Picture Healthy Eating

We’re seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic. People have been stressed out since March and now face a winter warning of coronavirus and flu.

Our clients, students, and employees are probably tired of being told what to do and what not to do. Do they have the capacity to follow a new diet or make big dietary changes? Maybe not.

That means we need to be creative and sneak in our message where we can. Instead of ramming diet restrictions down their throats, think about being more subtle.

How about using beautiful photographs of real food to convey the healthy eating message? Check out these items:

  • What’s on Your Fork? According to this poster, it’s mouth-watering bites of fresh, nutrient-dense foods.
  • Fork Photo Walloons. These wall decals shaped like balloons feature eye-catching photos of asparagus, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, whole wheat pasta, salmon, and a strawberry. When a picture says it all, no words are necessary!
  • Fork Stickers. Let people take home a little reminder of what healthy food looks like. Again, no words needed.
  • Choose Wisely Poster. More beautiful color photos of fruits and veggies, with the message: “You need fuel. Choose wisely.”

Everyday, people see pictures of fake food on billboards, online, and on TV. Let’s fight back by posting beautiful photos of healthy food on the walls of our offices, hallways, and cafeterias, on our social media pages, and in our classrooms.

These positive, subliminal messages might be the gentle reminder everyone needs to get back on track with healthy eating.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Diabetes Education – One Size Doesn’t Fit All

When it comes to nutrition education, one size doesn’t fit all. This is especially true for teaching people about diabetes.

As educators, we have to think about who we’re teaching:

  • Are they newly-diagnosed?
    • There’s a lot to learn.
    • They may be in denial, scared, motivated, overwhelmed, or all of the above.
  • Are they “veteran” patients?
    • They may think they know everything, but their numbers show otherwise.
    • Good habits can slip during times of stress (or a pandemic).
    • There’s always something new to learn.
  • Do they have pre-diabetes?
    • They may be motivated to do what they can to avoid or delay diabetes.
  • Are they caregivers or family members of someone who has diabetes?
    • They may want to learn all they can to help their loved one.
    • They may resent having to make changes to accommodate the person with diabetes.

We also have to consider things like motivation level and learning style. So you can see that one size definitely does not fit all!

Our 12 Lessons of Diabetes Program can help. We’ve put together a dozen PowerPoint presentations that can be used in different ways depending on who you’re teaching and what they need to learn. The 12 topics are:

  1. Diabetes basics
  2. Goal setting
  3. Know your numbers (A1C, blood pressure, cholesterol)
  4. Weight management
  5. Exercise
  6. Healthy eating
  7. Importance of breakfast
  8. Diabetes plate
  9. Carb counting and label reading
  10. Food shopping
  11. Snacks
  12. Sugar substitutes

You could use the program to offer a 12-part series. By the end, your clients will learn everything they need to live a healthy life with diabetes. Presenting information in “chunks” makes it less overwhelming. In between sessions, there’s time to digest the information and put it to use in the real world.

For clients who don’t need the entire program, you can pick and choose which sessions will be most beneficial. If they are resistant to learning, letting them choose what to cover might help.

Most importantly, the information in our 12 Lessons is always presented in a light-hearted, positive, and supportive way.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Change it Up, Little by Little

This phrase recently caught my attention: Little by little, a little becomes a lot. I even wrote it on a sticky note and put it on my refrigerator. It reminds me that small things count. They add up.

Meditating for just one minute; adding a baby spinach salad to a meal; walking around the block; cleaning one kitchen counter. Doing small things may not seem important at the moment, but over time they mean a lot. A healthier diet, more exercise, a cleaner house.

You probably have clients or patients who are all-or-nothing thinkers – they really need to hear this message! Especially now, when the pandemic disrupts our routines, and sometimes even the tiniest change feels overwhelming.

Our Change It Up theme goes well with this concept. Little by little, diet and exercise changes will add up to transform your life. It’s how you go from being the worn out fast-food caterpillar to the vibrant, beautiful butterfly.

