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Part of the SNAP-Ed Strategies & Interventions Toolkit.*

Start Strong: Cooking, Feeding, and More is a hands-on culinary nutrition education curriculum designed to help family child care providers increase their knowledge and skills in providing healthy foods for children. Start Strong is made up of four 2-hour lessons. The lessons can be taught individually or in a series.

Lesson One - Ready, Set, Cook
Lesson Two - Savor the Flavor
Lesson Three - Exploring New Choices
Lesson Four - New Meal Ideas
Each lesson includes: Objectives, facilitated discussions, learning activities, cooking activities, supply lists, recipes, evaluation tools and participant materials.

The Start Strong: Cooking, Feeding, and More is a direct education intervention for child care providers that promotes policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change in child care settings.  The intervention is designed to help child care providers increase their knowledge and skills of providing healthy foods for children, increase their knowledge of Federal food programs (SNAP, WIC, CACFP, and School Meals), and increase their confidence in talking about Federal food programs with families who may be food insecure. Family child care providers participate in four culinary nutrition education trainings to increase the knowledge and skills needed to create a healthier food environment for young children at their child care businesses. Child care providers may care for children of low-income families, so in order to address potential food insecurity, each training includes information about a food resource such as SNAP, WIC, and School Meals. As a result of training, child care providers promote healthier eating at their child care businesses by making changes that result in providing healthier foods and a greater variety of vegetables at meal times. For successful implementation of PSE change, facilitated discussions are held as a space for child care providers to learn promising practices from each other.

University of Minnesota Extension
SNAP-Ed Toolkit with a bike in the center of a blue circle with the yellow Toolkit* Strategy Banner
Funding Source
Free Material
Cost ($)
SNAP-Ed Toolkit Classification
Evaluation Information

An evaluation study was done in the fall of 2019 to gather data from 12 family child care providers who attended the Start Strong trainings. The results indicated that the majority of participants increased their confidence in seven of the seven cooking and planning skill areas, including confidence using a chef’s knife, using cooking techniques to reduce salt, and planning menus. Furthermore, participants increased their understanding of food programs, such as WIC, SNAP, and Free and Reduced Priced School Meals, with the most gain in understanding of SNAP. Lastly, all participants indicated that they serve a greater variety of foods as a result of the training, and more than 50% of child care providers indicated that they serve healthier foods as a result of the training. 

Evaluation Framework Indicators
SNAP-Ed Connection Comments

Available for no cost but registration is required.

*SNAP-Ed Strategies & Interventions: An Obesity Prevention Toolkit for States is a compilation of interventions. The toolkit was developed by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, The Association of SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education Administrators (ASNNA), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Center for Training and Research Translation (Center TRT), and the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes for Health (NIH), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the USDA. It is designed and updated to help state SNAP-Ed administrative and implementing agencies identify evidence-based obesity prevention programs and policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) strategies and interventions to include in their SNAP-Ed plans.

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Reviewer Initials