The Integrated Nutrition Education Program (INEP) is a creative and fun way for kids to learn about healthy eating in their classroom and to share what they learn with their families. Each lesson includes a hands-on cooking activity that teaches students how to prepare and taste new fruits and vegetables. INEP is funded by SNAP-Ed and conducted through partnerships with the University of Colorado and various school districts and schools from around the state.
INEP’s goal is to instill life-long nutrition behaviors to prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. To accomplish this goal, INEP targets increased fruit and vegetable consumption, overall healthy eating, children’s willingness to try new foods and increased physical activity.
INEP is a pre-K through 5th grade program consisting of 9 hands-on lessons each year. The lessons involve food preparation/tasting while reinforcing literacy, social studies, science and math standards. Classroom teachers get curriculum training followed by bi-monthly deliveries of food and education materials to support the lessons.
The program offers nutrition education for the entire family through healthy recipes, newsletters, school-wide parent nights and a book bag program for 2nd grade students and their families. Parent nutrition classes are offered at each INEP school which helps reinforce healthy behaviors in the home.
INEP started in 1993, and is currently being offered in approximately 40 schools statewide. INEP is reaching approximately 360 teachers and 8,200 students. The program is available to schools with a high free/reduced school lunch rate.