Fight Information Overload

Your students, employees, and clients are bombarded with information everywhere they go. Sadly, many of the nutrition and health education messages we teach get tuned out or lost in information overload.

One way to get your information tuned in, not out, is to use short, to-the-point messages that will catch and keep people’s attention.

We have lots of posters that do this, but here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Three Steps to Mindful Eating touches on the basics of eating more mindfully, like eating only when you’re hungry, slowing down, and savoring the food.
  2. Nutrition at a Glance hits on each component of healthy eating by taking a big picture look at macronutrients, vitamins and minerals, and processed food.
  3. Two Tools highlights how using MyPlate and the nutrition facts label can help you shop for, plan, and prepare healthy meals.
  4. Healthier Choices 1, 2, 3 promotes three simple switches that can make a big impact on fighting childhood and adult obesity.

To break through information overload, you can’t go wrong with catching people’s attention and then keeping things simple.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Lighten Things Up with Humor

Nutrition is a serious topic, but sometimes a little humor can help you get your point across. The Nutrition Education Store has lots of fun posters that convey important information in a lighthearted way.

One example is the See-Food Diet/Don’t Get Hooked poster.

The subject of this poster is a beautiful fish (made up of fruits and vegetables of course!) swimming along in the sea. The fish is tempted by hook after hook baited with not-so-healthy food choices like soda, chili dogs, cake, and candy. But if the fish looks down just a little, it sees a treasure chest spilling over with healthier food choices.

The message? Don’t eat everything you see. Don’t get hooked!

Here are some talking points to go along with this colorful and fun poster:

  • Ask some questions about what’s going on in the illustration…
    • Who is fishing? (food companies)
    • Who is the fish? (consumers)
    • What hooks catch your attention in real life? (billboards, ads, supermarket displays)
  • Talk about how mindful eating can help you ignore the hooks. Ask yourself…
    • Am I really hungry?
    • Do I want to eat because I just saw a fast food billboard?
  • Discuss the fact that hooks with unhealthy choices are always within reach.
    • When you bite once, another will appear.
    • It’s a cycle that’s hard to stop once you start.
  • Emphasize that you have to bait your own hooks!
    • There is a treasure trove of tasty, healthy foods, but they probably aren’t dangling on a hook right in front of your eyes.
    • Put healthy choices where you’ll see them – whether that’s at eye level in the refrigerator or in a fruit bowl on the table.

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

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Building Blocks for a Healthy Body

Are you looking for a poster that teaches an important message and brings a smile to everyone’s face? We have a brand-new poster that fits the bill – check out the Healthy Diet Means Stronger Body-Building Blocks poster.

This poster features building blocks (like the wooden blocks kids play with) stacked in the shape of a body. The building blocks are covered in real photos of a variety of healthy foods.

The message? When you have the right building blocks, you can build yourself a healthy and strong body.

We’ve also run a series on the Food and Health blog that takes a look at each individual building block. Check it out!

Here are some talking points to go along with this eye-catching poster:

  1. The building blocks needed for a strong body are healthy foods and beverages, plus adequate sleep and exercise.
  2. The building blocks of a healthy diet include the five MyPlate food groups:
    • fruits
    • vegetables
    • whole grains
    • protein
    • dairy/calcium
  3. The building blocks of a healthy diet are made up of real food, not fast food or highly processed foods.
    • Can your students identify all the healthy foods depicted on the blocks?
  4. The text on the poster reminds us to get enough sleep and exercise, and to drink water instead of sugary beverages.
  5. If you remove one of the building blocks, the body in the poster will topple.
    • Think about fad diets that cut out an entire food group!

The new Healthy Diet Means Stronger Body-Building Blocks poster is perfect for classrooms, gyms, cafeterias, bulletin boards, offices, and waiting areas.

3 Steps to More Whole Grains

September is Whole Grains Month. The typical American diet is high in refined grains, but most people don’t eat enough whole grains.