Use the Change It Up concept to teach your clients, patients, or students that …

  • The transformation isn’t instant, but the good feeling you get from one small change takes you one baby step closer.
    • Get the good feeling by celebrating (yay, me!) when you make the choice to have an apple instead of chips.
  • Change can be overwhelming, so start small by concentrating on doing something different for just one meal.
    • Once a healthy breakfast becomes a daily habit, move on to lunch, dinner, or snacks.
  • You can’t go from the couch to a 5K overnight.
    • Going to the end of your driveway counts. Remember, small is good!
  • Nobody is perfect. You’ll mess up and that’s okay.
    • It’s easier to get back on track one small change at a time.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Take a Look at Fall Vegetables

Fall is officially here! Along with cooler temperatures, we’re excited to see a new crop of seasonal vegetables at farmer’s markets and in the supermarket.

For too many people, fall produce means pumpkins (or just pumpkin spice!) and sweet potatoes. We know that’s just the beginning, so why not offer a class on fall vegetables? We have a DVD that makes it easy for you, and it’s perfect for virtual class settings.

Our Building a Plant-Based Eating Pattern: Vegetables DVD has everything you need to teach practical skills that your audience will be able to use right away. Videos show them how to select, store, and prepare all types of vegetables. They’ll also see kitchen veggie hacks and take home healthy, delicious recipes.

The DVD breaks vegetables down into categories based on plant parts (roots, tubers, bulbs; stalks; leaves; flowers; fruits; and seeds), because these parts often have similar preparation and cooking methods.

For fall, you might want to use the lesson on Bulbs, Tubers, and Roots because so many are now in season:

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams
  • Turnips
  • Rutabagas

Through engaging videos, your audience will learn how to choose the freshest bulb, tuber, and root veggies; where to store them; and their health benefits. They’ll feel like they are right in the kitchen as we show them how to make an easy vegetable root salad with greens, shaved ginger, grated carrots, and thinly-sliced golden beets, all tossed in vinegar and oil. They’ll also see how to use baked, roasted, microwaved, and pureed veggies to make a healthy MyPlate.

The Building a Plant-Based Eating Pattern: Vegetables DVD also includes recipes you can give the audience. How do Cider Baked Sweet Potatoes, Carrot Hummus, and Raspberry & Beet Cheesecake sound?

Of course, there are many other fall vegetables covered throughout the seven lessons included in our DVD. Maybe you’ll focus on winter squash, Brussels sprouts, arugula, broccoli … the possibilities are endless!

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

 

7 Ways to Stop Stress Eating

Everyone is stressed out these days, and many turn to food for relief. But overeating isn’t the answer — it can even make things worse.

Help your clients, students, or employees with these seven ways to stop stress eating:

  1. Knowledge is power. When you learn about the relationship between food and stress, you can do something about it. Host a lunch-and-learn virtual session using our How to Manage Stress without Overeating PowerPoint with PDF handouts. If time is an issue for your audience, break the show up and hold a series of shorter sessions.
  2. Resilience: overeating is one thing, but most people get into trouble when they beat themselves up about it. Our Don’t Stress Eat color handout gives tips on how to avoid stress eating AND what to do when you do overeat.
  3. Exercise is a great stress-reliever, so don’t forget to include it in any plan to prevent or respond to stress eating. Even a five-minute walk can get your mind off food and help you deal with what’s stressing you out.
  4. Meditation is another way to handle stress. How about taking ten deep breaths before giving in to a food craving? Encourage your students and clients to try simple meditations available online or via apps. Some have free trials but then charge a fee, like Calm Headspace. But Smiling Mind and Insight Timer are free.
    • Teachers are under a great deal of stress – with this in mind, Headspace is offering free access to educators. And some apps are also offering free premium access to healthcare providers.
  5. Mindful eating can help stop stress eating before it starts. Use our 3 Steps to More Mindful Eating poster to teach this gentle, positive way to a healthier relationship with food.
  6. Sleep may be the answer for many people who use food to deal with stress. Our Sleep Right for a Healthier Life poster teaches how and why to get a good night’s sleep.
  7. Coloring is a great stress-reliever. An added bonus — it’s hard to eat while your hands are occupied! Find adult coloring books online or in bookstores and department stores. You can even print out single pages to color (just do a search for ‘free printable coloring pages’). Our MyPlate coloring books add a healthy eating message while you color.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

 

 

 

 

Fight COVID Fatigue

COVID fatigue – we all have it to some degree. But with flu season approaching and kids going back to school, this is no time to let up.

