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!

The History of Nutrition

Even if you’re not a history nerd, you’ll want to download our latest free handout – the history of nutrition timeline. The link is permanently located at the top of our Nutrition Month Theme Page. It’s so interesting to see how our field has evolved from the early 20th century to now. Here are some things that stand out to me:

  • The first half of the 20th century was pretty much dedicated to the discovery and study of micronutrients, with vitamin B1 (thiamine) being the first discovered in 1910, iodine added to salt in 1924, vitamin D added to milk in 1933, and flour enriched with vitamins and minerals in the 1940s. By 1950, all the vitamins had been discovered.
  • Introduced in 1911, Crisco was the first manufactured food product to contain trans fat. It wasn’t until 2015 that the U.S. government determined that trans fat is unsafe.
  • The Clean Plate Club wasn’t something invented by nagging parents! It was an actual government campaign to get citizens to not waste food during World War II.
  • MyPlate, which launched in 2011, has plenty of predecessors: the Basic Four in the 60s and 70s, the Food Wheel in 1984, the Food Guide Pyramid in 1992, and MyPyramid in 2005.

Download the timeline today and let us know what stands out to YOU!

Get Ready for New Nutrition Facts

We’ve been seeing the new Nutrition Facts label on more and more products in the supermarket. It’s required to be on all food packages by 2020 for larger manufacturers and 2021 for smaller ones. So now is the time to start teaching people how to make the most of the information the new label provides.

Our Get More From a Nutrition Facts Label poster breaks things up into five teachable chunks:

  • Calories and serving size
  • Heart health
  • Added sugars and fiber
  • Nutrients
  • % Daily Value

These five topics make it easy to teach the food label in a variety of ways, depending on your audience, time, and setting:

  • Cover everything in one lesson.
  • Teach five separate lessons.
  • Break a large group up into five teams, and let each team teach the group about their assigned Nutrition Facts topic.
  • Declare your own Nutrition Facts week and set up a display in the cafeteria or your office; focus on a different Nutrition Facts topic each weekday.

Whether you’re working one-on-one with a client, teaching a class, or doing a health fair, you’ll want to have some food labels from actual products on hand:

  1. Build your own collection of food packages that have the new Nutrition Facts label. Ask friends and family to save everything from cereal boxes to yogurt containers to protein bar wrappers.
  2. Take pictures of food packages that have the new Nutrition Facts label. You can use these in a PowerPoint presentation or print them out and laminate them. These are easier to carry around than bulky food packages.
  3. If you’re looking for specific brands, check manufacturer websites and print out the Nutrition Facts label for the products you want to focus on.

Don’t forget to order some of our I Know How to Read a Food Label stickers to hand out to your participants!

Keeping it Basic for the Overwhelmed Patient with Diabetes

Learning that you have diabetes can be overwhelming. There’s blood sugar monitoring and new medication, a new meal plan or carb counting, and possibly insulin. That’s a lot to deal with! Some patients panic, others go into denial, and some do both. The patient’s spouse or caregiver may also experience these feelings.

The Way to Eat with Diabetes Handout Tearpad provides the basics without oversimplifying things. The easy-to-read format breaks information into chunks that everyone can understand.

The front side (also available as a poster) is full color and gives general tips on timing meals, eating the right carbs, making a healthy plate and knowing limits for alcohol, sweets, and unhealthy fats. There’s also a list of good food choices for people with diabetes.

The back side goes into more detail for when patients are ready to learn about:

  • ‘Slow’ and ‘fast’ carbohydrates
  • Regular, balanced meals
  • Portion sizes
  • Empty calories
  • Diabetes super foods

When the diagnosis of diabetes is new, you don’t want to deluge patients with tons of information. The Way to Eat with Diabetes is the way to go!

 

Choose Water

When it’s hot and humid, it’s time to remind people to drink plenty of water. Our Choose Water bookmarks and wristbands are perfect for this! Put them in a basket on your desk so whoever comes by can take the message home with them.

