Good nutrition is important for healthy bodies and disease prevention. We strive to provide nutrition education and programs to Virginians in need. This includes creating and supporting policies and that improve access to healthy foods.
Understanding Good Nutrition
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Releases guidance on what Americans should eat and drink in order to achieve a healthy lifestyle and prevent disease
- ChooseMyPlate: Includes recipes and tips for different age groups and audiences. The materials are translated in many languages.
There are many federal USDA programs available in Virginia. These programs help Virginians access healthy, affordable food and meals and nutrition education.
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): Provides healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and more.
- Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP): Offers healthy meals and snacks for children, older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons.
- Virginia School Nutrition Programs: Programs include the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Fruit and Vegetable Program, Summer Food Service Program, CACFP at-risk, and others.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: SNAP provides cash to eligible households for selected foods. Virginia SNAP-ED, Family Nutrition Programs, offers nutrition education and support to SNAP recipients. There are also plenty of free resources for all Virginians on their website.
Food Access and Disparities
It is important to understand the barriers in the accessibility of healthy foods. Some barriers include transportation, living in food deserts, and affordability of healthy foods. These barriers often affect racial and ethnic minorities, low income communities, and rural residents more.¹ Below are some local organizations that work to improve disparities in food access.
- Virginia Food System Council: Focuses on food produce, consumers, and farms.
- Healthy Food Access: Highlights programs that improve healthy food access to low-income Virginians.
- Virginia Food Banks: Addresses access to food and hunger
- Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth: Provides grants, training, and social marketing for youth