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Lessons Taught

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Contact Information

Kristin Hansen

Extension Nutrition Program

University of Idaho

PO Box 443183

Moscow, Idaho 83844-3183







Margaret Ritchie School of Family & Consumer Sciences

Lessons Taught

Lessons are taught in group sessions (in food stamp offices, adult education & job training centers, community centers, Head Start programs, libraries, churches, extension offices, and other locations).


Lessons titles include:


Understanding Food Labels


Choosing Healthy Snacks

Eating Right and Light

Eating Right for Two

Feeding Your New Baby

Feeding Infants and Children

The Grains Group

The Vegetable Group

The Fruit Group

The Meat & Beans Group

The Milk/Dairy Group

Keeping Food Safe

Planning Makes a Difference

Making the Most of Your Food Dollars

Physical Activity



For information contact the program director:

Martha Raidl, PhD, RD
Nutrition Education Specialist
University of Idaho
Boise Center

322 E Front St #180
Boise ID 83702







Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta: 6 Servings (half from whole grains)

These foods provide complex carbohydrates, an important source of energy. They also provide B vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Starchy foods are not fattening if you don't add butter, cheese, or cream sauces.
Select whole-grain products to maximize fiber and other nutrients.

1 serving = 1 ounce
1 slice of bread;
1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal;
1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice or pasta.

Vegetables: 2 1/2 cups

Vegetables provide vitamins (especially A and C), are excellent sources of fiber, and are naturally low in fat. For maximum nutrients, select dark leafy greens, deep-yellow or orange vegetables, and starchy vegetables like potatoes and yams.

1 cup raw leafy greens;
1/2 cup other vegetables chopped;
3/4 cup vegetable juice.


Fruits: 2 cups

Fruits are rich sources of vitamins, most notably vitamin C. They are
low in fat and calories. Select fresh fruits and fruit juices, and frozen,
canned, or dried fruits. Avoid fruit processed with heavy syrups and
sugar-sweetened juices.

1 medium apple, banana, or orange;
1 melon wedge;
1/2 cup of chopped fruit or berries;
3/4 cup fruit juice.


Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese: 3 Servings

Milk products are the richest sources of calcium. They also provide protein and vitamin B12. Choose low-fat varieties to keep calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat at a minimum.

1 serving =
1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1-1/2 ounces of cheese.


Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts: 5 1/2 ounces

Animal foods are excellent sources of protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins,
as are beans, nuts, and seeds. Tofu (made from soybeans) and white beans also supply calcium. Some seeds, like almonds, are good sources
of vitamin E.

1 serving =
2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish;
1 egg;
1/2 cup cooked beans;
2 tablespoons seeds and nuts


Fats, Oils, and Sweets: 20% - 35% of total calories

These foods provide calories, but little else nutritionally.
Exceptions are vegetable oil, which is a rich source of
vitamin E (1 tablespoon is all you need),
and molasses, an excellent source of iron.


Keeping Food Safe                            back

The main concepts taught in the food safety lesson are:

  • Keeping your kitchen clean and handling food safely protects you from illness.

  • At the grocery store check all food carefully to be sure it’s safe before you buy it.

  • Put food away as soon as you get home from the grocery store.

  • Keep your freezer temperature at 0 degrees F and your refrigerator at or below 40 degrees F.

  • The best place to thaw frozen foods is in the refrigerator, not on the counter.

  • Wash your hands before you touch food.

  • Wash all utensils and food preparation surfaces thoroughly to prevent cross contamination.

  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.


  • The Michigan Eating Right Is Basic flip chart curriculum lesson called “Keeping Food Safe.”

  • A video from the Institute of Food Technologists called “The Great Food Fight.” This video presents important food safety information on food borne illness, microorganisms, and proper food handling.

  • A video from the Learning Seed called “Clean Up Your Act! Fighting Household Germs.” This video presents important information on how and why to wash your hands, keeping household surfaces clean, and other information on cross contamination.


  • Using the GlitterBug handwashing kit from Brevis Corporation participants are shown how to properly wash their hands. Participants rub the GlitterBug lotion all over their hands, and then wash their hands. They then put their hands under the special light, and are able to see areas on their hands that they could have washed more thoroughly.

Planning Makes a Difference                               back

The main concepts are:

  • To help you make nutritious choices use the Food Guide Pyramid as a guide when planning meals and snacks.

  • Plan to cook extra food for lunches or meals on busy days.

  • Make a plan for using your leftovers, so food doesn’t go to waste.

  • Include grocery store specials and the foods you already have on hand when planning your meals to help save money.

  • Make a shopping list after you have planned meals for a week, and know what foods you will need.


  • The Michigan Eating Right Is Basic flip chart curriculum lesson called “Planning Makes a Difference.”


  • Plan a weekly menu with participants and help them prepare a shopping list using their menus.

  • “What Are We Going to Eat?” Game from the University of Idaho Balancing Work and Family curriculum. This game provides simulated examples of the “costs” and “savings” of planning meals and snacks. Participants gain or lose time, nutrition, and/or money, depending on the situation they choose from the game cards.

Making the Most of Your Food Dollars                              back

The main concepts taught are:

  • Using a shopping list will help stretch food dollars.