We can fight COVID fatigue by reminding our students, employees, clients (and ourselves) to take basic precautions, just like we did at the beginning of this crisis.

Here are some reminders and resources that can help you do a “COVID-19 refresh.”

1. Social distancing:

  • Use our Social Distancing Poster to cover the basics:
    • It’s keeping a safe distance between yourself and people who don’t live with you.
    • It applies whether you’re indoors or outdoors.
    • It means wearing a mask or face covering.
    • It involves staying six feet apart.
  • Provide visuals of what six feet looks like:
    • Check out this fun video that gets the message across.
    • CNN has some good visuals for six feet, like the width of a sedan, two golden retrievers, a three-person sofa, or the length of a twin mattress.
    • Here are a few more, like an adult bike or a yoga mat.
  • Social distancing also means staying home as much as possible – something a lot of us forget!

2. Handwashing:

  • Use our Handwashing Poster as a reminder to:
    • Lather well.
    • Wash long enough (20 seconds) to be effective.
    • Rinse well under running water.
    • Dry hands on clean towels or air dryers.
  • Pick a new 20-second tune:
    • Here’s a list of songs with a chorus at least 20 seconds long.
    • Have more fun with Wash Your Lyrics. Put in your favorite song and get an infographic showing hand-washing steps with 20 seconds worth of lyrics to go along.

3. Face coverings/masks:

  • Wear it correctly:
    • It goes on your face, covering your nose and mouth.
    • It doesn’t go around your neck or up on your forehead.
    • Don’t touch the mask (if you do, wash your hands).
  • Wash it: you need a clean mask every day!
  • Show how to safely put a mask on, take it off, and other tips:

Of course, it can’t hurt to give people a refresher on the coronavirus in general, which is what our Coronavirus Poster does.

These friendly reminders can help slow the spread of the virus and keep us safe until a vaccine is developed (and everyone gets it).

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

 

 

 

What’s Your Word for the Rest of 2020?

Back in January, we talked about setting a word for the year in lieu of new year’s resolutions. So much has happened since then – those words (and any resolutions) have probably been forgotten.

That’s ok, because September is much like the new year. Even if you don’t have children, there’s something about back-to-school time that feels like a fresh start.

Don’t miss this opportunity to engage your clients and students in choosing a new word or theme for the rest of the 2020. Be sure to set the right tone for the time we’re living in now:

  • Don’t dwell on what you have or haven’t done during the pandemic – this is your chance for a do-over!
  • Be realistic about what the rest of the year might bring, and how it may affect your goals.
  • Focus on positive affirmations, like the ones on our I Am motivational poster. These gentle reminders can get you back on track to a life of health and well-being:
    • Self-care: get enough sleep, forgive yourself for setbacks.
    • Diet: eat mindfully when you’re hungry, love fruits & veggies.
    • Physical activity: move more, be consistent.
    • Attitude: don’t give up!
    • Intention: make a plan and work toward success.
  • Now is the time for your 2020 re-start! Like our Change It Up theme says:
    • Eat healthier food + Be more active = You will feel transformed!

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Plan Now for the Holidays

We’re about nine weeks away from Halloween and the start of the holiday eating season.

Like always, we want to help people handle the holidays without gaining weight or giving up on healthy habits. But this year, there’s a catch – the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 will add to the stress of the holidays, making it even more important to plan how you’re going to help your clients survive the season. Get started with our Holiday Challenge Contest and Tool Kit. It has something for everyone:

  • Want to host just one class? Use Ten Strategies for the Holidays.
  • Interested in holding a competition? Use the 9-week Celebrate by Losing Weight contest.
  • Ready to do a series of virtual holiday-help sessions? We have you covered with topics like holiday eating on-the-go, exercising during the holidays, party planning, holiday MyPlate, and more!

