Helping families with mealtimes and their budgets


The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, or EFNEP, is a national program currently in all 50 states and United States territories that began in 1969. In Illinois, EFNEP is located in five counties: Champaign, Cook, Madison, St. Clair, and Vermilion.

EFNEP provides a deeper experience for those that participate in our nutrition education programming, with regular support and connection with the local EFNEP team. EFNEP helps limited-resource families gain knowledge and skills needed to make behavior changes for healthy diets and active lifestyles. Programs are based on evidence that engages learners in practical, hands-on classes and activities. In addition, EFNEP classes are taught by peer educators who are members of the communities where they work. These team members are trained, passionate, and dedicated to affecting a diverse population through nutrition education.

The impact of EFNEP

  • After completing an adult class series,
    • 91% improved their eating habits
    • 70% were more physically active
    • 76% improved their food budgeting
    • 48% ate vegetables more often
    • 36% drank sugary beverages less often
  • After completing a youth class series,
    •     82% youth knew more about and could better choose healthy foods
    •     52% youth knew more about physical activity or became more active
    •     57% youth knew more about or could better prepare simple, healthy, affordable foods
woman cooking in kitchen with 2 young children

Helping families with mealtimes and their budgets

A mother shared how classes helped her and her family. She has three small kids and dinner can ‘feel like a battlefield’. With the tips from her EFNEP lessons, she started to notice small, but good changes. Her kids are eating more vegetables and she does not have to make three different plates for her family. As a result, she is spending less money on food.

A parent explained her son was starting to eat vegetables! Before, he would not even think about eating vegetables, and now he is helping with cooking and eating them, too. After EFNEP classes, he will come home and share what he learned and wants to make the recipe! She said that if she knew asking him to help her cook would get him to eat his vegetables; she would have done it a long time ago.