Our Programs

The Virginia Family Nutrition Program works with many audiences and partners to best meet the needs of each unique community. From the rural areas of Appalachia to populated cities like Richmond, Arlington and Virginia Beach, we bring nutrition education and healthy living strategies to Virginians who want to make healthy shifts in their lives.


Adult Programs

Eating Smart, Being Active

Eating Smart, Being Active (ESBA) is the primary curriculum for adult programs that we use throughout the state. ESBA lessons encourage adults to make healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices. The program is discussion-based, includes hands-on activities like cooking and meal planning, and offers practical advice for making healthy behavior changes. Created by Colorado State University’s Cooperative Extension, adults in Virginia can learn how to make healthy changes for themselves and their families thanks to this curriculum.

Youth Programs

Growing Healthy Habits

Growing Healthy Habits is a curriculum developed by the University of Maryland’s Cooperative Extension. This curriculum teaches 3rd through 5th graders the concepts of nutrition through gardening and science.

Organwise Guys

We use OrganWise Guys to empower Virginia kids to eat smart. OrganWise Guys is a fun, interactive, evidence-based program for grades K-2. Using puppets of different internal organs, kids learn about how what we eat and how we move affect our bodies, empowering kids to be “smart from the inside out.” Teachers love the OrganWise Guys curriculum because it adheres to the Virginia Standards of Learning while helping to reduce childhood obesity. The curriculum is specifically designed for professionals whose goals are to improve the health status of children, families and communities. Children learn from characters like Hardy Heart and Calci M. Bone about how different foods make their bodies stronger.

Literacy, Eating, Activity for Preschoolers (LEAP)

Literacy, Eating, Activity for Preschoolers (LEAP) is a curriculum for preschoolers developed by the University of Kentucky’s Cooperative Extension. LEAP offers 10 lessons on food and nutrition using a storybook-style approach.


Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids

Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids, created by Virginia Cooperative Extension, teaches children in grades 3-7 about healthy lifestyle choices. Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids focuses on important topics for all children, regardless of weight. The curriculum teaches kids the importance of nutrition and MyPlate, how to enjoy food in moderation by choosing appropriate portion sizes, making healthy snack and beverage choices, and learning the importance of being active.  

Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness

Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness is a curriculum for 3rd through 6th graders designed to encourage students to replace sweetened drinks with low-fat milk and water, eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, eat fewer high-fat and high-sugar foods, and be more active. 

Teen Cuisine

Teen Cuisine is a hands-on cooking program created by the Virginia Family Nutrition Program that teaches students in grades 8-12 important life skills that will stay with them as they grow into adults. Lessons cover how to choose healthy foods and prevent foodborne illness. With a cooking demonstration in each lesson, students learn by doing. Students learn the basics of MyPlate, importance of handwashing, basic knife safety, how to read food labels and choose healthy foods, how to make smart food choices when eating out, the health effects of different fats, how to plan meals and how to practice food safety.


Community Programs

Shop Smart, Eat Smart – Healthy Retail Initiative

shop smart eat smart virginiaRetailers may not always supply enough healthy foods for their shoppers. Be empowered to ask for healthier items at your local store. The Family Nutrition Program works with local stores to help them stock more healthy items and ensure that they comply with the requirements to remain SNAP-eligible.


Virginia Farmers Market Cooking Demonstrations

Our SNAP-Ed Agents, Program Assistants, volunteers and interns visit local farmers markets to educate market-goers about the importance of making a shopping list, looking for produce that is in-season to save money, and how to prepare farmers market produce. They use cooking demonstrations to show how foods can be prepared and offer samples to visitors. You can also take the recipe home with you! They can also give you information about using SNAP/EBT at the farmers market.

Community Volunteer Projects

The Virginia Family Nutrition Program relies on the partnership of many community organizations to meet the needs of all Virginians. Through our partnerships with teachers, school nurses, librarians, parents, chefs, after-school program staff, and school nutrition staff, state agencies and community organizations, we are able to help more Virginians.