Eating Smart • Being Active is an evidence-based, healthy eating and active living curriculum originally written in 2005, updated in 2010, thoroughly revised in 2017, and updated again in 2023. The curriculum is designed to be taught by paraprofessionals to limited resource adult learners. Curriculum content is based on the latest research findings from the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate. The 9 lessons, each 90 to 120 minutes in length, are designed to be taught in sequential order, building on previous lesson content. The authors of Eating Smart • Being Active utilized the Socio-ecological Model, the Social Cognitive Theory and Adult Learning principles when developing the curriculum. Activities include dialogue-based learning and hands-on activities. New information sections, or the lecture portion of each lesson, are short and informative. Kinesthetic activities help participants engage in the learning process, increasing their retention of the new information and skills, and the likelihood of positive behavior change. Lesson content includes physical activity, nutrition, healthy lifestyle choices, food preparation (cooking skill development), food safety, and food resource management.
Although the curriculum can be used in many settings, it was developed to be used by paraprofessional educators to teach adults either one-on-one or in small group classes (2-12 people). Groups of these sizes allow maximum interaction (and therefore learning) among participants.
The Lesson Titles and Focus
- Welcome to Eating Smart • Being Active (overview of lesson series; relationship building between educator and participants)
- Get Moving! (physical activity is part of a healthy lifestyle)
- Plan, Shop, $ave (how to stretch your food dollars)
- Fruits & Veggies: Half Your Plate (how to increase amount and variety of fruits and vegetables)
- Make Half Your Grains Whole (identify whole grain foods and why whole grains are beneficial)
- Build Strong Bones (calcium rich foods and weight bearing activity help build strong bones)
- Vary your Protein Routine (choosing lean sources of protein and how to keep food safe)
- Small Changes Matter (choosing foods low in fat, sugar, and salt)
- Celebrate! Eat Smart and Be Active (review of key concepts, celebrate what we’ve learned and how to involve family in good food choices)
The curriculum also contains three maternal and infant nutrition lessons as a supplement to the core nine lessons:
- Eating Smart and Being Active During Pregnancy
- The pregnancy lesson is designed to be taught early in pregnancy and covers topics about seeing a healthcare provider regularly, eating healthy and being active during pregnancy, and combating common pregnancy discomforts.
- Feeding Your New Baby
- The new baby lesson covers information about breastfeeding and formula feeding to aid women late in their pregnancies in deciding how to feed their babies.
- Feeding Your Baby Solid Foods.
- The solid food lesson is designed to be taught to mothers of young infants and provides information regarding introducing solid foods including when and how to introduce new foods.