinforce the classroom lessons. These include radio PSAs, videos (TV ads), bookmarks, billboards, certificates, stickers, recipes, posters and editable print materials. Social marketing materials were expanded in 2012 to include a more modern look featuring photos of food and children enjoying fruit and veggie snacks.

Funding Source: SNAP-Ed and Team Nutrition Program
Developer: Iowa Nutrition Network
Phone: (515) 281-7096
Readability: 3rd Grade
Assessment Method: Flesch-Kincaid
Pilot Testing: The classrooms lessons are one component of a multi-channel social marketing plan for Pick a better snack™. Formative research and message development for the campaign took place in 1999 and 2000. This was followed by a process evaluation conducted in the field during 2001. The impact of classroom education is evaluated annually with pre-post student surveys and teacher feedback. Lessons were updated to include the 2005 Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid. A team of elementary teachers reviewed the lessons for age appropriateness in 2006. An outside evaluator was hired in 2007 to observe classroom education and conduct interviews with nutrition educators who use the lessons.

Youth and parent surveys have undergone psychometric testing that includes: face validity; internal consistency using Cronbach's alpha, test pre-test (external) reliability verified by pre/post comparisons; and construct validity using factor analysis (2008). Contact Doris Montgomery, MS RD for more information:

Assessment instrument Used? yes
Use Restrictions: May copy for educational purposes.
Reviewers Comments: This campaign and the supporting materials have multiple strengths to offer those considering undertaking a similar program. It is evident that detailed planning went into developing this comprehensive approach to behavior change at the individual, school, community and state levels. The school based kit, 'Pick a better snack & Act', emphasizes multiple activities for children that encourage learning in a fun and creative environment. The kit includes three lesson plans for each month from September to May. The lessons include one for kindergarten to first grade, one for second and third grade, and one for fourth and fifth grade. The monthly lessons each focus on two fruits, two vegetables, and physical activity. The design and layout of the lessons and handouts are professional, attractive and age-appropriate. All of the lessons are available on the Web site.

Also included as a part of the campaign are Parents Newsletters, available in English and Spanish and in color or black and white, Youth Bingo Cards (grades K-3), one for each month from September to August, available in English and Spanish, and Youth Scorecards (grades 4-5), one for each month from September to August, available in English only. The Bingo cards include three snack ideas for each fruit and vegetable serving, along with serving size information, and tips on selection and storage. The card also provides seasonally appropriate physical activity suggestions. To help encourage children to use the cards, sample letters are available to send to classroom teachers, parents, physical education teachers, food service directors, and produce managers. The recipes are simple and use common ingredients but lack nutrient information. Serving size and yield are not consistently provided. Educators may want to consider using the term “guardian” or “caretaker” versus “parent” to be more inclusive.

The program originates from formative research and uses the health belief model as a foundation. It emphasizes that simple actions in the community can reduce perceived and real barriers and increase fruit and vegetable consumption. To help make an environmental change, another component of the campaign includes social marketing materials, including newspaper articles, radio public service announcements and grocery store materials.

Because there are so many components, the program can be confusing. All of the available resources do not have to be employed for it to be successful. The program can be used as a reference or a basis for other programs. Although some materials are specific to Iowa, the lessons and handouts can be easily modified for use in their own programs. Variations of the program have been successfully enacted in different states.

Note: This review has been adapted from an earlier version and now refers to the 2007/2012 version of the resource.

View/download files: 
Link to lessons (HTML):
Contact the Distributor:
    Distributor: Iowa Nutrition Network
    Contact: Christine Hradek
    Mail: 321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
    Phone: 515-281-7096
    Order URL:
    Cost: 0.00 per
    Avail. in Qty: No

Share your comments:
Comments on this resource are encouraged within the bounds of respectful civil discourse. Questionable language, personal attacks, off-topic comments, and gratuitous links will either be edited or deleted. Comments are moderated and will not appear on the Resource Finder Database until they have been approved.

Name: (Optional)


May we use your comments on our website?:
     Yes: No:

In order to help us reduce spam, please type the two words you see below into the box and then click on the Submit Comments button. If you need help, click on the question mark button below.


Back to Search Results | New Search

Last Modified:   
SNAP-EdC Home | NAL Home | USDA | Food and Nutrition Service | SNAP Home | Web Policies and Links | Site Map
FOIA | Accessibility Statement | Privacy Policy | Non-Discrimination Statement | Information Quality | | White House