Here’s a 3-step approach to eating more whole grains that you can share with your classes, patients, or clients:

  1. Simple Swaps:  Whole wheat bread for white bread; brown rice for white rice; bran flakes for corn flakes. Our Go for the Whole Grain color tearpad shows lots of possible substitutions for refined grains.
  2. Easy Add Ins:  Add oats to your smoothie; use buckwheat flour for a portion of the all-purpose flour in a recipe; top your spinach salad with a spoonful of cooked quinoa. You’ll find these tips and more in our Grains are for Brains PowerPoint set.
  3. Grain Adventures:  Be brave … try a whole grain you’ve never eaten before! Our All About Whole Grains color tearpad shows pictures of grains many folks have probably never seen. Experiment and see what you like.

Other ways to get into the spirit of Whole Grains Month:

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

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Menu Planning for Everyone!

Menu planning is key to a healthy dietary pattern, but many folks don’t give it much thought, think it’s too hard, or don’t know where to start.

The tools in our Heart Healthy Menu Planning theme can help you teach the basics of meal planning to just about anyone – students, parents, employees, or clients.

It starts with the Heart Healthy Menu Planning Dry-Erase Poster. Planning meals is a breeze when you have the steps right in front of you. Pick a heart healthy protein, vegetable, whole grain, fruit, and dairy product – voila!

Here’s a fun activity to do with groups or individuals:

  1. Review the basics of heart healthy menu planning using the poster, color handout, or Dry-Erase Wall Decal.
  2. Ask participants to think about days when eating healthfully is particularly challenging. Maybe it’s when they work late, haven’t been to the supermarket, or eat at a restaurant.
  3. Have them use the Heart Healthy Menu Planner to plan a day’s worth of meals and snacks (or just one meal), taking into account those challenging situations.
  4. Here are some examples of scenarios to get your audience thinking…
    • You’re dining at your favorite restaurant that night.
    • It’s meatless Monday (for all meals or just dinner).
    • You’re taking a road trip.
    • The power has gone out but you still need to eat.
    • You’re eating lunch in the school or work cafeteria that day.
    • You just don’t feel like cooking!
  5. Send everyone home with new ideas for planning heart healthy meals no matter what’s going on. The Heart Healthy Menu Planner color handout is perfect for this!

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

(Mis)information & the American Diet

Consumers are constantly bombarded with (mis)information about food and nutrition.

Many of your clients, employees, or students probably feel frustrated about the conflicting nutrition messages they get from news reports, blogs, ads, food packages, and social media – not to mention what they hear from friends and family members.

What can you do? Knowledge is power, so one answer is to help them learn about the many systems that influence our food choices. That’s the focus of our American Diet PowerPoint presentation.

In just 30 minutes, the American Diet PowerPoint presentation covers topics like GMOs, functional foods, magic bullets and healthcare, marketing and ads, fad diets, consumer perception, and convenience foods.

With this new knowledge and awareness, your audience will be better equipped to deal with all the nutrition messages coming at them. They’ll be a big step closer to becoming critical thinkers who are mindful in the decisions they make about what they eat and drink.

The American Diet presentation appeals to a variety of audiences. You’ll find it useful for:

  • Employee lunch & learn sessions
  • Webinars
  • Presentations to community groups
  • High school students
  • Parents and teachers
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Continuous play in waiting rooms

 

Let’s Get People Moving!

Exercise is so important to health, yet most Americans lead sedentary lives and only 20% of adults and adolescents meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Here are some ways you can promote physical activity to your clients, students, or employees:

  1. All ages benefit. From preschoolers to octagenarians, movement makes a difference. Tailor your message to the age group you’re working with.
    • The Move Your Way campaign has free materials like short videos, social media messages, graphics, and GIFs (many in Spanish) that target different populations, including adults, older adults, parents and kids, and pregnant/postpartum women.
  2. Any movement counts. Simply sitting less is a step in the right direction and has benefits. The same goes for the movement you do while cleaning the house or playing with the kids.
    • Be Active Everyday Your Own Way is a simple handout with guidance for kids and adults. It also shows that everyday activities like walking the dog and washing dishes counts as movement.
    • Home Exercise poster is a light-hearted reminder that you don’t need to join a gym or run a marathon. You can get movement throughout your day and in the comfort of your own home.
  3. Take advantage of transitions. Going back to the office after working from home due to the pandemic is a great time to start a new exercise habit. The same goes for other life transitions like having a baby or starting a new school year.
  4. Find a health motivator. Exercise has so many immediate and long-term benefits that everyone is bound to relate to at least one of them.
    • Not sleeping well? Diagnosed with high blood pressure? Dealing with anxiety? Physical activity has immediate effects on these issues.
    • Worried about your risk of developing cancer, diabetes, depression, or dementia? Physical activity has long-term effects on these conditions (and many more!).
    • 3 Prong Exercise Plan to Stop Prediabetes is an example of targeting a health condition many folks might be worrying about.
  5. Manage a health condition. Exercise can help…
    • Decrease pain for those with osteoarthritis.
    • Reduce disease progression for hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
    • Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
    • Improve cognition for those with dementia, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, and Parkinson’s disease.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

