Food Smarts Kids curriculum is designed primarily for elementary and middle school-aged youth. This curriculum can also used with high school students, but facilitators will need to choose age-appropriate activities for their group. This curriculum has been approved for use by California’s CalFresh Healthy Living (SNAP-Ed) program. Evaluation tools were tested with 4th and 5th grade students.
The curriculum is intentionally flexible; care is taken to ensure educators retain control over the type of activity used to meet the stated outcomes. For example, a large, outgoing group might benefit more from a decentralized activity where learning is happening in pairs or trios whereas a smaller group might glean more from a facilitated group discussion. Further, the same activity can be used to achieve different outcomes. Successful Food Smarts facilitators focus primarily on participant engagement and build confidence and intention to put healthy behaviors into practice.
Lesson plans of various lengths have been used and evaluated over the years, demonstrating the ability of Food Smarts to meet the programming needs of a wide variety of situations. Ideally, a recipe is prepared during each lesson, although several lesson plans can be adapted for classes taught without the recipe. When possible, we ask educators to pair Food Smarts with our online recipe website, EatFresh.org. Food Smarts evaluations consistently show statistically significant changes in consumption of fruits and vegetables as well as sugary beverages. For more information about evaluation methods and indicators, please contact Leah’s Pantry.