SNAP-Ed in Washington

SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education) is a federal grant program supporting the health and food security of people who receive SNAP food assistance benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Throughout Washington State, SNAP is also referred to as Basic Foods or Food Stamps. The population of focus for the SNAP-Ed program are those who are receiving or are eligible to receive Basic Food (Food Stamps) benefits, which means having a household income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) receives federal funds from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for SNAP and SNAP-Ed. Currently, DSHS partners with three organizations in Washington to provide SNAP-Ed in five different regions throughout Washington. One of the three organizations is Washington State Department of Health (DOH).

SNAP-Ed Goals

  • Improve the likelihood that people eligible for SNAP (Basic Food) will make healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose physically active lifestyles that follow current recommendations from the USDA and,
  • Make the healthy choice the easy choice where people live, work, play, learn, shop, and worship.

Core SNAP-Ed Topics

Four main topics addressed in the SNAP-Ed program are:

  • Healthy Living: Spend more time being active and adopt healthy eating habits using national nutrition recommendations, which includes increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains eaten and decreasing the amount of sodium and added sugars.
  • Healthy Shopping: Improve the household food budget by using smart shopping tips and menu planning to purchase and prepare healthy meals and snacks.
  • Food Security: Have enough quality food to eat throughout a month without seeking emergency food assistance.
  • Food Safety: Learn to safely handle, prepare, and store food.

Core SNAP-Ed Program Elements

SNAP-Ed uses three key program elements to support healthy lifestyle choices:

Nutrition education

SNAP-Ed provides nutrition education to individuals and groups of youth and adults, using approved SNAP-Ed educational materials in places where people eat, live, learn, play, work, and shop like parks, churches, community centers, schools, farmers markets, and food pantries. SNAP-Ed nutrition education classes can also enhance existing nutrition education and public health nutrition efforts in their community.

Health promotion

SNAP-Ed promotes healthy eating and physical activity in places where people eat, live, learn, play, work, and shop, such as healthy cooking demonstrations in food pantries, providing health education tables at community events, school parent nights and health fairs, sending meal planning and recipe newsletters to parents of students in a nutrition class, or putting up posters that show the benefits of walking in sites where SNAP customers live or work. SNAP-Ed health promotion supports the progress of an intervention's physical activity and nutrition goals and priorities and shares the successes of SNAP-Ed efforts in the community.

Policy, systems, and environmental strategies

SNAP-Ed organizations partner with their community to plan policy, systems, and environmental changes (PSE) changes that create opportunities for and remove barriers to healthy eating and active living in places where people eat, live, learn, play, work, and shop. SNAP-Ed facilitates PSE changes that encourage long-lasting change to nutrition and physical activity for people with low incomes and these changes work to create health equity. For more examples of policy, systems, and environmental strategies, please visit the Creating Healthy Local Places SNAP-Ed PSE Interactive Map.

Learn more about SNAP-Ed in Washington

To learn more about the SNAP-Ed national program and SNAP-Ed in Washington, you can visit the websites below: