The Expanded Food and Nutrition Program, or EFNEP, is a program that assists low-income families and youth to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors necessary to select nutritionally sound diets.
The program promotes:
- Improved diets and nutritional welfare for the whole family
- Increased nutrition knowledge
- Improved practices in food preparation, storage and safety
- Increased ability to manage food budgets
- Optimal use of related resources such as SNAP (food stamp) and WIC programs
EFNEP reaches out to low-income adults who are responsible for planning and preparing the family's food, especially expectant mothers and those with young children. The program also addresses the nutritional needs of youth through the K-12 classroom setting and extracurricular programs.
Program delivery is through Cooperative Extension Service paraprofessinals teaching in a variety of settings, which can include lessons at home, correspondence and group settings. Participants are recruited and referred by word of mouth, flyers and inter-agency cooperation.
Basic lessons include:
- USDA MyPyramid
- Dietary Guidelines
- Menu Planning and Shopping
- Food Safety
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Heart Healthy Eating
- Food Budgeting
- Preschool Children- Healthy Eating
- Nutrition During Pregnancy
- Feeding Infants
Participants graduate from the program with practical skills in cooking, shopping, budgeting and food, combined with knowledge of nutrition principles and the benefits of a healthy diet.
Many youth are reached in the classroom through partnerships with local school districts. Other successful partnerships include youth groups such as 4-H, Boy Scouts, Campfire, church groups, Girl Scouts, Girls and Boys Clubs and Head Start.
The Cooperative Extension Service and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) provide EFNEP with research-based educational resources that reflect USDA recommendations and current knowledge on nutrient requirements and other related information. All eligible persons shall have equal access to the benefits of the program without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or handicap. Funding for EFNEP in Alaska is administered through the Cooperative Extension Service.