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Kiwanians Learn About Smart Lunch Rooms

During Thursday’s meeting, the Carmi Kiwanis Club heard from Pam Haywood and Ashely Hoffman with University of Illinois Extension about SNAP Education and the Smart Lunch Room Program.

Haywood told the club that the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Education program focuses their nutrition education efforts to schools, child and youth care centers, food distribution centers, and farmers markets. They go into classrooms in grades Pre-K – 4 and present information to help children make healthy choices. They also offer the Illinois Junior Chef Program in the summer. In 2015, U of I Extension had over 900000 contacts through the SNAP Ed programming.

Hoffman told the club about the Smart Lunch Program, which helps schools make low or no cost changes to their lunchrooms. They do things like renaming foods, such as calling carrots a fun name like “x-ray vision carrots.” In one school, after the renaming, students consumed 30% more carrots.

In addition to renaming foods, they help improve visibility of healthier food choices. They also may switch out an aluminum pan holding fresh fruit to colorful bowls. Taste testing foods may also be a part of the program.

Those interested in SNAP Ed or the Smarter Lunch Program may contact the U of I Extension Office at 618-382-2662.