Food Smarts is an interactive, learner-centered curriculum choice for nutrition educators bringing programs to low-income audiences throughout the United States.
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. Included Evaluation Tools are based on the FFY2017 USDA Evaluation Framework. Food Smarts has been used extensively in SNAP-Ed (USDA-funded) programs, as well as in a wide variety of settings including housing communities, shelters, medical clinics, family resource centers, and food distribution sites.
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. More specifics on curriculum modification can be found in the corresponding instructor guides. 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.