What is SNAP Education (SNAP-Ed)?

SNAP Ed is a free, federally-funded nutrition education program of the USDA and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), helping low-income households to eat healthier and prevent obesity while saving beneficiaries money on their grocery costs.

As a beneficiary of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), low-income households can obtain important information about grocery shopping, planning meals and eating healthy foods on a budget.

As part of SNAP Education, households can also participate in free cooking classes, obtain healthy, affordable recipes for feeding their families, and learn more about eating nutritiously while receiving food stamp payments. Food stamp recipients learn how to stretch their grocery dollars, cut costs, and prepare budget-friendly meals at home. While the SNAP Ed Program helps food stamp beneficiaries throughout the U.S., specific program names and activities may vary by state. To learn more about these programs, review the sections below.

What is SNAP Ed?

The SNAP Education program is free to all food stamp beneficiaries in the U.S., helping low-income households to make healthier decisions while saving money on grocery bills at the same time. Funded through the Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Grant Program under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the program helps to educate families about the importance of following a healthy diet and lifestyle, limiting excessive amounts of sugars, fats and sodium, and incorporating healthier foods and beverages into their diets. Additionally, SNAP Education helps to:

  • Encourage physical activity and healthy eating patterns.
  • Prevent or postpone the onset of disease.
  • Assist households in planning and preparing affordable meals.
  • Support local farmers’ markets.
  • Educate families on the importance of practicing proper food safety.
  • Encourage gardening and growing food at home.

Are SNAP Education Programs available in all states?

While SNAP-Ed Programs are available throughout the U.S., each participating Stacy Agency works with implementing organizations such as universities, food banks, health departments, and other agencies to develop a statewide plan with activities and educational opportunities for food stamp recipients.

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For instance, California’s programs are known as SNAP-Ed Champions for Change and the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, while New Mexico’s program is known as Ideas for Cooking and Nutrition (ICAN). In Texas, the program is known as Good Food, Good Move, while Florida, Virginia and North Dakota’s programs are known as the Family Nutrition Program. In New York, the program is known as Eat Smart New York (ESNY), while the state of Montana oversees the Buy Eat Live Better Program.

How can SNAP Education help food stamp beneficiaries?

SNAP-Ed programs provide food stamp recipients with the tools and information they need to plan, shop for, and prepare nutritious meals for their households. For instance, these programs teach SNAP beneficiaries how to:

  • Plan meals and shop on a budget. As part of the program, SNAP beneficiaries learn how to plan affordable meals, create a budget, read food labels, and compare prices when shopping for groceries.
  • Eat healthier foods. SNAP Ed encourages healthy eating, helping food stamp beneficiaries to fill their plates with fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and calcium. Additionally, the program works to prevent lead poisoning and reduce exposure to dangerous substances.
  • Cook meals for their households. Many local SNAP Ed programs provide food stamp recipients with cooking tips, food demonstrations, make-ahead dinner ideas and recipes for microwaveable meals. Additionally, many programs are available to assist smaller households who wish to prepare meals for just one or two people.
  • Use safe food practices. SNAP Education programs teach low-income households about the importance of practicing food safety, including proper hand washing, cooking basics, and meal preparation techniques. Additionally, these programs focus on disaster recovery and the handling of perishable food and beverage items after a power outage or natural disaster.
  • Stay physically fit and active. To prevent obesity and the onset of disease, these programs focus on the importance of physical activity. For instance, these programs provide households with ideas for free indoor and outdoor activities and tips for staying physically fit as a family.
  • Save money by growing their own food. The SNAP Ed Program provides households with the knowledge and skills they need to grow their own fruits and vegetables at home. Since SNAP beneficiaries may use their monthly benefits to purchase food-producing plants and seeds, gardening can be an affordable way to consume more fruits and vegetables.
  • Use SNAP benefits at farmers markets. Since Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards are accepted at many farmers markets throughout the U.S., these programs support local farmers while also helping families to access affordable fruits and vegetables.

Where can I find information about my state’s SNAP-Ed program?

While SNAP Ed programs vary throughout the U.S., food stamp beneficiaries can learn more about the different types of educational activities in their area by visiting the website of their State Agency. Alternately, they may contact the Agency by telephone if they wish to learn more about the program. To find out which State Agencies oversee these programs throughout the U.S., refer to the chart below.

 

State State Agency State State Agency State State Agency
AL Department of Human Resources KY Cabinet for Health and Family Services OK Department of Human Services
AK Department of Health and Social Services LA Department of Children and Family Services OR Department of Human Services
AZ Arizona Nutrition Network MA Department of Health and Human Services OH Department of Job and Family Services
AR Department of Human Service MD Department of Human Services PA Department of Human Services
CA Department of Social Services ME Department of Transitional Assistance PR Department of Family Affairs
CO Department of Human Services MI Department of Human Services RI Department of Human Services
CT Department of Social Services MN Department of Human Services SC Department of Social Services
DE Department of Health & Social Services MS Department of Human Services SD Department of Social Services
DC Economic Security Administration MO Department of Social Services TN Department of Human Services
FL Department of Children and Families MT Department of Public Health & Human Services TX Health and Human Services Commission
GA Department of Human Resources NE Department of Health and Human Services UT Department of Workforce Services
GU Department of Public Health and Social Services NV Department of Health and Human Services VT Department for Children and Families
HI Department of Human Services NH Department of Health and Human Services VI Department of Human Services
ID Department of Health and Welfare NJ Department of Human Services VA Department of Social Services
IL Department of Human Services NM Human Services Department WA Department of Social and Health Services
IN Family and Social Services Administration/ Division of Family Resources NY Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance WV Department of Health and Human Resources
IA Department of Human Services NC Division of Social Services WI Department of Health Services
KS Department for Children and Families ND Department of Human Services WY Department of Family Services

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