SNAP-Ed Connection e-Bulletin

About the SNAP-Ed Connection e-Bulletin

The SNAP-Ed Connection e-Bulletin brings the latest news and resources to your inbox. The e-Bulletin replaces the previous semi-annual print Bulletin. You can view previous editions of the e-Bulletin or read full-text articles below.

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Iowa Nutrition Network School Grant Program

This article was written and submitted by Doris Montgomery, on behalf of the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The Iowa Nutrition Network School Grant Program is designed to improve fruit and vegetable and low-fat dairy consumption among elementary school children in schools with at least 50 percent participation in free- and reduced-price lunch. The program delivers classroom-based nutrition and physical activity education supported by social marketing strategies.

Monthly lessons encourage students to choose fruits and vegetables for snacks. Lessons feature fruits and veggies that students taste with their peers. Fruit and vegetable lessons are available for nutrition educators and classroom teachers. The milk lessons are taught at least twice each year.

There are two school-based campaigns that are part of the School Grant Program. The Pick a better snack™ campaign materials reinforce classroom lessons and trigger action by students and their families. Featured fruits and vegetables are incorporated into family Bingo cards and newsletters that go home with students monthly. Schools use the campaign to promote lunch menu items and to support USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

Classroom lessons incorporate physical activity demonstrations and messages about active play. Play Your Way. One Hour a Day. is a companion campaign to Pick a better snack™.

One campaign is designed exclusively for mothers. Their bodies change, so should their milk. encourages mothers to make the switch to low-fat milk for children age two and over. This campaign does not appear in schools.

The channels of communication (beyond schools) for the social marketing campaigns include; supermarket signage and demonstrations, billboards and bus shelter signage in SNAP-Ed-qualified locations, television and radio ads, and materials at organizations such as WIC and YMCAs.

The Network’s school-based program was included in USDA’s Wave II SNAP Education and Evaluation Study. The program had a significant, positive impact on several primary outcomes compared with the comparison group. Significant changes include reported intake of fruits and vegetables and the likelihood of using 1 percent or skim milk rather than whole milk. View the final report from USDA.

For more information, contact Doris Montgomery, Iowa Department of Public Health

Return to the full January issue.


Logo for University of Wyoming Extension Centsible Nutrition Program Cent$ible Nutrition Program

This article was written and submitted by Dietetic Intern Katlyn Thomas, on behalf of the University of Wyoming Extension.

Many people in the general population claim that “eating healthy is too expensive.” While fresh fruits and vegetables may seem expensive, if done right, they can fit into any budget along with other nutritious foods such as whole grains and low-fat or no-fat milk. Budgets and eating healthy seem like daunting tasks, but the Cent$ible Nutrition Program of Wyoming (CNP) is there to help! CNP of Wyoming is open to individuals, families and youth who benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in each of the State’s 23 counties.

This is a program that is built to educate through a series of classes about eating healthy on a budget. Classes include practical education through cooking, food safety, nutrition, planning meals, grocery shopping and physical activity. One of the shining stars of the Wyoming CNP is the cookbook that is given to participants which includes Master Mix and Magic Mix. These two mixes are recipes that are made from scratch with a few ingredients, shelf stable, and bulk size and intended to be used in many different recipes. By teaching participants how to shop and cook once, participants learn how to stretch the food dollar and eat nutritiously!

An exciting event that the Wyoming CNP recently hosted was the “Two Buck Lunch.” Several entrees featured in the cookbook were made and guests were given “$2” to “buy” lunch with. The premise of the low dollar amount for a meal is based on the USDA thrifty meal plan. Special guest of the event was Wyoming’s First Lady Carol Mead. She has a new snack time recipe book called “Wyoming 9th Annual First Lady’s Family Night” which features a few of CNP’s recipes!

For more information contact Katlyn Thomas, University of Northern Colorado Dietetic Intern, or Mindy Meuli, University of Wyoming Extension SNAP-Ed and EFNEP Director.

Return to the full October issue.


