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As part of its mission to encourage healthy eating habits among low-income children and families, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) developed a series of cooking-based nutrition education modules known as Team Nutrition Cooks! (TNC). The curriculum features five different recipe guides designed to be implemented in after-school settings with children 7-12 years old. The program needed to evolve in content and delivery to better address the lifestyle of these children and their families.


FMG conducted formative research evaluating TNC materials, analyzing curriculum implementation, and assessing programmatic impact on students and families.

Using a participatory research model, FMG worked with three after school programs across the US to collect data and feedback on the usability and impact of the program. FMG provided research support to all three sites to ensure the successful implementation of the curriculum. Additional FMG activities included administering weekly lesson feedback sheets, recruiting parents for focus groups (without the use of financial incentives), and organizing staff availability for interviews. Insights from these activities were used to revise TNC materials to make the program more easy, useful, and engaging to all parties involved.


The results of the research are being used to plan content and design changes to curriculum materials. Based on the feedback of parents and program operators, the curriculum activity guide and family handout will be revised for clarity. New content will be added to the program, and, through work with FMG’s graphic design team, graphic changes will be made to increase usability. Finally, nutrition and recipe revisions have been developed to better engage children while still meeting USDA nutritional requirements.

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Ronne Ostby

Vice President, Insights and Strategy

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