Pinellas County Family Nutrition Program-nutrition, food, gardening and a whole lot more!

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Whether it’s teaching kids about healthy foods in the classroom, brushing up on culinary skills, learning about where foods come from or the importance of buying local, the UF/IFAS Family Nutrition Program (FNP) in Pinellas County has a program to help.

The goal of FNP is to reduce the risk of chronic disease, health complications, and food borne illness and increase food security among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Eligible Pinellas County residents by providing programs about making healthful food choices, balancing food and physical activity, keeping food safe to eat, and food shopping on a budget. Here is just a sample of programs we offer.

Youth Understanding MyPlate (YUM)
This 6 six week curriculum teaches children in elementary schools about nutrition using the “my plate” symbol. Each week, children learn about one of the food groups on the plate through stories, songs, games and other hands-on activities. Parent newsletters explaining what children learned are provided weekly and teachers receive handouts they use to provide reinforcement activities for each lesson.

Cooking Matters
Cooking Matters hands-on courses teach families the skills they need to be self-sufficient in the kitchen. Families learn how to prepare and shop sensibly for healthy meals on a limited budget. Courses meet for two hours, once a week for six weeks and are taught by a trained nutrition educator. Lessons cover meal preparation, grocery shopping, food budgeting and nutrition. Participants practice fundamental food skills, including proper knife techniques, reading ingredient labels, and making a healthy meal for a family of four on a $10 budget. Participants take home a bag of groceries after each class so they can practice the recipes taught that day. Depending on the course, participants are either adults with children or families with school aged children receiving and/or eligible for SNAP benefits. Locations where space is available to do hands-on food preparation include neighborhood family centers, faith based organizations, community and recreations centers.

Xtreme Cuisine
This 6 week program is designed to encourage 7-13 year old young children and teens to eat healthier meals and snacks through hands-on cooking experiences using Florida fruits and vegetables. Fruitberry Parfaits, Salad of the Tropics and Pita Perfect are just a few of the mouthwatering recipes that our young chefs make.

For more information about the Florida Family Nutrition Program click on http://fycs.ifas.ufl.edu/Extension/HNFS/FNP/
Contact Nan Jensen at 727-582-2104 or njensen@pinellascounty.org to find out how you or your organization can get involved here in Pinellas County.