We work with about 2,000 pregnant teens and families with young children each year. Families and youth strengthen communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills through the lessons. These life skills help participants obtain employment and nurture family relationships.

What participants have said about the nutrition education program ...
  • “I never realized how much fun it could be to feed my family, how good I feel when I can stretch our food dollar throughout the month and how rewarding it is to know that I can help my son grow strong by buying the right kinds of foods.”
  • “I learned what I eat makes a difference in both my health and that of my unborn baby. Now I select the foods that are healthy for both of us.”
  • “I save time and money by planning ahead and prioritizing my hectic schedule. My family is eating balanced, nutritional meals on a regular schedule and I feel more relaxed and in control.”


EFNEP & FNP: Nutrition Education Programs for Iowa Families from Iowa State University Extension on Vimeo.


Program staff meet with participants one-on-one and in small groups. The lessons include activities, worksheets, games, and cooking. There are eight core lessons designed to teach the main messages of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and MyPlate. There are two additional lessons on having a healthy pregnancy and feeding children.

Each lesson includes:

  • Lesson enhancements - tools to help participants make the behavior changes suggested in the lesson
  • Worksheets and handouts - reviews the key points of the lesson
  • Physical activity - stretches, exercises, and activities
  • Food activity - preparation, demonstration, or tasting, in addition to free recipes


Eating Smart • Being Active is the curriculum used by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach nutrition programs. The lessons and goals focus on:

Get Moving - Families enjoy being active.
- Participants accurately complete the required entry forms.
Plan, Shop, $ave - Families plan and shop for meals and snacks that are healthy and within their budget.
Fruits and Veggies: Half Your Plate - Families increase the amount of vegetables and fruits they eat every day.
- Families have more than one kind of vegetable and one kind of fruit every day.
Make Half Your Grains Whole - Families choose at least half of their grains as whole grains.

Build Strong Bones 

- Families get enough calcium from low-fat or non-fat dairy foods or other foods high in calcium.
Go Lean with Protein - Families have lean protein foods and keep all food safe to eat.
Make a Change - Families limit foods high in fat, sugar, and salt.
Celebrate! Eat Smart & Be Active

- Participants discuss feeding children and celebrate new knowledge and skills to make healthy food and activity choices.
- Participants accurately complete the required exit forms.

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