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Nudging to Health workshop gets good 'grades' from participants

By Kelly Kunkel, Extension educator in health and nutrition

A little more than a year after it was rolled out, the Nudging to Health: Promoting Healthy Choices at Your Food Shelf food shelf partner education workshop is getting good reviews from participants. One was so impressed, she said, “The nutrition aspects were excellent. I learned things after 50 years of cooking.”

family picking up food from a food shelf

A team of University of Minnesota Extension health and nutrition and SNAP-Ed educators (the “food shelf team”) launched the Nudging to Health workshop in August 2016. The class is one of three developed to assist food shelf staff and volunteers in achieving better outcomes for their clients.

To date, there have been 22 Nudging to Health workshops conducted throughout Minnesota, with 233 staff and volunteers trained. They represented food shelves from Hibbing in northeastern Minnesota to St. James in the south central part of the state. Classes are taught by SNAP-Ed educators with the Extension Center for Family Development.

Good feedback

So, what does the evaluation data show? Participants rated both the quality of instruction and the class content highly. More than 98 percent of participants agreed with survey statements saying instructors were well-prepared and answered questions clearly, and more than 97 percent agreed that instructors held their attention and presented information that would help them.

In feedback about the content of training, more than 97 percent agreed with statements saying the things they learned were useful and that they felt confident about nudging clients at their food shelf as a result. More than 98 percent agreed with a statement saying they were “eager” to nudge clients to healthy eating after taking the training. Finally, more than 97 percent agreed that they would recommend this training to other food shelf staff and volunteers.

A number of participants commented on strengths of the training. One said the workshop was “precise and organized.” Another appreciated “opportunities to discuss [and] practical examples.” A third liked the chance to “share experiences.”

Nudging to Health workshops continue this year. Agencies may partner with a SNAP-Ed educator to offer the workshop to local food shelf staff and volunteers or download online resources to conduct their own training.

Work continues

The food shelf team also continues to work with FD’s Communications and Educational Resource Development Team to develop other training and promotional materials for food shelf staff and volunteers. One example is ready-to-use text messages offering tips for healthy eating that food shelves can send to clients.

In addition, health and nutrition educators continue to partner with food shelves across the state on the SuperShelf project. This effort aims to transform community food shelves in order to create welcoming, respectful environments for clients to access healthy foods. To learn more about the SuperShelf project, as well as other food shelf-related initiatives, visit the Building Better Food Shelves page of the Family website. (Click on the Healthy Food Shelf Transformations link to learn more about SuperShelf.)
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