Web Videos and Nutrition Classes Help Families Eat Healthy on a Budget
A new video released by Iowa State University Extension & Outreach demonstrates that it is possible for families to eat healthy on a budget. In the video, mothers Andrea and Shelly explain how a series of eight nutrition classes provided them with ideas and concrete support in their efforts to improve their families’ diets without breaking the bank. In 2013, ISU Extension & Outreach helped more than 80% of the participants in these classes improve their nutrition and make their food budgets go farther through the EFNEP and SNAP-Ed programs.
In addition to the in-person classes, ISU Extension & Outreach provides nutrition education through the Spend Smart, Eat Smart website, which includes a section of educational videos demonstrating shopping tips, food preparation, food safety and storage practices, and easy recipes for nutritious and budget-friendly meals.
ISU Extension relies on community partners to refer families to the classes and to share the web videos with people in their networks. ISU is interested in ideas for additional web-content and are eager to work more closely with food banks and food pantries in Iowa.
Community partners include service providers such as food pantries and WIC clinics, as well as others who are interested in healthier families in their communities. For example, Andrea was recruited through the WIC program and Shelly joined after hearing about the program through her apartment complex.
An especially innovative partnership involved an agency in Linn County which partnered with Extension to help their clients to eat better and get more exercise. Children receiving care at the office wanted to play soccer, but the fees to join soccer leagues were a barrier for their families. The agency arranged to cover league fees for children whose guardians joined the nutrition education program. Combining nutrition education classes for parents with soccer for kids provided the right mix of healthy eating and physical activity, helping these families become healthier.
For more information, or to suggest ideas for web-content or partnerships, please contact Christine Hradek at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-294-3554.
Iowa Family Featured in National Geographic
As part of their “Food Features” series, the latest edition of National Geographic magazine features the story of an Iowa family who is working to escape from hunger in Osage in Mitchell County. Read their story for insight into the root causes of hunger in Iowa and the United States. The Northeast Iowa Food Bank is working to alleviate hunger in 16 counties, including Mitchell County. Their Executive Director, Barbara Prather weighs in on the coverage: “Hunger affects people no matter where you live. In rural communities it is often harder to get to grocery stores because they aren’t in every town. Families on limited incomes sometimes have to travel far to get food, spending more resources on gas. We appreciate National Geographic highlighting hunger in Iowa.”
For more information on the work of the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, please contact Barbara Prather at email@example.com or 319-235-0507.