Eating healthy foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, contributes to overall health and wellbeing. Eating healthy is associated with decreased blood pressure and blood sugar. For women who are pregnant, eating healthy can reduce the risk of poor maternal and infant health outcomes such as low birth weight and premature birth. For preconception women, eating healthy can help to ensure a healthy pregnancy. For parents, being a good role model helps kids to grow up with healthy behaviors. A healthy food environment can support individuals to make healthy choices.
Overview Webinar: Supporting Healthy Eating: Strategies for Healthy Start Programs (Presented live 10/17/17)
Find resources and strategies for your program to support participants and staff to eat healthy.
Working with participants?
Click the arrows below for resources to participants in eating healthy across the perinatal periods.All Participants
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides a monthly supplement for purchasing nutritious food.
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides access to healthy foods for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women
- Healthy eating tip sheets on a range of topics such as meal planning, adding vegetables to the day, and healthy snacks. Available in English and Spanish. (ChooseMyPlate.gov)
- Cooking Matters helps families to shop for and cook healthy meals on a budget. The Meeting Your MyPlate Goals on a Budget guide provides sample recipes and concrete ideas for healthy, affordable meals.
- Videos on shopping healthy, aisle by aisle (Eat Smart Move More)
- Healthy recipes for Hispanic/Latino meals (CDC)
- Eating Healthy During Pregnancy provides information about what and how much pregnant women should eat, as well as a sample menu. (March of Dimes)
- Foods to Avoid or Limit During Pregnancy and managing Cravings During Pregnancy (March of Dimes)
- Information about Prenatal Vitamins (March of Dimes)
- Tips for Keeping Breastmilk Safe and Healthy (March of Dimes)
- Kids who help out in the kitchen are more likely to try healthy foods. Check out these tip sheets (English; Spanish) and this video for encouraging kids to help in the kitchen
Looking for ideas for your program?
Click the arrows below for resources for your program to support healthy eating.Changes to Your Healthy Start Program Setting
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides a monthly supplement for purchasing nutritious food.Make The Pledge to offer healthy foods at meetings and events for participants. For example: make sure water and fruit/vegetables are available whenever food is served. Use these 9 Healthy Meeting Hacks.
- Make at least 50% of vending machine items healthy, and put healthy items at eye level. (Sample Vending Machine layout)
- Provide space for employees to store and prepare food brought from home.
- Identify healthier food and beverages with a symbol (such as a heart)
- For more on these and other ideas, see page 19-20 of CDC Worksite Health Scorecard
- Most Cooperative Extension programs offer health education classes/workshops. Check with your local program.
- Many YMCAs offer classes about healthy eating. Check with your local program.
- Cooking Matters provides 6-week courses in Massachusetts and other programming in English and Spanish.
Want to tap into community efforts?
Click the arrows below for resources to support healthy eating initiatives in your community.Community Resources
- Use the Healthy Food Access Portal to find where to purchase healthy foods (such as farmers markets and grocery stores). Many farmers markets now accept SNAP benefits.
- Support initiatives like Double Up Food Bucks which is active in 18 states where SNAP recipients stretch their benefit dollars to twice the initial value when they purchase local foods.
- Support local healthy retail efforts like helping corner stores offer healthy foods and limiting unhealthy snacks in grocery check out aisles among others.
- Support Healthy Food Access policy efforts that are going on in your state.