Here are some tips you’ll want to cover, along with the “COVID catch” that makes this year different:

  1. Halloween candy — keep it out of the house!
    COVID catch: We may not even have traditional trick-or-treating, so don’t get stuck with bags of candy. Find out how your community is handling Halloween and plan accordingly.
  2. Holiday baking — tone it down!
    COVID catch: Many of us have been baking more than usual and the holidays are yet another excuse to make our favorites. Plan now to bake less, modify recipes, and find non-food crafts and gifts to make instead of bake.
  3. Exercise — keep moving!
    COVID catch: If your exercise routine is in a rut due to the pandemic, now is the time to take action. Don’t wait for the new year! Find something that you enjoy and can do for 20-30 minutes a day.
  4. Don’t go it alone — get a health buddy!
    COVID catch: Working from home and social distancing can be lonely, so start or join a friendly competition. Participants can check in daily on Facebook or Zoom. A virtual buddy might be the perfect “gift” for the holidays! Walking outside with a mask is a great way to connect with friends.

It’s never too early to start planning for the holidays! Let’s help everyone get through this COVID-19 holiday season and come out with new skills for a healthy new year.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Keep Back to School Simple with MyPlate

Virtually or in-person, kids across the country are heading back to school. This is usually the time of year when parents and caregivers resolve to pack healthy lunches, serve nutritious after-school snacks, eat dinner as a family, and start the day off right with breakfast.

Like new year’s resolutions, overly ambitious back-to-school resolutions will fade quickly. And this year, more than ever, we need to keep things simple. People have enough to worry about with COVID-19.

When I think of simple, I think of MyPlate. With this in mind, I went to the Start Simple with MyPlate section of ChooseMyPlate.gov, looking for resources you can use in classes, social media, waiting rooms, and individual sessions. Here’s what I found, along with a couple of favorites from NutritionEducationStore.com.

  • MyPlate Tips from USDA Staff: These are practical tips from real people about how they fit healthy food and movement into their busy days. Ask employees, colleagues, or clients to share their own tips, then post them on a bulletin board or social media.
  • MyPlate Kids Recipe Videos: There are lots of videos on this page, but I like the five healthy snack recipe demos. They’re short and cute – kids and adults will enjoy them. Post these on social media or play them as part of a virtual class.
  • MyPlate My Wins series of videos: The 40-second videos on meals, snacks, and beverages would be great for social media. The longer (3-4 minute) videos bring MyPlate to life by showing how real families find simple solutions to make healthy eating work for them. Play these in waiting areas or incorporate them into a Zoom class for parents and caregivers.
  • MyPlate Kitchen Recipes: Adults and teens will learn to prepare healthy recipes with these short video food demos. Use them in an online series about eating dinner as a family and cooking at home.
  • Digital MyPlate Poster and MyPlate Food Pictures: This is one of our products that you can use in so many ways. In addition to the poster, you get professional photos of real food to show food groups and portion sizes, all on a flash drive and in a downloadable digital file. Use the images on your website and social media, add them to your PowerPoint shows or anywhere you need colorful food photos.
  • MyPlate Trivia Game PowerPoint Show: Everyone loves a trivia game. Use it to liven up an online class or counseling session.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

More Cooking Demo Ideas

Last week, we explored ideas for MyPlate cooking demos that you can do on Zoom, Facebook, or YouTube (if you missed it, click here). But we can’t talk about food demos without mentioning our Cooking Demo Ideas Book & CD, which has more than 300 pages and 30+ lessons on topics like fiber, heart health, portion control, fruits, and veggies, ethnic dishes, food safety, and meal planning.

We’ve done all the work for you — tested recipes, prepared shopping lists, written speaker’s notes, created handouts, and more. You just have to decide which lessons and food demos to do! Here are some suggestions:

  1. Cooking for One – for seniors and singles who are mostly home alone during the pandemic.
  2. Budget Cooking – for families who now more than ever are on a tight budget.
  3. Kids in the Kitchen – for home-schoolers and parents who need activities for their children.
  4. No-Cook Recipes – for people with disabilities or those who don’t have everyday access to a kitchen.
  5. Fish Twice a Week – for families stuck in the chicken-beef-pork protein routine.
  6. Healthy Asian, African, Italian, Latin – for anyone who wants to broaden their cooking horizons (and avoid pricey & often unhealthy takeout!)

You can supplement your cooking demo with the two PowerPoint shows that come with the book:

  • Recipe Modification: Our best tips on modifying recipes; 50 slides with speaker’s notes.
  • Menu Planning and Shopping Tips: Three ways to plan meals; 21 slides with speaker’s notes.

Remember, our PowerPoint shows are instantly downloadable, editable, and always come with lifetime updates!