  • If possible, shop alone so you can concentrate on following your list and comparing prices. Non-food items and other “extras” can affect your food budget.

  • Make sure you aren’t hungry when you shop. Hungry shoppers tend to buy more food and more high priced food.

  • Read labels to compare the ingredients and nutritional content of foods.

  • Compare prices to identify the best buys.

  • Take advantage of unadvertised sales if you need the items and you have room to store these food items at home.

  • Things the grocery store does to get you to spend more money: layout, where they display different items, etc.

  • As soon as you get home, unpack groceries and store them in the cupboard, refrigerator, or freezer so the food doesn’t spoil.


  • The Michigan Eating Right Is Basic flip chart curriculum lesson called “Making the Most of Your Food Dollars.”

  • A video called “Supermarket Persuasion.” This video presents information on using a shopping list, things the grocery does to get you to spend more money, unit pricing, and a number of other strategies to use when shopping for food.

The Grain Group                               back

It is suggested that each person include a minimum of six servings per day from this food group. In general, at least half the grains should come from whole grains.  A serving may be ½ cup cooked cereal, 2/3 to 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, a slice of bread, or ½ cup of cooked pasta, to name a few. (Children may need to eat smaller serving sizes based on age) Foods in this group provide complex carbohydrates that are used as “energy” by our bodies. Some activities to enhance learning include, “Create a Casserole,” label reading on cereal boxes, and making “Bread in the Bag.”


The Vegetable Group                               back

Vegetables provide us with vitamins, minerals, and fiber in our diets. Most vegetables are low in calories and fat. It is suggested that we eat at least three servings per day from this group. A serving may be ½ cup cooked or 1-cup raw vegetable, for example. Dark green and orange vegetables are high in Vitamin A, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that may help in the prevention of some types of cancer. Some activities to enhance learning include, “Can Cutting” of various vegetables for a cost comparison activity, “snacking ideas for children.”


The Fruit Group                                back

Fruits provide us with carbohydrates, fiber and a “sweet” alternative to candy, soda, cookies, etc. Fruits are naturally low in fat. Fruits provide a good source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system and iron absorption. It is suggested that we include at least two servings of fruit per day in our diets. A serving size may be a piece of fresh fruit the size of a tennis ball or ¾ cup fruit juice. Additional activities to enhance learning include reading labels on fruit juices/drinks to find those that are 100% fruit juice; making fruit snacks for youth.


THE Milk/Dairy Group                              back

It is suggested that we include two to three servings per day from milk, yogurt or cheese equivalents. A serving may be 8 ounces of fluid milk, 1 cup of yogurt or 1½ ounces of cheese. This group is an important source of calcium and protein in the diet. Calcium helps to keep our teeth and bones healthy. There are many different types of milks on the market. The only “real” difference is in the amount of fat in each kind of milk. Additional activities to enhance learning include label reading, recipes using dry milk powder, and calcium requirements for all age groups.


The Meat & Beans Group                                back

The meat group lesson teaches the participant to identify the foods in this group: meat, poultry, fish, dried beans, eggs, and nuts. Information is given on nutrient content and ways to make low fat choices. The participant learns the recommended number of servings, serving size, and how to incorporate this group into the daily diet. Emphasis is placed on how to prepare and store foods and how to save money buying the foods from this group.


Eating Right and Light                               back

This lesson teaches the participant the relationship between fat and calories and the importance of physical activity in weight control and health. Information is given on ways to decrease fat in meals, low-fat cooking methods, and the effect of high sugar foods in weight control. The participant learns how to read a food label for fat and sugar content.


Breakfast and Choosing Healthy Snacks                              back

This lesson teaches participants the importance of breakfast and snacks. The participant learns ways to incorporate different foods from the five food groups into the breakfast meal and how to prepare quick breakfasts for busy mornings. Participants learn why healthy snacks are important, especially for children, and ways to create low-fat, low calorie snacks.



Feeding Your New Baby                              back

Participants are encouraged by the Nutrition Advisors to follow the recommendations given to them by their doctors for when and what foods they should begin to feed their babies. See “Feeding Infants and Children” for further information.


Feeding Infants and Children                            back

This lesson helps participants to understand that they are the “gatekeepers” of the types of food that they buy and bring into the house. Parents learn that they are responsible for when and where the child eats and what is available for the child to eat. The child then chooses what and how much to eat.


  • The Michigan Eating Right Is Basic lesson called “Feeding Infants and Children.”

  • “Meals Without Squeals” - a book by Ellyn Satter, R.D.

  • “Feeding Young Children” videotape series by Janice Fletcher, EdD, and Laurel Branen, PhD, University of Idaho.

  • “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay” a videotape by the Economic Opportunity Commission, San Luis Obispo, CA.


  • In order to help parents become more patient and to understand their children at meal times, participants wear rubber gloves and use wooden spoons to eat. This activity helps them to understand how regular utensils feel in children’s small hands and that children have limited motor skills.

  • Another activity involves using the “Choke Tube” from Discovery Toys. Participants find objects around the house that fit into the tube (money, small toys, game parts, carrot dollars, whole grapes). This activity raises participants’ awareness of items that might cause young children to choke.