Pick a Better Snack Program
The Pick a Better Snack Program is a fruit and vegetable social marketing program that was started in Iowa. It includes simple messages with colorful fruit and vegetable graphics, and supports the USDA’s Team Nutrition. Venues for implementing the program include – extension agencies, grocery stores, schools, child-care centers and community and youth organizations. Key target populations are low-income children, ages two to twelve years old.
Fruit and vegetable consumption is promoted via recipes, tips and articles in parent newsletters, posters and point of sale materials in cafeterias, foodservice fruit and vegetable snack ideas, creative ideas to pack more fruit and vegetables into the lunch line, weekly fruit and vegetable tastings in the classroom, lesson plans that weave fruit and vegetable information into traditional core curriculum, fruit/vegetable fundraisers, partnering with parent-teacher organizations, etc.
Surveys conducted with elementary students showed a significant increase in recognition of the 5 A Day (now Fruits & Veggies—More MattersTM) and Pick a Better Snack logos, and improvement in attitudes toward fruit and vegetable snacks. Post-program evaluations have found that the weekly fruit and vegetable tastings, part of the program curriculum, are the most influential component of the program. Parent surveys are also conducted, regarding their awareness and understanding of the program and their child’s snacking habits.
The Arkansas 5 A Day Coalition, a partnership of organizations whose mission is to increase Arkansans’ consumption of fruits and vegetables, coordinated the implementation of this program in two elementary schools during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years. Using Food Stamp Nutrition Education funds, as well as private contributions, the Pick a Better Snack Program has been implemented in more than twenty schools throughout the State. The program has been well received by both teachers and students.
The Healthy Arkansas Restaurant Award is a voluntary program that provides public recognition to restaurants that meet certain health criteria. Restaurants self-apply and self-report through a questionnaire-type application. Criteria considered include smoke-free status of facility, labeling of food items, and number and types of healthy nutrition choices that are offered. Applications must be completed by a designee of the restaurant. Menus, inserts or photo of menu board with nutrient information must be submitted with the application to confirm the information.