Authors: Nidhi Patel, Karla Shelnutt, PhD, RD, Lauren Sweeney, MS, RDN, Kaley Mialki, MS, RDN
Faculty Mentor: Karla Shelnutt, PhD, RD
College: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
As 68% of calories are consumed at home, the home food environment (HFE) plays an important role in food choices. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of a healthy meal kit intervention on the HFE of African American (AA) caregivers with low income. Participants received weekly meal kits for six weeks that included ingredients and recipes to cook three meals. An HFE survey was used to assess grocery shopping and cooking practices, eating and screen viewing habits, and social support at baseline and post intervention. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used to assess changes. Participants elaborated on the impact the meal kits had on their ability to cook and eat healthy meals post intervention, which were coded using thematic analysis. Participants (n=36) reported a significant decrease in eating while screen viewing after the intervention (p=.048). Grocery shopping, cooking practices, and social support were unchanged. Most participants (86%) stated that the whole family was involved in preparing the meals and that meal kits positively affected family mealtime (58%). Meal kits provide caregivers of families with low income with resources they need to prepare healthy meals, which may provide opportunities for family bonding and reduced screen time while eating.