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Title:Eat Better, Eat Together Toolkit
Alt. Title:Ideas for Promoting Positive Family Meals
Pub. date: 1999, updated 2001, 2003, 2007
Includes: Reproducible brochures (free), and accompanying promotional materials (available for purchase on the web site)
Audience: Parents
Language: English
Description:This set of reproducible brochures promotes eating together as a family to encourage healthful eating and positive social interaction among family members and to promote good tasting, healthful meals on a limited budget. Topics are: 10 Tips for Quality Family Meals, Cooking with Young Children, Family Breakfast, Family Meals with Growing Children, Get in Touch with Family Meals, Getting Started, Healthful Meals, Make Family Time Active Time, Make It at Home: Save Money and Eat Better, Make your Family Meal a Special Event, Setting the Table, Who Has Time for Family Meals? You Do!, Family Mealtime - Deciding Who Does What?
Funding Source: USDA Food Stamp Program, Washington State University
Length: 24 pages
Assessment instrument Used? Yes
Use Restrictions: May not copy.
Reviewers Comments: While family meals are the main focus, the brochures address topics such as physical activity for the whole family and shopping tips to save money. The "Make It at Home: Save Money and Eat Better" brochure promotes family meals and food shopping on a budget, pointing out the economical benefits of family meals. Educators may need to modify the wording when the primary caregiver is not a family member, although the Web site defines a family as "one or more adults (parent, grandparent or other) eating together with one or more children or teenagers."

The material has not been tested for a specific reading level, nor has it been formally tested with SNAP participants. However, the use of white space allows key concepts to be conveyed without being text-heavy. Many of the brochures contain recipes that include yield, but lack nutrient analysis and serving size. Most recipes use low-fat ingredients and contain fruits or vegetables. The brochures contain few graphics and they are not ethnic/race-specific. Each brochure has the "Eat Together, Eat Better" logo, which is also ethnic and gender neutral. While the graphics in the brochures are black and white, the accompanying materials containing the logo are in color.

Some of the messages are duplicated among the various brochures, but rather than distract the reader they are worth repeating in order to reinforce important messages. This also allows educators flexibility in choosing which brochures to use with their audiences if they prefer to use them independently rather than as a series. For example, the "Family Mealtime - Deciding Who Does What?" and the "10 Tips for Quality Family Meals" both mention common recommendations for parents' and children's roles regarding what, when, how much, and whether to eat.

The "Cooking with Young Children" brochure lists meal preparation tasks that children can accomplish at various ages, which may be helpful for families with more than one young child. Children may be able to accomplish some of the suggested activities at a younger age than specified in this brochure, but the authors do note that children all learn at their own pace. The brochure," Family Meals with Growing Children," while not a comprehensive approach to developmental stages, does address the eating behaviors of toddlers, preschoolers, 6-12 year olds, and teenagers.

The Web site (see below) also includes a link to Background Research, that loosely discusses research concerning the benefits of the family meal.

There are some minor grammatical and/or typographical errors. The recipe in "Cooking with Young Children" calls for a 1 ounce can of tomatoes rather than the standard 12-15 ounce can size.

The Web site contains some additional materials that were not extensively reviewed by the SNAP-Ed Connection, such as the "Links to Family Meal Information," "Working with the Media," "Family, Food and Fun Night", "Who Has Time for Family Meals", and "Involving the Family in Meal Time Preparation." Some of the costs associated with the "Family, Food and Fun Night" activities, such as the meals provided, are not reimbursable SNAP expenses. SNAP-Ed providers should refer to the annual Policy Guidance for more information on allowable activities.

View/download files: 
Eat Better, Eat Together Tool Kit: Ideas for Promoting Positive Family Meals:
Contact the Distributor:
    Distributor: Washington State University
    Contact: Sue Butkus
    Mail: 7612 Pioneer Way E.
Puyallup, WA 98371-4998
    Phone: (253) 445-4553
    Ordering: Available online only
    Order URL:Web Address
    Avail. in Qty: No
    Bulkrate:Cost varies depending on item ordered.

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