Healthy Eating & Active Living Program for Families: Recipes & Success Stories

Posted on February 2, 2022 at 6:00 am

By Brenda McGuire & Kylie Pybus, guest bloggers

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) helps families eat healthy, be physically active, and stretch their food dollars.

EFNEP, offered through Washington State University Extension, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and has partnered again with Spokane County Library Distract to bring this program to library customers.

EFNEP Educator Brenda McGuire leads interactive lessons to strengthen your knowledge of healthy foods, discover fun recipes, and find new ways to be active with your family.

Participants receive a water bottle, measuring cups and spoons, a cookbook, and a graduation certificate. These supplies will be available for pickup at libraries for registered participants.

Check our event calendar for upcoming offerings of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).

You qualify for EFNEP if you are pregnant or have children at home and are eligible for programs such as School Lunch, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Basic Food), WIC, or Head Start/ECEAP.

Below, we share three stories from EFNEP graduates, and if you sign up for this program, you can share your own success story with us!

Healthy Eating

Jesse is a new father who took EFNEP classes through a teen parent organization. He cooked often for his family but struggled to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to his meals.

During EFNEP classes, Jesse learned about the benefits a variety of fruits and vegetables and ways to add them to his family’s meals and snacks. He has added salads and other delicious, nutritious recipes to his meal planning that incorporate more fruits and vegetables. Jesse loves the Cowboy Caviar and Fish Tacos recipes (videos shared below) and has added them to his family’s menu planning for healthy meals.

Recipe: Cowboy Caviar
Recipe: Fish Tacos

Active Living

Active Living: Family dancing together

Mona and her family have struggled to exercise while spending more time at home during the pandemic. After Mona started the EFNEP “Eating Smart, Being Active” virtual series at home, her family joined her for the physical activity portion of the lessons.

Together, they start the day by turning on music, dancing around the house, and practicing cardio exercises together. The whole family has found fun ways to be active together and have continued their dancing and physical activities after Mona graduated from EFNEP.

Stretching Food Dollars

EFNEP offers many ideas for meal planning, grocery shopping, and finding food resources in your community. Jana took EFNEP classes through her children’s Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP).

Jana struggled to have healthy foods at home at the end of the month when she had used much of her budget for groceries. Using strategies to compare prices and create a grocery list helped her keep healthy foods in her home through the whole month. Jana and her children also started using their EBT dollars at their local farmers’ market through the SNAP Market Match program. They found new and fresh fruits and vegetables to have for snacks and meals.

Benda McGuire, WSU EFNEP Nutrition Educator

Brenda McGuire is a nutrition educator and has been with WSU EFNEP since 2006. She teaches adult and youth classes throughout Spokane County. She enjoys helping families learn how to eat healthy on a budget and increase their physical activity. In her free time, she likes spending time with family, geocaching, and cooking. You can reach Brenda by email at

Kylie Pybus, WSU EFNEP Coordinator

Kylie Pybus joined the WSU EFNEP team in 2018. In her role as program coordinator, Kylie collaborates with community organizations in Spokane County and partners with nutrition educators who deliver EFNEP classes. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, hiking in Riverside State Park, and trying out new recipes at home. You can reach Kylie by email at

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