Food pantries serve populations with high rates of chronic disease. Providing and promoting a variety of healthy foods to clients can help prevent and manage chronic diseases to reduce this added burden on our communities.
Image from https://hungerandhealth.feedingamerica.org/
What are nutrition nudges?
Nutrition nudges are subtle environmental cues that change consumer behaviors. The purpose of nudges is to encourage consumers to choose healthy, nutritious items by making the healthy choice the easiest choice. They are effective, low-cost ways to promote nutrition in pantries by providing nutrition education and increasing the distribution of healthy foods.
Key nudge strategies include:
For example, highlighting “Heart Healthy” and “Diabetes Friendly” foods with shelf tags, adding color to walls and shelves, and providing recipe cards and educational handouts are all great ways to nudge clients.
2019 IUPUI Dietetic Intern Angel Gomez stands near a display of bags of dried lentils. The shelf tag above the product reads:
"Lentils are a delicious way to boost protein and fiber in your meals."
Which foods should be nudged in pantries?
Foods low in added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat should be encouraged for optimal health. These include:
Eating a variety of foods from all the food groups of MyPlate supports a healthy, well-balanced diet and can decrease the risk of developing chronic diseases.
How do I get started with nudges?
Consider starting with a simple change to the layout of your pantry. Place healthy foods first in the shopping line or in easy-to-access areas at eye level. Place foods to limit at the end of the shopping line or in harder-to-reach places on shelves.
Interested in learning more?
Click here for recipes, nutrition education handouts and more.
Click here for more information on nudges, training resources, and sample nudge materials.
This blog post was written by Morgan Belt, IUPUI Dietetic Intern, as part of her internship capstone project. Other activities that Morgan assisted with during her month-long capstone project included:
We are so grateful for all of Morgan’s hard work and contributions, and we wish her the very best in her future as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)!
IUPUI Dietetic Interns Taylor Wilson (left) and Morgan Belt (right) presented a recipe demo for
chickpea tacos at the Gleaners Community Cupboard food pantry in January 2020
Sarah Wilson, RDN, Nutrition Manager at Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, along with guest blog posts by dietetic interns