Everybody Needs a Break

We need to give people a break. A break from pop-up ads proclaiming the latest miracle food. A break from digital billboards along the highway that alternate between sculpted bodies selling gym memberships and McDonald’s French fries. A break from commercials and spam telling them what to eat and what not to eat.

Give them a break with our “I Am…” poster! It’s the antidote to the noisy, conflicting, all-or-nothing messages about food and health that we’re all bombarded with every day.

“I Am…” is a motivational health poster that emphasizes the steps on your journey to a life of health and well-being. Affirmations serve as gentle reminders for:

  • Self-care: sleeping enough, forgiving a setback.
  • Diet: eating mindfully when hungry, loving fruits & veggies.
  • Physical activity: moving more, exercising consistently.
  • Attitude: not giving up.
  • Intention: planning and working to success.

Here are five ways to use the “I Am…” poster with your clients:

  • It’s perfect for a weight management group that meets regularly: start each meeting with participants sharing which affirmation they identify with most that day.
  • It’s a good ice breaker for an individual or group session: which affirmation is speaking to you today?
  • It’s a goal setting helper: which affirmation do you want to work on?
  • It’s a take-home message: take a picture of the poster with your cell phone and look at it frequently throughout the day.
  • It’s a question: one step starts your journey – what will your one step be today?

Teach the Facts: Microbiome & Gut Health

Gut health and microbiome are hot topics that go together. Like most hot topics, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Teach your audience the facts with our Microbiome and Gut Health PowerPoint show.

Our presentation covers all the basics, answering the questions your clients are asking:

  1. What exactly is the microbiome?
  2. What factors affect the microbiome?
  3. Can I change my microbiome?
  4. How does my microbiome affect my health?
  5. What foods play a role in a healthy microbiome?
  6. What are probiotic supplements and should I take them?

Our PowerPoint show has everything you need for an interactive, informative class on the microbiome. We give you many options so you can adapt the presentation according to your audience, time-frame, and available technology. Purchase our show or use our ideas in yours to include:

  1. “Taking Care of Your Gut” – a handout your clients can take home with them.
  2. Click a link to watch all or part of “How our microbes make us who we are,” a TED Talk by Rob Knight, PhD.
  3. A pop quiz to engage your audience and see what they’ve learned.
  4. Click on a variety of links to access the latest research and information. Nature has a great one here.

Research on the microbiome is exciting, but there’s still a lot to learn.

The bottom line: Your best bet for a healthy gut is to eat more high fiber, plant-based foods, and less processed foods and high-fat animal products. Yep, a plant-based diet wins again!

When Does Small = Big?

When it comes to weight loss, small equals big. That is, losing a relatively small amount of weight can bring big health benefits. This is exactly what our Lose 10% Poster teaches – modest weight loss can lead to improvements in:

  1. Energy level
  2. Physical mobility
  3. General mood
  4. Self-confidence
  5. Blood pressure
  6. Blood cholesterol
  7. Blood sugar

This can be a comforting message for your clients who are overweight or obese. Consider this scenario:

Janie is 5’3” and weighs 200 pounds. Her doctor says, Your BMI is 35.4, which means you are obese. A normal weight for your height is between 104 and 141 pounds. Janie does the math and is instantly overwhelmed. I need to lose between 59 and 96 pounds, she tells herself. How will I ever lose that much? It will take so long! I’ll never get there!

But what if Janie talks to a registered dietitian about her weight? Losing just 10% of your body weight will make you feel better and be healthier, so let’s focus on that for now, says the RD. Ten percent of 200 is 20 pounds. Janie smiles and says, I can do that!

Here’s an activity that goes along with our poster:

  • Part 1: What’s Your 10%? Show participants how to calculate 10% of their body weight. They can do this using the calculator on their phone, but it would also be nice to have some inexpensive calculators on hand (get a few with big buttons). Tell them to multiply their weight by 0.10. That is their 10%. Have them write this number on an index card.
  • Part 2: Why do YOU want to lose your 10%? Go over the benefits of modest weight loss. Have each participant write why they want to lose 10% on the index card (“I want to lose my 10% so that I’ll have more energy and keep my blood pressure under control”). Tell them to put the index card where they’ll see it every day, as a reminder of their 10% goal and motivation.

Exercising at Home to Stop Prediabetes

Physical activity is one of the keys to fighting prediabetes. Our Prediabetes Exercise poster outlines a three-prong approach based on recommendations from the American Diabetes Association.

It seems simple enough: exercise for 150 minutes per week, throw in some strength training, and don’t sit too much. But for many folks, just the thought of working out can be overwhelming. One solution is to do exercise videos at home.

