Share our Strength’s Cooking Matters at the Store (CMATS) program is teaching families how to stretch resources where it really matters-- the grocery store! Share our Strength's Cooking Matters is a SNAP-Ed Implementing Agency. During a 1-hour tour, CMATS educators cover a variety of tips, tricks, and ideas for purchasing nutritious food on a budget. Educators encourage participants to share their ideas about grocery shopping and eating healthy. During this facilitated dialog, participants also learn about saving money with unit pricing and being thoughtful about how to eat from each food group.
5 weeks after a tour:
- 89% of CMATS tour participants report saving money on groceries
- 76% of participants report buying more fruits and vegetables.
Since launching CMATS in 2010:
- 74% families reported high confidence in their ability to make their food purchases go farther
- 72% of families reported high confidence in their ability to get the most produce for their money
CMATS tours are an essential part of Cooking Matters programming. While walking through a grocery store, participants compare packaging and nutrition facts labels of various products. They also practice using the unit price in order to find the best deals. Learning these skills help parents and caretakers identify whole grains, and product options with lower sodium and sugar content. Participants are encouraged to ask questions and share their personal successes and struggles with trying to cook healthy and affordable meals for their kids.
Tours are designed to eliminate barriers for participants. For example, by emphasizing the importance of using all forms of produce – fresh, frozen, and canned – participants can find the best nutritional and monetary value by buying what is in season or on sale. Knowing the pros and cons of what is available empowers participants to make the best possible choices while grocery shopping.
This article was submitted by Share our Strength's Cooking Matters, a SNAP-Ed Implementing Agency. For more information, contact Christina Miller.