Nutrition Education Program (NEP)
What is NEP?
The Nutrition Education Program (NEP) helps families on a limited budget make healthier food choices and choose physically active lifestyles by acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behavior changes necessary to improve their health. NEP is free to all participants who meet income guidelines. Additionally, NEP participates in Policies, Systems and Environmental (PSE) strategies that impact communities. These strategies include school wellness, community and school gardens, healthy food pantries, and child care center wellness. Together with community partnerships, NEP strives to improve the health of Nebraskans.
NEP Helps Families...
Adult & Senior NEP Classes
Adult and Senior NEP classes are comprised of seven nutrition lessons that are taught individually, in small groups at agency or community sites, and at home through a distance option. Each lesson includes hands-on learning activities to help participants apply what they learn in class to their daily life. All participants complete lessons that teach the basics of nutrition, planning meals, making a food budget, reading food labels, eating a balanced diet by following the USDA MyPlate recommendations, and more. When participants complete seven lessons, they receive a graduation certificate and an NEP enhancement item that supports their new healthy lifestyle.
Youth NEP Classes
Youth NEP classes take place at a variety of community sites, including preschools, out-of-school programs, and summer youth camps. NEP also teaches during the school day in qualifying schools. NEP youth learn about hand-washing, food safety, healthy snacks, healthy beverages, MyPlate, physical activity, breakfast, food preparation and kitchen safety.
The School Enrichment Kit Program is a unique, evidence based approach to reaching Nebraska's youth. The School Enrichment Kits include lesson plans with coordinating activities that meet the health curriculum objectives required for the nutrition unit of each grade school age group. School enrichment classrooms spend an average of five to six hours using the School Enrichment Kits to teach nutrition to limited resource youth through Extension team members and teachers.
NEP Impacts Communities...
NEP impacts communities by providing training for child care centers, collaborating with local schools to improve school wellness policies, and supporting healthier food pantries and food retail options.
Child Care Provider Training
NEP, with support from Team Nutrition and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, is creating healthier child care settings by training child care providers on the best practices they should follow related to nutrition, physical activity and breastfeeding. The Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) Program is a practice-based intervention designed to enhance the facilities' nutrition and physical activity policies, practices, and overall wellness. NAP SACC practices improve the nutritional quality of food served, the amount and quality of physical activity, and staff-child interactions. With NAP SACC training, child care providers improve the health and wellness of their child care centers through nutrition, physical activity, and limited use of electronic media
School Wellness Policy Support
NEP, with support from Team Nutrition, provides schools with the opportunity to collaborate with Extension team members to develop, modify and carry out their school wellness policies. School wellness policies are multi-faceted, and, at times, difficult to navigate. Extension team members can help by providing support for school gardens, school programming, grant writing, partnership connections, and brainstorming ideas to help each school develop a personalized wellness policy.
Improved Food Environments
NEP, with support from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, is helping local public health departments and their communities combat food deserts through community gardens, healthy retail initiatives, and healthy food pantry options. With input from a team of community members, NEP Extension team members can help communities apply for grants and certifications, as well as obtain the materials necessary to start their gardens and create Food Councils. Small grocery stores and corner stores that communities rely on for food can utilize programs and resources provided through this NEP partnership to help them purchase and sell food of high nutritional value. Extension team members will also work with food pantries to obtain and promote nutritionally dense foods to offer to community members.
NEP includes Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education (SNAP-Ed). Both programs receive federal funding from the United States Department of Agriculture: EFNEP is part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and SNAP-Ed is part of Food and Nutrition Service. NEP is managed by Nebraska Extension and delivered in 32 counties in Nebraska.
NEP Brochure (PDF 894KB)
Additional Food Assistance Programs and Information
Families who are participating in NEP may also want to explore these resources.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)*
Nebraska SNAP online application or
Phone: (800) 430-3244
* SNAP is formerly known as the Food Stamp Program.
- Nebraska Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
- Nebraska Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
- Summer Food Service Program
- National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- Food Bank for the Heartland
- Food Bank of Lincoln
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Guard Your Health