There are plenty of free exercise videos on YouTube, but your clients need direction to find the right ones. Here are some good choices to go along with the three prongs on our Prediabetes Exercise poster:

150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week:

Resistance/strength training 2-3 times per week:

Three minutes of light activity every half hour while sitting:

And here are two bonus recommendations:

Have You Seen Our Salad Mandala?!

Have you seen our Salad Mandalas? Yes, you read that right – but you have to see it to believe it, so take a look at the bottom of this page and then read on!

We know you’ll love these beautiful works of art as much as we do! Eye-catching and discussion-generating, they will brighten up any area and remind people to eat their fruits and vegetables every day.

Not sure what to do with our Salad Mandalas? Whether you choose the floor or wall decal, they’ll stick to most clean, smooth surfaces and are removable. Here are some ideas on where to put them:

  • In a hospital… A Salad Mandala on the floor or wall is the perfect way to identify dietitians’ offices, the nutrition department, kitchen, or cafeteria – wherever you want people to know that healthy eating is a priority here!
  • In a nursing home… Hang one up the dining area or other common room where residents and visitors can enjoy the beautiful colors.
  • In a school… Students and staff will get a kick out of seeing Salad Mandalas on the wall or floor of the cafeteria or gym, the nurse’s office, food service director’s office, health classrooms, and hallways.
  • In a fitness center… Brighten up the locker rooms or aerobics studio.
  • In a doctor’s office… Patients will appreciate having something unique to look at while they wait, making the Salad Mandala a good choice for exam rooms.
  • In a library… Use one as part of a display for nutrition month in March, salad month in May, or farmer’s market week in August, along with selected cookbooks or children’s books that feature fruits and veggies.
  • At a health fair… Attract a crowd with the Salad Mandala decal – on the floor in front of your booth or on the wall behind it.
  • In a vending machine area… Remind everyone about the healthiest snacks of all!

And here are some activities to go with our Salad Mandala decals:

  • Preschool/early elementary class… Use the Salad Mandala to teach colors, practice counting, or learn the names of fruits and vegetables. Have a special Salad Mandala Snack – everyone can make their own mandala on a paper plate with cut up fruits and veggies.
  • Caught eating healthy… Put the Salad Mandala on a wall in the school cafeteria. Ask parent volunteers to come in during lunchtime once a week to snap pictures of kids who are eating a fruit or vegetable that day. Then post the pictures around the mandala. Watch the circle grow bigger every week!
  • Salad day selfies… Let adults in on the fun in your workplace or hospital cafeteria! Build a salad from the salad bar, then take a selfie in front of the Salad Mandala decal and post it to your social media page.
  • Salad Mandala search… Put the mandala in a different classroom, hallway, office, or other location every week to generate interest.

Be sure to let us know what YOU do with our Salad Mandala decals!

 

5 Ways to Use Our MyPlate Adult Coloring Books

Have you ever thought about using adult coloring books with your clients or patients? Coloring can be meditative. It takes your mind off your worries. It relaxes the brain. And with our unique MyPlate adult coloring book, you get the added benefit of being exposed to healthy messages and images of healthy foods!

We have five ideas for how you can use our MyPlate coloring book, which is geared toward adults and teens:

  • Color-while-you-wait. In a waiting area, set up a table with a few of our MyPlate coloring books and a mug or two filled with sharpened colored pencils. Add a sign that invites people to sit down and color, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Maybe something like this: “Stressed out? Relax with some coloring!”
  • Color-for-a-tough-audience. Have you ever been asked to teach a healthy eating class and the audience is restless or just not that interested? We’ve all been there! Maybe it’s a group of high school students who have other things on their minds, a lunch-and-learn with stressed out employees, or an evening class where people are tired. Flip the switch with some MyPlate coloring!
  • Color-to-recharge. Teaching a seminar or workshop? When you give participants a restroom break, add an extra five minutes for some MyPlate coloring.
  • Color-to-recover. Coloring is great for patients recovering from surgery. It gives their brains something to concentrate on besides pain, discomfort, boredom, or worry.
  • Color-giveaway. Use our MyPlate adult coloring books as prizes at health fairs, biometric screenings, open houses, and other events.

And don’t forget to save one for yourself — your brain deserves a break, too!

See our free coloring sheet here in our nutrition month theme.

Start September with Meal Planning

There’s something about September that makes people feel refreshed and ready to start something new. This makes it the perfect time to talk about menu planning. Use our Menu Planning handout to show your clients the benefits of planning ahead.

