|Reviewers Comments: ||A clear, colorful layout and with large print and appropriate graphics make this set of newsletters a useful tool that can be used with a variety of ages and populations. Each issue contains a similar design, with a unique topic focus, ranging from specific food groups to shopping tips to general weight control. While there are 11 issues, volumes are numbered in an inconsistent manner. Volumes 1 – 4 do not contain a specific date and therefore could be used at any time. Volumes 5 – 7 are seasonal, and are dated Fall 2002, Spring 2003 and Summer 2003, respectively. There are three issues labeled Volume 8, one is dated Spring/Summer 2004, another Fall 2004, and a third Winter/Spring 2004. Volume 9 is dated Winter 2005. Since some articles are seasonal (such as ones on back to school and farmers markets), the newsletter would work best if used seasonally, and would be easier to follow if editions were dated more consistently. Some issues contain information that is specific to New Hampshire, such as the Serve New England program (volumes 6 and 9), a list of farmers markets in New Hampshire (volume 8 Fall 2004), and spotlight features on recipients on he UNH Cooperative Extension Nutrition Connections Program (volume 6 and 8 Spring/ Summer 2004). Recommendations are based on the old Food Guide Pyramid, and the old pyramid is pictured in volume 1, but generally they are still consistent with updated guidelines. Generally, articles contain interesting and useful information, especially those covered in the “Ask Miss Smarty” section. Recipes are included in each of the newsletters, but only three issues contain selected nutritional information. In addition, food prices are listed in many of the issues which add a valuable learning opportunity, but these prices may need to be verified before redistribution, as princes may have fluctuated. The source of the pricing information is not included, and is also inconsistent (oranges are listed as 15 cents in volume 3 and 23 cents in volume 4). While the previous section has focused on the set of newsletters as a whole, the rest of the review comments on each issue specifically.
Volume 1 focuses on healthy snacking with the food guide pyramid, and cooking from scratch to save money. Low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese may be added to the list of snack foods in the milk group. The featured recipe, lasagna, can be made healthier by replacing ground beef with ground turkey, adding green vegetables such as spinach or kale, and/or using lower fat versions of the three cheeses.
Volume 2 features articles on cooking low-cost meals with squash, reading nutrition labels, and make your own convenience lunches. The piece on label reading could be improved by mentioning that the labels are based on a 2000 calorie diet and the importance of looking at the “serving size” and “servings per container”.
Volume 3 focuses on eating more fruits and vegetables. It includes an article with tips to maintain a healthy weight, and a low cost recipe. A list of when different fruits are in season would be beneficial to readers, in the “Shopping Smarts” piece.
Volume 4 focuses on fresh produce. It includes two recipes, and tips for selecting fresh produce. Some information is repeated from volume 3.
Volume 5 features articles on grocery store layouts, back to school nutrition, walking and a recipe.
Volume 6 focuses on fruits and vegetables. The quotes from recent graduates of the home study course offered by UNH Cooperative Extension were a nice feature and may be inspiring to readers. In “Ask Miss Smarty”, it should be mentioned that many natural peanut butters are available that include no trans fats.
Volume 7 features articles on low-fat dairy, the importance of drinking water and tips on encouraging kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. There are two fruit recipes. Two studies on dairy are mentioned, but updated studies may be included to keep the issue current.
Volume 8 (Winter/Spring 2004) includes articles about superfoods, canned foods, and a challenge to eat 5-a-day. An educator could supplement these articles by advising consumers to check cans for dents, swelling and bulging, and choose fish canned in water, not oil. The exercise recommendations should be updated in the “Ask Miss Smarty Pants” section to include current guidelines.
Volume 8 (Spring/Summer 2004) features focuses on grains, including articles on carbohydrate myths and choosing cereal. It should be included that “Grade A Carbs” are those that are high in fiber, while “Grade D Carbs” contain mostly sugars. Also, there are no “Grade B Carbs” listed. This issue is unique as it includes a recipe along with a space for mailing and the UNH logo on the back.
Volume 8 (Fall 2004) focuses on weight control and whole grains. It also mentions the school lunch program and healthy snacking for kids. Serving sizes are based on the old food guide pyramid. It may be added that most tortillas, macaroni and noodles are not whole grain unless the container is marked as so.
Volume 9 gives tips on how to be a smart shopper and save on food. It also encourages readers to cut 100 calories a day and exercise to lose weight. While the shopping challenge is a great feature and an educator could expand this challenge by suggesting meals and menus out of the foods listed. Please note that this volume encourages readers to sign up for a “Food is Fun” course, a free four lesson food and nutrition course receivable by mail, which educators may need to delete if a similar class will not be offered in his or her community.