Fort Worth, Texas-based Tarrant Area Food Bank will celebrate National Nutrition Month with the introduction of a new “Supporting Wellness At Pantries” program, an initiative designed to help promote healthy food choices at the food bank and the more than 400 partner agencies it serves.
Tarrant Area Food Bank launched its nutrition policy in January and has debuted this complementary SWAP stoplight system that ranks food nutritiously. The SWAP system aligns with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines and Feeding America’s guidance to promote selection of nutritious food.
The SWAP system ranks foods using information from the nutrition facts label and then categorizes each product as green, yellow or red. Pantries and their guests are encouraged to choose green-labeled products often, yellow items sometimes and red items rarely. Green-labeled products are also considered to be heart healthy and diabetes friendly.
“The new SWAP system provides a nutritional assessment of inventory at the food bank, and with better nutritional insight into our inventory, we can work to source healthier donations from our donors and grocery partners”, said Julie Butner, president and CEO of Tarrant Area Food Bank.
“This allows anyone relying on food from us to make healthy choices easily. Tarrant Area Food Bank is one of eight food banks across the Feeding America network to pilot the SWAP system. We are excited to be an early adopter.”
Tarrant Area Food Bank partner agencies are encouraged to adopt the new policy and system. Foods with lower nutrient value can find a place in a healthy meal plan, however, the SWAP system puts a focus on foods that can positively influence health.
Tarrant Area Food Bank will use SWAP to:
- Assess and rank inventory to report on food nutritional quality;
- Engage with food donors to focus sourcing on healthier products;
- Incorporate rankings (green, yellow, red) in online ordering for agency partners; and
- Offer new strategies and resources for partners, new and existing, in developing plans for their healthy pantries.
With March being National Nutrition Month, Tarrant Area’s launch of the “Supporting Wellness At Pantries” program will further reinforce efforts to provide nutritious meals to those in need in its 13-county service area and will be included in educational programs and healthy lifestyle conversations.
To learn more about the program, visit tafb.org/SWAP-program.