Here are the benefits of planning meals ahead of time:

  • Your healthy eating plan is in writing, so you won’t “forget” your intentions halfway through the week.
  • Your written menu plan makes food shopping easy because you know exactly what you need to buy.
  • Instead of shopping, why not write a menu with 4-5 dinner ideas (like this one) then use a meal delivery app like Instacart, Amazon, or any online local delivery service to have your grocery list delivered to your door!
  • By shopping online you can find store specials for an ingredient (sort), stick to your list, and use the extra time to plan your menu, clean your kitchen, cook, and get organized for another week. A little experimentation shows it can save money because you are not adding “extras” from store aisle temptations!
  • Great ideas for fall meals include winter squash, beans, lentils, chickpea stews, chili, and delicious meals that cook or roast for a while to add aroma and warmth to a kitchen. These types of meals can be served over several days in one week.

123 method of meal planning:

  1. Think flavor instead of meat! Do you like spicy, roasted, thick and hearty? Plan meals around beans and lean protein and focus on flavors instead of meat as the centerpiece. Think about seasonal veggies and use them as the centerpiece. Here are a few examples: spicy bean chili, roasted winter squash, creamy corn chowder, and thick lentil-vegetable soup. If you use meat or poultry or fish, use it in smaller amounts and as a flavoring agent.
  2. Include a fibery starch like whole grains, beans, potatoes, yams, peas or winter squash.
  3. Include a seasonal, non-starchy vegetable like greens, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, peppers, etc. Salad counts!

Remember MyPlate’s lesson to make half of your plate veggies or fruits and veggies.

If planning a week’s worth of meals is overwhelming, we have some suggestions to make it easier:

  • Pick one or two food groups to plan, such as fruits and/or vegetables.
  • Plan for 3-4 days instead of the week.
  • Choose one meal to focus on and plan that for the week.

Help your clients say goodbye to summer and hello to healthy meal planning!

Picture Perfect Plant-Based Diet

Everyone knows they should eat more fruits and vegetables. Some people have even heard the term plant-based diet. But what do they think it means? To eat more kale? Walnuts? Beans? Tree bark?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, our Plant Parts bookmark says all they need to know. It features a gorgeous photo of edible tubers, roots, and bulbs; stems and leaves; fruits, vegetables, flowers, seeds/legumes, and nuts. No tree bark here!

Ask students or clients to identify each item in the picture. Chances are, they’ll realize their knowledge of plant foods is limited.

That’s where the other side of the bookmark comes in – it’s a mini-lesson on plant parts and their nutrition benefits.

We pack a lot of information in these 3-inch by 6-inch bookmarks, making them perfect for health fairs, classes, waiting rooms, and bulletin boards.

An added bonus – our Plant Parts materials send the message that all parts of the plant are edible and nutritious. So you can reduce food waste and get the benefits of a plant-based diet (without eating tree bark!).

Have Some Fun with Plant Slant

There’s something about a rhyme that gets people’s attention. That’s why we love the catchy title of our newest materials for teaching the benefits of a plant-based diet—Plant Slant!

Plant Slant posters and banners use a colorful and simple illustration to proclaim the benefits of eating a plant-based dietary pattern with MORE vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds and LESS animal-based and processed foods.

Engage your audience by inviting them to come up with rhymes that go with the Plant Slant concept. Or put some blank sticky notes on the wall next to the Plant Slant poster and let passers-by write down their own rhymes. Who knows? You might get enough to put together your own Plant Slant Chant!

Here are some rhymes to get you started:

  • What can you eat instead of meat?
  • Please proceed to nuts and seeds.
  • Enjoy some soy, it’s not a ploy!
  • Meat’s okay, but can you skip a day?
  • Make a new routine with lentils and beans.
  • Add some fish if you wish!
  • Don’t be wary, you can have some dairy.

Let’s make nutrition education fun!

The Math of Fiber: Numbers Don’t Lie

If your clients are like most Americans, they’re not getting enough fiber. It’s time to fix this by showing them that numbers don’t lie – it’s the Math of Fiber!

  • 25 grams = recommended daily amount of fiber
  • 15 grams = actual daily intake for most Americans
  • 4 = the top health benefits of fiber: heart disease, diabetes, weight control, and gut health

These numbers add up to one key message: Eating more high fiber foods (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes) = better health for life.

Speaking of fiber, you can make things really fun with our Fiber Treasure Hunt Floor Decals. These 7” round decals each feature a photo of a food that is either a good source of fiber or provides zero grams of fiber. Arrange them on the floor and play ‘musical decals’ (like ‘musical chairs’). When the music stops, each person steps on the decal they are closest to and has to answer some questions:

  • What food is on your decal?
  • Is it a good source of fiber? (If they’re not sure, you can ask questions … ‘is it a fruit? a vegetable? a legume or whole grain?’)
  • If it’s not a good source of fiber, how could you change it to make it part of a high fiber diet (eat it with a side of veggies and brown rice?) or choose something different (fruit for dessert instead of a cupcake?).

And don’t forget to send everyone home with our Math of Fiber handout!