Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Heidi LeBlanc


Heidi LeBlanc


Julie Gast


Mateja Savoie-Roskos


Food pantry clients are at an increased risk of poor diet quality which can lead to a variety of chronic diseases. Identifying nutrition interventions that help improve the dietary intake of this vulnerable population is important to help improve health outcomes. Utah’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed), also known as Food $ense, partners with many pantries throughout the state to improve healthy food access. This research was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of a pantry intervention, Thumbs Up for Healthy Choices, to evaluate its impact on food pantry clients’ selection and use of identified healthy foods. In addition to program evaluation, data identifying interest in programs such as Thumbs Up, as well as common barriers that prevent pantry clients from making healthy choices was also collected and analyzed.

This research was funded through a Utah State University (USU) Extension mini-grant for $8,500. The findings will be used to guide future SNAP-Ed initiatives that aim to make the healthy choice the easy choice in food pantries. The results will also be used to build the evidence base for the Thumbs Up for Healthy Choices program, which will allow other SNAP-Ed programs throughout the country to adopt and implement this effective program.



Included in

Nutrition Commons