Real Food Grows

Consumers are easily fooled by processed foods disguised as healthy food. It might a big red strawberry on the front of a box of toaster pastries. Or it might be the name of the food itself, as in banana nut oat bran muffins.

They won’t be fooled if they remember that real food grows. Is it something that grew into what it is today? Or has it been processed with ingredients added to create a new kind of food? 

Our Real Food Grows materials get this point across beautifully. Here are some activities to go along with them:

  • Print out a list of some real foods and processed foods in random order. Have participants circle all the real foods. Then discuss why they are real and why the others are not. For a super-quick way to do this activity, use our Real Food Grows bookmarks, which have a list of items on the back.
  • Pass out a variety of real foods and processed food packages. Have each participant say whether their food grows or not. Ask them to tell what ingredients are in their item. For an apple, the ingredient will just be an apple. For an apple fritter, the list will obviously be longer. You can also ask a volunteer to be the scribe who writes the ingredients on a whiteboard or flip chart. They’ll quickly get tired of writing out the long list of ingredients in processed foods and everyone will get the point!
  • Ask questions to get a discussion going about foods disguised to be healthy… Breakfast cereals that contain fruit or nuts? Fruit and grain bars? Banana nut muffins? Oat bran pretzels? Strawberry frozen yogurt bars? Veggie straws or crisps?

It’s so simple, but we need to be reminded every day that Real Food Grows!

Fall in Love with Salad

I was recently stuck at the airport on the way home from a trip to New Orleans. It was lunch time and after a weekend of jambalaya, etouffee, gumbo, bananas Foster, and beignets, what I really wanted was a big healthy salad.

Lucky for me, I found a pretty nice pre-made salad at an airport shop. That’s the great thing about salad – you can get one just about anywhere. The catch? When it comes to nutrition, not all salads are created equal. Teach your clients to build a healthy salad wherever they are with our beautiful Salad Themed materials.

Start with our Fall In Love With Salad poster. It’s a bestseller and the content is aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, MyPlate, and the Offer Versus Serve Program. And it comes with handouts, including salad fact sheets, fun puzzles, and recipes.

Use the poster’s key healthy salad messages for individual counseling or group sessions:

  • 6 Salad Lover Tips, like choosing darker greens, piling on colorful veggies and fruits, watching out for high fat toppings, adding protein, and using a healthy but tasty dressing.
  • 3 Reasons to Love Salad: it’s a great way to fit more veggies into your day, eat fewer calories, and get more nutrients and fiber.
  • How to spice up your salad with different ingredients, like Mandarin oranges, water chestnuts, or arugula.
  • Play “what should it be?”. Create a virtual salad using the audience’s favorite vegetables and writing these down on a dry erase board. Calculate the calories quickly by googling “calories for x” with x being the vegetable and let everyone in the audience help. Add them up. Most salads are less than 100 calories. Then go to the fast food websites and check out the calories for popular salads and check out those calories, which often go above the sandwiches and burgers. Why is there a greater difference? See if the audience can guess. By putting the dressing on the side and making smarter choices they can ensure that their salad is a low-calorie choice! Check out a visual comparison here.

To remind people to eat a healthy salad every day, give them one of our I Love Salad wristbands. What’s not to love about salad?

Nutrition Facts for Everyone

The Nutrition Facts label is a valuable tool, but many people don’t use it. Maybe they’re in a hurry and don’t take time to read it. Or maybe they see a bunch of numbers and unfamiliar terms and turn the package right back over.

Tufts Researchers estimate that the new food label, showing added sugars, could save up to $31 billion dollars in health care expenses over 20 years. The amount saved for societal costs is about double that amount.

Our Food Label theme has lots of options for helping your clients make sense of the Nutrition Facts panel. A good place to start – our simple Food Label handouts, poster, and banner. This version breaks it all down to the basics, making the Nutrition Facts label easier for everyone to understand and use.

Take a look at our simple Food Label Handout Tearpad. One side has an easy-to-read Nutrition Facts panel with three basic tips on how to read it:

  • Step 1 is to Count Calories – check the serving size, calories per serving, and number of servings per package.
  • Step 2 is to Check These for Heart Health – choose foods that are lower in saturated fat and sodium; keep trans fat to zero.
  • Step 3 is to ask Is This Nutritionally Valuable? – select foods that are nutrient dense and a good source of fiber.

The other side is a very handy MyPlate Healthy Shopping List featuring healthy choices:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Lean protein
  • Whole grains
  • Low fat and low sugar dairy products
  • Other foods (like condiments and seasonings)

As you are shopping, why not create a small bookshelf of interesting packages that have good lessons? Some examples include bottles of beverages that look like one serving but are 3. Or healthful sounding rice mix packages that have a full day’s supply of sodium in a small 160 calorie serving. Or the soup that says reduced sodium that is still high in sodium for the calories it contains? And of course there is the “all natural food” that is filled with saturated fat. I am sure you have a lot of examples. These can make great ice breakers for classes, counseling sessions, and health fairs. And it can make for a fun, find the best label contest if you offer a variety of choices for the same food like a tomato soup or can of beans or packages of frozen entrees.

These handouts are the perfect start to learning to shop for healthier food. If you want a more in-depth approach, check out our Food Label Math banner, poster, and tearpad.

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD

Get 15% off all food label education items this week only by using this link.

