The goal of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) initiative is to improve the likelihood that persons eligible for SNAP will make healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose physically active lifestyles consistent with the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015). SNAP-Ed is a federal program funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). The funding goes to states to provide nutrition education messages that focus on three main behavioral outcomes:
- Making half your plate fruits and vegetables, at least half your grains whole grains, and moving to fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
- Increasing physical activity and reducing time spent in sedentary behaviors as part of a healthy lifestyle.
- Maintaining an appropriate calorie balance during each stage of life — childhood, adolescence, adulthood, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and older age.
UNE was awarded a grant from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to act as the implementing agency for the SNAP-Ed grant in Maine. The UNE model contracts with local community coalitions to provide public health, nutrition, physical activity, obesity and chronic disease prevention expertise statewide. Along with numerous partners statewide, Maine SNAP-Ed delivers cost-effective nutrition and obesity prevention education services to low-income families. Nutrition education services are provided in settings that are most accessible to individuals eligible for SNAP including eligible schools, food pantries, child care settings, public health centers, public housing sites, grocery stores and farmers markets.