What is SWAP?
Supporting Wellness at Pantries (SWAP) is a stoplight nutrition ranking system designed to help promote healthy food choices at food banks and food pantries. SWAP is based on the most recent Dietary Guidelines, and the MyPlate Daily Checklist, to rank foods based on saturated fat, sodium and sugar because these nutrients are the most dangerous ones for chronic diseases.
An interactive guide showing SWAP's research, development, and implementation in food banks and food pantries. If you find the SWAP Toolkit to be useful, please complete the brief survey below to help us further develop this document.
Why is this important?
Studies show that people who visit food pantries experience a double burden of food insecurity and chronic diseases. More than half of the families who visit food pantries have a household member with high blood pressure and one-third have a member with type II diabetes. These chronic diseases can often be prevented, managed, and reversed through the foods we eat. The goal of SWAP is to help increase the supply and demand for healthy food in food banks and pantries.
The key SWAP messages are:
Green = choose often; low in saturated fat, sodium and sugar; supports health
Yellow = choose sometimes; can contribute to good health
Red = choose rarely; high levels of fat, sodium or sugar; think of as treats; limited health benefits
Partner Programs using SWAP
Food pantries can be ideal settings for healthy eating strategies. In 2017, SWAP was piloted in six food pantries in Connecticut. Several of Foodshare partner food pantries are currently using SWAP to promote healthy food. When partner food pantries and meal programs order food from Foodshare in its online ordering program, they can see foods ranked as green, yellow and red to help them make healthy food choices.
“We're able to give them healthy choices, which is going to help them with their health in the long run.”
Patricia Nelson, St. Monica’s Episcopal Church meal program in Hartford
Check out these SWAP materials for more information.
If you would like to offer SWAP in your food pantry or meal program, or for more information, please contact Katie Martin.
(SWAP) was developed by researchers at the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) Department of Nutrition and Public Health and SNAP-Ed program, and is a collaboration between USJ, the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, and the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport. Funding to develop SWAP was provided by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Farmington Bank Community Foundation, and the Johns Hopkins Global Obesity Prevention Center.
How You Can Help
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