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/post-partum women.
  2. Any movement counts. Simply sitting less is a step in the right direction and has benefits. The same goes for 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 in 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.

15% off all products use code HOTSUMMER21

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


Happy Birthday, MyPlate!

MyPlate turns 10 in June. Celebrate with these 10 tips for teaching with MyPlate, using materials from NutritionEducationStore.com and MyPlate.gov:

  1. One look says it all. MyPlate is so successful because one glance tells you what you need to know about healthy eating.
    • Get the MyPlate graphic in 22 languages here.
  2. Use the App. With the Start Simple with MyPlate app, users pick simple daily food goals, see real-time progress, and earn badges along the way.
  3. Post the day’s menu with MyPlate. Our MyPlate Erasable Menu poster reminds everyone how to make healthy choices in the cafeteria.
  4. Look down. Who expects to see MyPlate on the floor?!
  5. Get cooking! Show your patients, clients, or students how to cook the MyPlate way with the MyPlate Cooking Demo Ideas Book and CD.
  6. Quiz time. Let everyone show what they know with online MyPlate Quizzes.
  7. Eat with your eyes. Take MyPlate further by using MyPlate Food Photos to show real, healthy, mouthwatering foods that go on real plates.
  8. MyPlate for moms. MyPlate is for everyone, but expecting and nursing moms need a few extra pointers provided by the MyPlate for Pregnant and Nursing Moms poster.
    • Bonus: It’s in Spanish on one side and English on the other.
  9. You’re never too old for MyPlate. Seniors will get a kick out of their own Healthy MyPlate for Older Americans.
  10. Make a plan. Get your personalized MyPlate Plan (English and Spanish) by entering age, sex, height, weight, and activity level. 

Find more ways to celebrate MyPlate’s 10th birthday here. Download free MyPlate Toolkits here.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

45 is the New 50

When it comes to screening for colorectal cancer (CRC), 45 is the new 50.

That’s because CRC rates have increased for people under the age of 50, prompting experts to lower the recommended age to begin screening for those at average risk for the disease.

As nutrition and health educators, we can teach diet- and lifestyle-related changes that lower the risk of developing CRC. But reminding people to get screened is also important, as many put off that first colonoscopy or fail to follow their doctor’s recommendation for future screenings.

Here are a few ways to incorporate CRC prevention into individual or group education:

  1. Explore the microbiome. Because gut health is related to colon cancer, our Microbiome PowerPoint and handout set is a great way to introduce people to this emerging topic. You’ll also want to check out the gut health poster and even a floor decal to go along with this theme.
  2. Discuss GI health in general using our Nutritional Strategies for Colon Health PowerPoint and handout set. This presentation includes information on diverticular disease as well as CRC.
  3. Promote MyPlate and regular physical activity. These topics may seem simple and routine, but when people eat the MyPlate way and move more every day, they’re cutting their risk of developing CRC. And because high intake of processed meats is also linked to CRC, be sure to emphasize that Real Food Grows.

Many people put off CRC screening because of the dreaded colonoscopy, so it may help to let them know that other screening options might be available.

Read more about the new colon cancer screening guidelines here.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD



Summer of Salad

Never underestimate the power of a simple cooking demo!

I recently had the opportunity to watch a virtual cooking demo by my friend and colleague Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD (you can view it here). She prepared a simple fruit salad with a lime juice dressing and a quinoa salad with fresh baby spinach and chickpeas.

The final product looked so good that I added the ingredients to my shopping list so that I can make both salads at home. And it got me thinking about all the salads we can make as summer arrives and more fresh, local fruits and vegetables become available.

Whether you work with individual or groups, consider making this the Summer of Salad with these ideas:

  1. Salad-themed bulletin boards displays: Our square vinyl banners come with PDFs that give you display and activity ideas. There are so many to choose from:
  2. Summer of Salad recipe contest
  3. Build-a-Salad demonstration (in-person or virtual)
  4. Summer of Salad social media posts:
    • Easy tip: Challenge yourself to make a new salad each week, then snap a picture and post it to social media.
  5. Salad-related giveaways:

If you’re serious about salads, check out our Salad Secrets cookbook and CD. It contains everything you need to make your Summer of Salad promotion a success!

