Thumbs Up for Healthy Choices in Food Pantries (Thumbs Up) is a policy, systems, and environment (PSE) change intervention designed to improve the visibility and appeal of healthy choices for pantry users, leading to an increased selection of these healthy choices. Thumbs Up utilizes low-cost nudge strategies to make healthy choices easier in pantries. Prior to implementing Thumbs Up, educators evaluate the pantry’s readiness for change by conducting a baseline assessment using the Healthy Food Pantry Assessment Tool (HFPAT). Once the baseline is established, educators work with pantries to identify areas the pantry management is interested in improving. Educators then use nutrition criteria outlined in the toolkit to identify foods that are low in sodium, added sugar, and saturated fat. At the end of a pantry’s partnership with SNAP-Ed, or the end of the fiscal year, the HFPAT is used again to track changes made to improve the visibility and appeal of healthy items.
A modified version of the Healthy Food Pantry Assessment Tool (HFPAT) is used for the assessment of Thumbs Up and is available online in print and online formats. Permission was granted to make changes to the tool to reflect the specific implementation of the Thumbs Up program. HFPAT is used to track changes to the physical environment.