|Reviewers Comments: ||The Families Eating Smart and Moving More toolkit can be a very useful resource for nutrition educators working with families. The kit comes with a number of different components making it easy for an educator to tailor an individualized program to meet their needs. Each of the elements of the kit is designed to encourage families to embrace simple solutions to eating smart and moving more. The curriculum is able to be taught one-on-one or in small group workshops. The four main modules in the kit each target a specific behavior: eating healthy at home, eating healthy while eating out, increasing physical activity, and watching less television. A summary of each of the modules is available on the program’s web site. The modules each include an outlined curriculum and accompanying handouts, suggested activities, and videos.
The curriculum is provided in three forms: electronically as a PowerPoint presentation ideal for group presentations, in a notebook format where an educator can jot down their own notes, and on thick, glossy laminated paper in full color, good for smaller or one on one sessions. The curriculum slides are brightly colored, and include clever and appropriate graphics with just enough text on each slide. The electronic version incorporates appealing animation and several short, engaging videos. The curriculum is motivating and includes tips, handouts and suggested activities to help involve participants and keep them interested. Real life examples are used and easy, manageable steps are suggested to make simple changes; for example to eat at home, just “plan”, “shop”, fix” and “eat”. When teaching, an educator may want to incorporate additional recommendations for good nutrition, especially when helping participants “plan” eating at home.
It is recommended educators have a background in nutrition education and they ensure that they are comfortable with the material before teaching it. While notes are included for each slide, it is stressed that the notes are provided as a guide and should not be read directly to participants. Educators will need to take time to prepare and practice how they will present the given topics. A large number of online resources are summarized and provided for further research. A training summary and evaluation forms for participants are provided, tracking participant knowledge and intended behavior. While only a few sample forms are provided, educators can make additional copies from the electronic version (provided in Microsoft Word format), which is included on the curriculum CD, and modify the version to meet their needs.
The short videos embedded in the electronic curriculum are also available on a separate DVD and videocassette. These videos may be used along with the curriculum or on their own. The information in the videos parallels the information in the curriculum. They feature tips on how to get the whole family involved, show families preparing meals together and spending time together, and encourage doing a small amount of physical activity throughout the day. The videos are a fun way to capture the attention of participants and break up the class. Each video clip is about 1 ½ to 3 minutes long and there are 7 different videos clips. The videos feature good audio quality, some special effects, animation and background music. The picture quality is excellent on a small screen, but may appear slightly blurry on a large screen or when used with an overhead projector. The video includes some diversity.
A separate resource included in the Families Eating Smart and Moving More packet is a CD called “Fast Food and Families: Making Good Choices for Better Health”. This CD can be used to help families make better choices when eating fast food. There are two main components of the CD: Fast Food Court and SuperSize Survival Guide.
In Fast Food Court, participants can choose their menu preference from a variety of different fast food restaurants, including ones that specialize in chicken, hamburgers, pizza, sandwiches and Mexican food. Brand names and item names are specified on the CD. As participants mark their preferences, they are provided with a numeric value for the total amount of calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber in their selection. A meter at the bottom of the screen alerts participants as to whether they are in the red, yellow or green light range for four of the nutrients. Depending on an individual’s size and diet, some of their ranges may not be consistent with the guidelines provided. This should be discussed with the participant. Participants can click for more information on each nutrient, how they’ve measured up, fast facts and additional tips. In Supersize Survival Guide, participants can view a comparison of hamburgers, French fries of soda of various sizes, calories and total fat. Ordering smaller sizes is encouraged. If the computer is connected to a printer, participants can print the tips provided.
The CD can be used as an enhancement to the rest of the packet tools and curriculum or as a separate resource on it’s on. When being used on its own, it could be used as a stand alone tool, but it would be enhanced with guidance and additional nutrition education. Participants may need assistance navigating the curriculum when first using the CD. The CD features clear audio, crisp photographs and several short animated videos with appropriate photographs and graphs.
Families Eating Smart and Moving More can be used with diverse families of all ages, sizes and backgrounds. Eat Smart Move More handouts, posters and collaterals, such as the week shopping list, and meal, activity and TV planner are available online. Marketing materials including flyers, press releases, a list of key messages, and tips for talking with reporters and making television appearances can help educators promote their program. Marketing materials are available in print and electronically, so they can be personalized to meet a specific program’s needs. Overall, the many resources included in this multifaceted toolkit can be a great help to SNAP-Ed providers.