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD


Two-Pronged Approach to Healthy Retirement

When planning for retirement, most people don’t think about healthcare expenses.

Yet, healthcare expenditures increase dramatically for people age 65 and older. We’re talking an average of $12,411/year compared to $5,644/year for someone age 18-64.*

Medicare helps, but it doesn’t cover all medical costs. And some medications and procedures may not be covered at all, leaving retirees with unexpected medical bills.

The answer? Take a two-pronged approach to retirement planning:

  1. Take care of your money: Consult with a financial planner to learn how to plan for retirement by saving and investing your money.
  2. Take care of your body: Consult with a registered dietitian and other health professionals to stay as healthy as possible, which could help you avoid high healthcare costs during your golden years.

Our Men’s Health Bootcamp and Women’s Health Bootcamp PowerPoint shows are perfect for teaching your clients, students, or employees how to take care of their bodies for a healthy retirement. Each covers common diseases for American men and women, including causes, symptoms, and prevention strategies for each condition.

These Bootcamp presentations are versatile, so you can use all or parts of each one depending on your audience. Here are a few ideas:

  • Partner with a financial planner to offer a bootcamp-themed webinar series on healthy retirement, from both a financial standpoint and a health standpoint.
  • Plan a series of social media posts or emails about taking care of your body now for a healthy retirement.
  • If you work with teens or high school students, find out if they take a course on budgeting or personal finance. See if you can incorporate some of the Men’s and Women’s Health Bootcamp PowerPoint shows into discussions on retirement planning.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

*Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Mean expenditure per person by age groups, United States, 2018. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Generated interactively: May 2021. https://meps.ahrq.gov/mepstrends/hc_use/.


Let’s Talk About Sleep!

Nutrition and wellness educators talk a lot about eating right and staying active, but we can’t forget about the importance of sleep. Inadequate sleep is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, elevated blood sugar, high blood pressure, heart disease, mental distress, and even early death.

Here are some ways to incorporate some sleep education into your work:

  1. Raise awareness about the importance of sleep by creating a bulletin board display that centers around our Sleep Right poster.
    • In addition to listing the benefits of sleep, this poster explains how nutrition and exercise can impact sleep, and gives hours of sleep recommendations by age group.
  2. Assign your students or clients (or yourself!) some homework:
    • Read the popular book, Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD.
    • Watch Matthew Walker’s TED Talk – Sleep is Your Superpower.
  3. Invite a sleep expert to talk to your weight management group or other audiences. An expert can provide valuable information about sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
    • Obesity can cause sleep apnea and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent it.

Remember to get those important ZZZs yourself!

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Learn to Love Vegetables

Americans do not have a good relationship with vegetables.

Almost 90 percent of us don’t meet intake recommendations for vegetables (2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines). And even more of us fail to eat enough from the five vegetable subgroups: dark green; red and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy; and other.

Yet, plant-based eating is a hot topic. There’s something wrong here!

How can we help our clients or students learn to love vegetables? It starts with the basics – how to select, store, and prepare different veggies.

If your students or clients can’t work with veggies hands-on, the next best thing is our Building a Plant-Based Eating Pattern: Vegetables DVD.

This DVD offers an unbelievable amount of material – everything from the nutrients and health benefits of different veggies to their flavor profiles and culinary uses. But my favorite parts are the cooking demos that show kitchen hacks for preparing all types of vegetables to perfection.

You can use the cooking demos on this DVD all year long to show your clients or students how to prepare what’s in season. One demo shows how to use roasted tomatoes, onions, and peppers to make a marinara sauce that’s served over zucchini noodles – perfect for the summer farmers market season. Other demos show how to prepare veggies like artichokes, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and more.

Even the best home cooks (and the most seasoned registered dietitians!) will learn something new from these fun segments that show how to use every part of plants and learn to love vegetables.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD