Since 1969, The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) has helped Shelby County families learn new ways to prepare healthy foods for their families, while keeping it safe, simple and low cost.
The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) was developed in the 1960’s after Americans discovered a great need to provide nutrition education program to low income families. Shelby County is home to one of the largest Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Programs (EFNEP) in the state of Tennessee. Working through the University of Tennessee Extension, Nutrition Educators utilize USDA curricula teaching 6-12 fun filled classes focusing on nutrition education, managing food dollars and food safety to individuals, community groups, in-school youth groups and summer programs. During these classes participants receive hands education through activities, cooking demonstrations, and recipes they can use with their families.
Eat SMART is a curriculum used to teach parents of young children how to choose and prepare healthy, tasty meals on a budget. Participants attend six hands on workshops where they receive information in nutrition, basic cooking skills, food safety, physical activity and spending food dollars wisely. After completing six lessons, participants receive a certificate of completions, EFNEP cookbook, measuring cups, refrigerator and cooking thermometer and measuring spoons. By completing a pre and post survey and a diet summary, participants are able to see the progress they have made while participating in EFNEP.
Through a series of hands-on group or individual sessions, SMART Choices can teach pregnant and/or new parents how to make the healthiest choices for their bodies and their babies. Some lessons include nutrition during pregnancy, community resources, healthy snacking, breastfeeding, when to introduce solid foods, nutrition for older babies and toddlers, shopping on a budget and food safety.
The youth component of EFNEP is called 4-H EFNEP. The program teach youth how to make healthier choices through in-school, afterschool and summer programming.
Is EFNEP Making A Difference?
In 2010, over 600 Shelby County adults participated and graduated from EFNEP and over 3000 youth participated in various EFNEP activities. Results from the EFNEP Survey and 24hour recall show that:
- 60% of participants demonstrated acceptable practices of food resource management at exiting the program compared to 23% at entering the program.
- 51% of participants demonstrated acceptable nutrition practices at exiting the program compared to 17% at entering the program.
- 63% of participants demonstrated acceptable food safety practices at exiting the program compared to 54% at entering the program.
Through the years, EFNEP has proven to be a program with significant impacts at a low cost to taxpayers. A cost-benefit analysis of EFNEP in Tennessee showed that for every dollar spent to implement the program, $2.48 is saved on food expenditures. This can reduce the need for emergency food assistance and save money for other necessities.
For more information on the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program in Shelby County, contact Area Extension Specialist
Nutrition Education Program (NEP)