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Colorado’s Agencies Create Recipe Frameworks for Communities through the Healthy Corner Store Partnership

Posted by Max Young, SNAP Nutritionist and Divyani Pendleton, Colorado SNAP Education and Outreach Administrator Mountain Plains Regional Office in Food and Nutrition Nutrition Security
Aug 23, 2022
Step-by-Step Grain Bowl instructions graphic

Small community-based stores, such as corner stores, are convenient places to shop for simple food items. However, smaller stores often have limited inventory – especially for nutritious options. Cooking Matters Colorado and Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center’s School Wellness Programs engaged with three corner stores in Denver to pilot a SNAP-Ed campaign designed to improve healthy eating. The campaign focused on step-by-step recipe frameworks and offered supportive, educational, and practical examples for a flexible approach to recipes that better resonate with community members. Recipe frameworks are rooted in the understanding that recipes do not need to be followed exactly but can serve as a general formula to be adjusted according to budget, needs, and preferences.

For this campaign, SNAP-Ed worked with locally owned, neighborhood-based corner stores that have demonstrated a commitment to stocking nutritious foods. Stores highlighted nutritious items and provided educational resources with tips on how foods can be combined to make healthy meals that fit different preferences and budgets. The campaign introduced the concept of step-by-step recipe frameworks, with frameworks ranging from one-dish meals to grain bowls. The frameworks included health benefit information for different ingredients. Printed resources were shared in-stores near the checkout areas. Text messages were sent through Colorado’s Text2LiveHealthy intervention to extend the reach of the campaign. Approximately 3,000 text message subscribers received campaign messages delivered in English and Spanish. Ninety-two percent of subscribers felt that the step-by-step flexible recipe messages were helpful, and 93 percent felt that they were easy or very easy to follow.

The recipe framework campaign was well-received by community members, Text2LiveHealthy subscribers, and store owners. As one shop owner noted: “A los clientes les gusta las recetas que dejan y se los llevan y también muchos me preguntan por los posters, me gusta este programa. Gracias por ayudar.” [Clients like the recipe cards; they usually grab one, and many also ask me about the posters. I really enjoy this program. Thank you for helping.]

Next steps for this partnership include introducing in-store signage and other nudges to encourage healthy choices and possibly expanding to additional stores across the state.

Try a grain bowl of your own with this recipe framework!