The goal of Rethink Your Drink Nevada (RYD) is to promote healthy beverage choices and decrease the intake of sugary drinks among households with young, school-age children (6-12 years-old). In 2017, RYD started to work with grocery stores in low-income communities to promote choosing healthy drinks where families shop. The team distributed free recipes for low-cost, simple, and healthy drinks at in-store events.
Sugary drinks include a wide range of beverages such as soda, fruit-flavored drinks, sports and energy drinks, teas, and coffee. According to one report, sugary drinks were the second highest spending category among households enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), amounting to over $608.7 million in 2011. In addition, beverage companies spent over $1 billion to market sugary drinks in 2018. Black and Hispanic youth are the target audience. Daily sugary drink consumption causes health problems such as diabetes and obesity in children and adults.
In 2019, RYD began conducting in-store events at the beginning of each month at partner stores. The team passed out recipe cards, invited customers to sign up for the RYD Newsletter, and distributed other free items including RYD reusable bags and water bottles. This was a good opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of healthy drink choices and to call attention to the SNAP-Ed recipe card stands.
In a survey of customers who picked up a RYD recipe, those who had prepared a beverage gave an average satisfaction rating of 4.15 out of 5 (Using a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being “very satisfied”). A majority (79%) agreed/strongly agreed that the RYD recipes make healthy drinks more convenient and that the cards gave them new ideas for healthy drinks they can make at home (83%).
As of October 2020, RYD recruited 24 SNAP-approved grocery stores located in 8 counties throughout Northern Nevada. Each of the partnering stores uses a display stand and supplies to distribute free healthy drink recipe cards to their customers. The team places the displays near the produce section to encourage customers to purchase the fresh fruits and vegetables included in the recipes. Each display contains a poster inviting customers to take the free recipe cards. Stores with a high proportion of Spanish-speaking customers use posters in Spanish. Recipe cards are English and Spanish. Recipe ingredients include water or fat-free/low-fat milk along with fruits, vegetables, herbs, and/or spices. Each card includes the cost per serving.
RYD will continue to maintain displays and stock recipe cards in our current partner grocery stores. In the near future, we hope to reach new audiences by expanding partnerships to additional stores. In addition, the team is planning to conduct a survey of store managers to determine other feasible ways to promote healthy beverage choices in grocery stores.
SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework Indicators
ST1: Healthy Eating
For more information contact
Jamie Benedict, Ph.D., R.D.N., L.D.
Chair, Department of Nutrition
University of Nevada, Reno