|Reviewers Comments: ||Small Steps to Health is an organized, structured nutrition curriculum designed for SNAP and SNAP-eligible audiences. The nine lessons review a variety of topics including MyPyramid, food labels, breakfast, fruits and vegetables, calcium, protein, fats, food safety, and family meals. Nutrition information is research based and is compatible with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPyramid.
This curriculum is goal oriented and designed to encourage behavior change. Each lesson includes specific objectives and a list of what learners should take away from the lesson. Hands-on learning is encouraged through a variety of interactive activities. Because there are numerous activities for each lesson, an educator can tailor which activities to use based on their participants, the space available for the class and their personal objectives of what they would like to achieve with the class. Each lesson also has a goal setting worksheet, and participants are encouraged to set goals from week to week. Major ideas are summarized at the end of each lesson for participants to help create their goals.
Recipes are included along with most of the lessons. Recipes consist of low-cost, readily available ingredients and include a nutrition facts panel. All recipes, along with all handouts, are available in English and Spanish. Some of the recipes include cost information per recipe and per serving. (Most recipes from this curriculum are also available in the SNAP-Ed Connection Recipe Finder Database.)
Recommended for small groups of five to ten participants, the curriculum is adaptable and can be utilized with smaller or larger groups by modifying some of the recipes and activities. Educators are advised to plan for 30 to 45 minutes per lesson, depending on which activities are used. Educators should review each lesson thoroughly before the class is scheduled, as some activities and recipes require some advance preparation. An informal setting with a kitchen facility, electrical outlets, and/or space for small kitchen appliances would be ideal for teaching the lessons.
A list of materials needed is provided in each lesson. Many of the materials are not included in the curriculum packet. Eight of the nine lessons use separate DVDs, available from Purdue Extension: Eating Better Makes Sense (used in six lessons), Nutrition Facts: Reading Labels Makes Sense (used in one lesson) and Serve Up Safely: Food Safety Tips for Families (used in one lesson). These DVDs are not required, but will strongly enhance the lessons. An educator may want to substitute another activity and/or overview if not using the DVDs.
Other materials that may be needed for some of the lessons include food models, actual food products and/or containers, food preparation equipment and recipe ingredients. Some additional materials/handouts are available from the USDA (MyPyramid materials) or the CDC. Lesson handouts, certificates, and recipes are all available in English and Spanish on the accompanying CD (provided with curriculum) however, educators will have to print and make copies of materials on their own.