 

Let the Games Begin!

The Tokyo Olympic games begin later this month. Why not bring the Olympic spirit to your workplace, classes, or individual counseling sessions?

The five Olympic Rings fit nicely with MyPlate’s five food groups. Here are some ways to turn your nutrition education into the MyPlate Olympics:

  1. Discuss MyPlate and the five food groups, one for each Olympic Ring.
    • Have participants choose one ring/food group they need to work on. Maybe their plate doesn’t have enough veggies or perhaps they skip dairy frequently, for example.
    • Or challenge everyone to come up with five meals or snacks that are convenient, easy to make, and follow MyPlate guidelines.
  2. Give an Olympic twist to our MyPlate Trivia Game or MyPlate Bingo Game. See who can earn a gold, silver, or bronze medal with their MyPlate knowledge.
  3. Decorate your office, waiting area, or hallway with our MyPlate Bulletin Board Kit. Print out a graphic of the Olympic Rings or other Olympic symbols to go with it.
    • Add a spot where people can answer a question, such as ‘what’s your favorite Olympic sport?’
    • Or highlight local athletes who will be competing in the Tokyo games.
  4. Make an Olympic Rings fruit and/or veggie tray. Here’s one example, and there are many more if you search on Pinterest. Challenge your clients or employees to post pictures of their creations on social media.

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Got a Sweet Tooth?

From berries to watermelon to peaches, some of our favorite fruits are now in season. It’s the perfect time to turn that sweet tooth into a fruit tooth! 

Help your clients or students learn to reach for fruit — not candy and rich desserts — when they get that craving for something sweet. They’ll be rewarded with a little bit of sweetness and a lot of taste and nutrition. 

Here are some teaching tips to promote fruit during the summer or any time of the year:

  • Host a class based on our Fruit Tooth Dessert Cookbook, which showcases beautiful and delicious (not to mention healthy) desserts that can be enjoyed at home or taken to summer potlucks.
  • Run weekly contests on social media — think prettiest fruit dessert, most creative fruit salsa, or best fruit salad combination. Include categories for canned and frozen fruit, too.
  • Decorate with our Focus on Fruits bulletin board kit. It comes with an activity guide plus three handouts: How to make a smoothie, fruit and yogurt snack recipes, and how to make a watermelon cake.
  • When COVID restrictions aren’t a concern, set up a make-your-own fruit and yogurt sundae bar for your classroom or office.

Enjoy your summer fruits! July is Berry Month, Blueberry Month, and Watermelon Month. August is Peach Month.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

5 Ways to Brighten Up Your Space

Look around your office, classroom, or cafeteria … do you see drab walls with outdated posters? Or do you see vibrant colors and positive messages? 

It might be time to brighten up your space. We have everything you need, and posters are just the beginning!

  1. Floor decals are a unique way to add some color and nutrition messages where people will be surprised to see them. 
  2. Walloons are balloon-shaped wall decals and they come in sets. 
  3. Salad bar and table top signs are appropriate for school and workplace cafeterias, plus they’re portable so you can take them to health fairs as well.
  4. Bulletin board kits give you a big bang for your buck. Posters, photos, and handouts make beautiful bulletin board displays with little work on your part.
    • With the Four Seasons poster value set, all you have to do is change the display every season and use the accompanying handouts, which include recipes, seasonal shopping lists, and seasonal fitness activities.
    • Or promote MyPlate with kits for adults and kids. Both kits come with beautiful color photos of healthy foods. 
  5. Posters are tried and true. And our posters are NOT boring. A few favorites:

Happy decorating!

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD