Nutrition Links: PA Tracks
The program goal is to increase the likelihood that SNAP recipients will use their food dollars and SNAP benefits appropriately, make healthy food choices consistent with MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines, and provide a safe meal environment.
People can improve their everyday lives through participation in PA TRACKS programs. Potential benefits include:
- adequate and quality nutrition
- a safe and secure food supply
- financial resources for economic well-being
- safe and secure home environments
- happy and supportive social relationships
- creating quality of life at all stages of life
Who Is Eligible?
The PA TRACKS provides food and nutrition education exclusively for SNAP recipients and for SNAP-eligible persons.
How is the Program Delivered?
The program is administered through Extension in cooperation with community partners. PA TRACKS nutrition educators deliver informal and easily accessible educational programs in homes or community meeting places. They teach families and individuals practical skills in healthy eating, food safety, and budgeting. Programs take into account variables such as age, culture, reading ability, and physical or developmental limitations.
PA TRACKS program lessons, food demonstrations, displays, newsletters, handouts, and other activities designed for audiences ranging from parents, children, and pregnant teens to seniors.
Lessons based on MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans teach participants how to make good choices to improve the nutritional quality of the meals they serve their families. Through experiential learning, participants can increase their ability to:
- select and buy food that meets the nutritional needs of their families
- gain new skills in food preparation, storage, safety, and sanitation
- learn to better manage food budgets (including the use of SNAP and WIC benefits)
Children and Youth
PA TRACKS provides nutrition education to help children and youth develop healthy eating patterns and skills in preparing nutritious meals and snacks. The lessons emphasizes learning by experience and reflection and is adaptable to a variety of educational settings. Delivery modes include after-school programs, day camps, 4-H clubs, and youth group activities during the summer.
Mature adults participate in hands-on educational activities to learn how to stretch their food dollars and make healthy food choices. The learn-by-doing approach encourages positive behavior changes. Activities also cover the importance of dietary variety, saving time and money, and overcoming obstacles to shopping, cooking, and eating healthfully.
Funding for the PA TRACKS is a cooperative venture between the federal, state, and local governments. The PA TRACKS is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) through the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) and is matched with State and County funds through a myriad of community agencies and organizations.
Jessica McCoppin, MPH