Text2BHealthy program logo July 2013, Volume 1, Issue 2: Text2BHealthy

This article was written and submitted to SNAP-Ed Connection by Maryland's Food Supplement Nutrition Education program.

Text2BHealthy is a text message program targeting parents of elementary school students who are currently receiving classroom-based nutrition education. Face-to-face nutrition education is an effective tool in teaching children about fruits and vegetables, but programs often experience difficulty reaching parents. Text2BHealthy provides parents with “nutrition nudges” 2-3 times per week on nutrition-related school and community activities, grocery store specials, and physical activity ideas. Messages are targeted and focus on encouraging families to take action. The program includes an email alternative to text messages and Spanish messages in select schools.

Sample text messages:

        Some WGES students made fajitas during garden lessons this week. Look for the Harvest Fajitas recipe in your child's backpack - a tasty way to get more veggies!

        Zucchini & squash are on sale @ Giant. Chop into small pieces & cook in a frying pan with cooking spray. Add your favorite spice & serve!

Text2BHealthy began in January 2012 with 6 schools and 203 parents participating across Maryland. Pilot program focus group and survey data show that the vast majority of eligible parents had cell phones and unlimited texting plans. Among participants, 94% of parents read all text messages, 98% always or sometimes do something suggested in one of the texts and 84% of parents intended to enroll again the following year. During the 5-month pilot, 91% of participants were retained.

Text2BHealthy expanded in August 2012 to 11 schools. A total of 1283 parents have enrolled in the program with 239 receiving e-mail messages. The retention rate for the program is 89% through the first year.

Questions are periodically texted to participants to evaluate their behavior relevant to specific messages. Average response rate is about 20%. Data collection focuses on fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, grocery shopping and cooking, as well as cell phone use and preferences.

For more information contact Erin Braunscheidel or Lisa Lachenmayr.

Return to full July issue.


Logo for social marketing campaign "Food Hero" with website address: www.foodhero.org. April 2013, Volume 1, Issue 1: Food Hero Social Marketing Campaign

This article was written and submitted to SNAP-Ed Connection by Lauren Tobey, MS, RD and Elaine Schrumpf, MS of Oregon State University Extension.

Food Hero is a research based Spanish and English language multi-channel social marketing campaign developed by Oregon State University Extension and designed to inconspicuously increase consumption of vegetables and fruits within the targeted audience of SNAP-eligible Oregon moms in an empowering way. All aspects of the campaign are written and designed to be learner centered and actionable. The channels are a website, community programming kits, media, and a monthly message package which includes a social media platform.

Food Hero came about through Oregon SNAP bonus funds received in 2008 through Governor Ted Kulongoski’s health initiative after he experienced how difficult it was to live off the average Food Stamp budget at the time of $3 per day. A needs assessment was conducted through focus groups, phone surveys (n=2332) with SNAP participants and an extensive literature review. The following key results, helped focus the campaign design:

  • Moms want to find information about healthy food choices online (46.7%), at grocery stores (16%) and in magazines (12%).
  • Moms currently find cooking tips/ideas on web sites (28%) and from friends and family (25%).
  • Moms felt they knew how to prepare and eat produce, yet they reported intake below recommended levels.

FoodHero.org is multilingual and features recipes, actionable tips and tools, Food Hero Monthly, and connections to Food Hero social media sites. Food Hero was built from existing materials that were repackaged and rewritten to be current with emerging research on best practices for delivering health education.

On FoodHero.org all states can print off tasty recipes and actionable tips. Recipes have nutrition facts, professional photos, are well tested and follow strict nutritional criteria. Check out our most popular recipe (Chicken, Broccoli & Cheese Skillet Meal) and tip (Menu and Meal Planning). And be sure to follow Food Hero social media sites along with 800+ others!

Funding: Funding for Food Hero came from USDA Food and Nutrition Service SNAP-Ed plus some supplementary Oregon State University funds and Oregon SNAP funds.
Contact: Lauren.Tobey@oregonstate.edu. 541-737-1017.

Return to full issue.