Here are a few more fun ways to nudge people towards water:

Around the water cooler

 

  • Put some of our Choose Water wristbands or bookmarks nearby.
  • Set out a bowl of lemon and lime slices for people to add to their water.
  • Write some of our water facts (below) on sticky notes and put one or two up every day for a week.

In the break room

  • Write “free – drink me!” on brightly colored paper and rubber-band it around an unopened bottle of water. Put a few of these in the break room refrigerator.
  • Be sneaky – write some of our water facts (below) on sticky notes and put them on the soda machine or near the coffee pot.
  • Serve an afternoon break with fresh fruit and water.

And here are some water facts to get you started:

  • Why do I need to drink water?
    • Water regulates your body temperature.
    • Water lubricates and cushions your joints.
    • Water protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues.
    • Water aids in digestion and getting waste out of your body.
  • When do I need to drink more water?
    • When it’s hot and humid.
    • Anytime you’re physically active.
    • When you have a fever.
    • When you’re sick with diarrhea or vomiting.
  • General success tips:
    • Drink a cup of water every morning, before coffee or tea.
    • Never pass a water fountain without stopping to take a drink.
    • Carry a water bottle with you every day.
    • Order water at restaurants instead of soda.
    • Flavor it up – add slices of lemon or lime, and other fruit.
    • When you reach for a diet soda, have a cup of water first.

Do the Calorie Math

Paleo, keto, low carb, Mediterranean – no matter the diet, it still comes down to math. Calorie math, that is! And our new Calorie Math poster has something for you to show everyone.

  • For the Counter who asks, “So how many calories should I eat?”
    • The Calorie Math poster lists average daily calorie requirements based on activity level.
  • For the Carb Hater who says, “Carbs are evil. Gimme some bacon.”
    • The Calorie Math poster shows calories per gram for carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Where is the evil? Or the fiber?
  • For the Doubter who insists, “My grandmother ate fried chicken and lived to be 92.”
    • The Calorie Math poster provides calories per pound for different foods, including the fact that fried foods have 3x the calories as non-fried.
  • For the Justifier who claims, “A few extra calories here and there won’t hurt.”
    • The Calorie Math poster shows that 3500 calories make one pound of body fat.
  • For the Reluctant Counter who says, “I don’t want to count calories all day long!”
    • The Calorie Math poster says to aim for 400-500 calorie meals.
  • For the Rationalizer who says, “My doctor told me to lose 30 pounds, but since I took a walk this morning, I can have this cupcake.”
    • The Calorie Math poster shows that walking or jogging one mile burns about 100 calories and it takes walking 35 miles to lose a pound of body fat.
  • For the Busy Mom who complains, “I sit all day at work and I’m too busy keeping the kids going and the house clean to go to the gym.”
    • The Calorie Math poster says that any movement counts, even cleaning the house.

Help your clients learn how to do the calorie math – because numbers don’t lie!

Make Your Salad a Rainbow

There are many different ways to tell people to eat more fruits and vegetables. You might say eat a plant-based diet or eat more colorful foods or eat foods that grow. But with our new Make Your Salad a Rainbow poster, the picture says it all by showcasing the natural beauty and colors of fruits and vegetables.

This poster really takes nutrition education to the next level. Display it where people will see it every day, like in the cafeteria or in a busy hallway. The picture is so beautiful, the image is bound to stick in their minds, perhaps making them add more color to their plate without even thinking about it. Those who stop long enough to read the tip boxes will get a quick lesson on the nutrients associated with each color.

With 30 fruits and veggies pictured on Make Your Salad a Rainbow poster, it would be fun to have a contest to see who can name the most.

  • In a classroom setting, you can do this in groups or individually.
  • For health fairs, pass out index cards for people to write down the items they can identify, along with their name and contact information. (We have bookmarksbuttons, and wristbands to use as prizes.)
  • If the poster is displayed in a common area (like the cafeteria or hallway), make it a crowd-sourced activity. Use sticky notes or a dry erase board for people to write the fruits and veggies they see.
  • For a different twist, post a list of the fruits and veggies pictured and see who can find them on the poster.