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Title:Chef Charles Club
Pub. date: 2004-present
Includes: Newsletters and Instructors Guide
Audience: Older Adults
Language: English
Description:Designed for use with older adults in congregate meal settings, the Chef Charles Club nutrition education project includes a monthly 4-page newsletter, 2-page bingo game, and instructor’s guide for demonstration and background information. The materials focus on fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, food safety, and food security and resource management and each provides a variety of tips, suggestions and information related to each of these areas. The newsletter includes a variety of information on the focus areas, two recipes, with nutrient analysis, an “in the news” feature, and tips for goal setting in the focus areas. Also available is the document “Strength Training for Older Adults” an exercise (using stretch bands) demonstration guide for the leader.
Funding Source: USDA SNAP, Iowa Nutrition Network
Developer: Iowa Nutrition Network/IDPH
Phone: 515-281-7119
Readability: 6th -10th grade
Assessment Method: Flesch-Kincaid
Pilot Testing: No formal pilot testing. Iowa program personnel note that it has been used for 2 years with positive feedback from leaders and participants, with significant behavior changes noted in 2004 related to thermometer use to test meat doneness.
Use Restrictions: May copy for educational purposes.
Reviewers Comments: The Chef Charles Club is a well-integrated nutrition education program, incorporating components, information, and activities that can help seniors change behaviors related to eating more fruits and vegetables, being more physically active, preparing/cooking foods safely, and having fewer problems having enough money to buy the food they need. The four page, colorful monthly newsletters (PDF format on the website), have content that is varied yet on theme and that is current, relevant, and interesting to the target audience, older adults. Though most graphics depict an elderly population, much of the content would also be appropriate to a middle-aged adult audience as well. Newsletter content includes appropriate and actionable tips and practical advice that is age appropriate related to fruits and vegetables, and physical activities, information or resources to contact for maximizing financial resources, food safety reminders, a word find and a cross word puzzle related to the newsletter content (with answer keys), 1 to 2 recipes with limited nutrient content information, news such as the trans fat labeling law or current health research, and advice for setting goals. Starting in May 2005, issues incorporate MyPyramid information appropriately (varying color of veggies and finding whole grains). The font size used in the newsletter is small in places which may be difficult for some older adults to read, and occasionally pages are very full. But generally, the pages are not difficult to follow and are designed attractively with text layout and graphics. Although there is some Iowa branding, it is small and does not preclude use of materials by other programs.

The monthly bingo activity would be an excellent tool to promote healthy behavior changes as participants mark off those activities they complete. The squares on the bingo page are related to “picking a better snack” (i.e. enjoying a variety of fruits and vegetables) and “acting” in terms of physical activities (i.e. trying things like walking, folding clothes, lifting, tai chi, biking, stretching, etc.). Similar to the newsletter, it is very colorful and well designed, but there is some small print. The bingo page includes a registration spot, a “coming next month” feature, and the reverse side has information on four fruits and vegetables, including buying and storing tips and serving suggestions.

The instructor’s guide (a full-color PDF file) provides comprehensive guidance for carrying out lessons based around the content and theme of the each month’s newsletter. The guide includes items such as an explanation of the theme of the bingo, background information on the activities and current nutrition topics like MyPyramid, and goal setting for each activity. Also provided are copy-ready materials or an explanation of exactly what props to have ready (for example, 2 bread labels…one regular and one whole wheat). The guide provides helpful teaching points for the recipes and an activity for the “Be Active” portions (for example, housecleaning charades.) A section on food safety provides background information and ideas for discussion, and the guide ends with summary questions that review the focus areas for the month. The Iowa program provides a Chef Charles apron and hat for the facilitator and monthly incentives that Iowa Program leaders can obtain for their participants, such as thermometers. These incentives correlate with the monthly topics and are noted in the instructor’s guide, so other groups using the materials will know what to include.

Borrow it from the National Agricultural Library (NAL)
SNAP staff/SNAP-Ed providers can borrow materials from NAL through interlibrary loan.
    NAL Call No.: TX361.A3 C47
    Go to Request Library Materials
View/download files: 
Visit web site (HTML):
Contact the Distributor:
    Distributor: Iowa Nutrition Network
    Contact: Marilyn Jones
    Mail: Dept. of Public Health Lucas Bldg, 5th Floor, 321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
    Phone: (515) 281-6047
(800) 532-1579
    Fax: (515) 281-4913
    Order URL:
    Avail. in Qty: No

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