Walmart invests in healthy eating

The Walmart Foundation gave $2.5 million to Share Our Strength to help the hunger relief organization educate people about eating healthy on a budget.

The grant will provide 107,500 Americans with access to Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters program, which has a 20-year history of helping low-income families develop and maintain healthier eating habits. The initiative is part of Walmart’s and the Walmart Foundation’s $2 billion cash and in-kind commitment through 2015 to help fight hunger in America, and Walmart’s 2011 initiative to provide customers with healthier and more affordable food choices every day.

Over the next year, the grant will help provide shoppers with access to Cooking Matters at the Store shopping tours at Walmart stores and other grocers, according to Walmart. These interactive sessions with trained guides are designed to teach four main skills: buying fruits and vegetables on a budget, comparing unit prices, reading food labels and identifying whole grain foods. In addition, the grant will support six-week Cooking Matters courses that introduce cooking, food budgeting and nutrition concepts proven to increase healthy eating. Following the completion of the six-week course, Share Our Strength found that 80% of adults who graduate report improved food budgeting practices, while 78% of adult and teen graduates report an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption.

“Many families in America haven’t been given the opportunity to learn about how to eat healthy at home. Programs like Cooking Matters give families the tools necessary to maximize their resources, shop smart on a budget and develop better eating habits,” said Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Walmart Foundation. “Today we recognize ‘National Food Day’ because we believe that healthy eating can change lives. At Walmart, we take this to heart every day by making nutritious foods accessible and affordable for families across the country; and alongside partners like Share Our Strength we can help even more people eat healthier and live better.”