SNAP-Education at the October ESMMYC Meeting

by Elizabeth Duda

York County, SC (Oct. 13, 2019) ESMMYC’s guest speaker shared SNAP-Education (SNAP-Ed) program information and gave a lesson in healthy eating during our October general meeting. Registered dietitian, Jessica Morrison, from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), described the SNAP-Ed nutrition education program. It promotes healthy lifestyles, especially for at-risk population groups experiencing the greatest burden of chronic disease.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly called “food stamps”), helps needy families buy food and become more self-sufficient. In S.C., one in five children struggles with hunger. And 46% of households receiving SNAP benefits have children. DHEC offers SNAP-Ed to try to raise the likelihood that SNAP-eligible people make healthy food choices within their budgets – consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and USDA Food Guidance System, MyPlate – and choose physically-active lifestyles. Programs are behaviorally focused, evidence-based nutrition education and obesity-prevention initiatives and projects. SNAP-Ed is funded through DHEC’s partnership with the S.C. Department of Social Services (DSS).

Morrison shared that, for people trying to reach and sustain a healthy weight, fad diets don’t work (aren’t sustainable) because they don’t integrate lifestyle/behavior change. MyPlate is a good resource as, simply, it looks like what you are eating. Notably, though, it shows a 9-inch plate, yet plate sizes and portion sizes have increased over the years, as have U.S. obesity and overweight rates. Remarkably, in S.C., only one in six people eat enough fruits and vegetables daily.

Discussion also covered fat and the importance of not eating too much saturated fat. Typically plant-based fat, such as from avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, are healthier than animal fat, which tend to be high in saturated fat and cholesterol and contribute to heart disease. A rule of thumb was the more legs an animal has, the more fat it likely has, so eat less of it!

ESMMYC members were pleased by the food demo at the end where intern, Jessica Lechman, cooked delicious spinach and chicken quesadillas, using store-bought ingredients – showing that we all can prepare something this easy, tasty and healthy at home.

For information on scheduling classes for your group call 1-866-369-9333 or email 

About our speaker: Jessica Morrison is a registered dietitian with the SNAP-Education program at the S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control. She received her Bachelors of Science in Dietetics from Kansas State University and completed her Dietetic Internship with Priority Nutrition Care. Jessica has been a SNAP-Ed dietitian for two years. During this time she has taught over 100 nutrition classes and has been a preceptor for 15 interns. She is also active in her field, currently serving as president-elect for the local dietetics association and marketing co-chair with the state dietetics association. Jessica also has an interest and actively advocates for health and nutrition policy at the local and national level.

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