References:

  1. https://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/fda-added-sugar-label-could-be-cost-effective-way-improve-health-generate-savings
  2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141104141731.htm

DIY Photo Booth

Registered dietitians talk a lot about fruits and vegetables. Give yourself a break from all that talking with our Colors of Health theme. Beautiful photographs of 16 fruits and veggies communicate the healthy eating message without words.

Our Color Your World With Food banner makes the perfect background for a photo booth. The simplest way to do this is to have people pose for a selfie next to the banner. Or you could make it more fun with some props. We suggest our Fruit and Vegetable Mask and Fruit and Vegetable Shaped Balloons. Fruit- and vegetable-shaped plush toys or pillows would also be good.

If you use props, people won’t be able to take their own selfies. They can hand you their phone and let you take their picture. Or you can use an iPad or your own camera, then send the pictures by email or text message with instructions to tag your organization or hashtags. You could also upload them to your Facebook page (you may need to have people sign a simple release form). This could be a great way to get more followers! People can find their picture, tag themselves, and share it with their friends.

The photo booth would go over well at a health fair. You could also set it up in a cafeteria or lobby area. This summer, it would be neat to take it on the road to a summer meal program site. Kids love to get their pictures!

And if you want to give them a little more, you can always give away our Color Your World With Food bookmarks or stickers.

We can also design any banner you can use in a DIY photo booth – send us a request for quote!

Re-portion Your Portions

It’s been 15 years since Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me documentary came out. While customers may no longer be asked if they want to “super size” their fast food meal, portions are still out of control. So if you’re looking for a topic for your next class or health fair, check out the materials in our Portion Control theme.

The high-impact photos on our Portion Control posters, banners, and tearpad will open your clients’ eyes to over-sized portions, teaching lessons like these:

  1. Take a “value meal” out of the bag and put it on a dinner plate – it barely fits! This image will pop into their minds the next time they’re ordering fast food.
  2. Split that fast food meal in half and add a side salad – now it feeds two people and the calories are cut by more than 50 percent. That’s a much better value!
  3. That bag of chips is only one serving, right? Wrong! Pre-portion single servings of chips, crackers, and other snacks so you won’t be fooled again.
  4. A massive muffin has more calories than a single meal. When baked goods like this are too tempting to pass up, take just one quarter of the muffin and fill up the rest of your plate with fruit and yogurt.
  5. Big bottles and cups of soda contain multiple servings. If you’re going to indulge, pour a single 8oz serving into a glass.
  6. You don’t have to eat the over-sized portions given to you by manufacturers and restaurants – take control of your portions!

Get 20% off all portion control education resources this week only – good through May 4, 2019. Click here – no code needed! Discount shown in cart.

 

Prediabetes = Preventdiabetes

“Prediabetes = Preventdiabetes” – this phrase on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website says it all. A diagnosis of prediabetes is serious, but you CAN take steps to prevent or delay the progression to diabetes.

Use our Prediabetes Poster and Prediabetes Color Handout Tearpad to get these important messages out:

  • What is prediabetes? If your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes, you have prediabetes.
  • Who has prediabetes? One in three U.S. adults has prediabetes. The CDC says that 90 percent don’t know they have it.
  • How does prediabetes affect me? It can lead to type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Over time, uncontrolled high blood sugar can cause kidney, nerve, and eye damage.
  • What can I do? Research shows that doing just two things can help you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes: Lose 5-7 percent of your body weight (10-14 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds) and get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, such as brisk walking.

Bring the Farm to Your Table

Farmer’s market season is right around the corner. After a winter of frozen veggies and supermarket tomatoes, local produce is going to look and taste so good!

Why not take your nutrition education on the road and set up a nutrition display at the farmer’s market? Our Bring the Farm to Your Table theme has everything you need. You may also want to check out our Farm to School items. And to really get noticed, use our Fruit and Veggie Shaped Balloons.

Here are four activities to try:

  • Q&A: Answer shoppers’ questions about items on sale at the market. Tell them how to select, store, and prepare the produce, as well as the nutrition benefits. Give them a Farm to Your Table Notepad to jot down your advice.
  • Name That Veggie: Display a few items from the market and see who can identify them. Make it tricky, like a variety of leafy greens or less-familiar fruits and vegetables. Our Bring the Farm to Your Table stickers and bookmarks make great prizes.
  • One-Bite for Kids: Have bite-size samples of market items for kids to taste. Give a special prize to those brave little tasters who try all of them. We suggest our fun Fruit and Vegetable Masks!
  • Try It & Buy It: Have samples of market items for shoppers to taste. If they go buy it, they can come back and get a prize (everyone loves our youth and adult Go Farm to Table wristbands).

Ask market vendors for free fruits and vegetables to use for your activities, since you’ll hopefully send some business their way.

Click here for 15% off our farm to table materials – discount good until the end of the week. Or use code LOVEFARM

MyPlate Goes Anywhere

Did you know that 90 percent of adults don’t eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables?* Maybe if we saw MyPlate billboards as often as we see signs for fast food or soda, this number wouldn’t be so high. Since that’s not going to happen, it’s up to us to plant the MyPlate image into everyone’s minds.

The MyPlate Start Simple poster is a great discussion-starter for helping people find simple ways to fill half of their plate with fruits and veggies, whether they’re eating at home, at a restaurant, at work, or at school.

  • At home – this should be the easiest because you’re in charge. Keep lots of fruits and veggies on hand to fill up half of your plate. Bags of pre-washed baby spinach and spring mix make it easy to fix a salad every day. Stock your freezer with a variety of frozen vegetables to steam, microwave, or roast in the oven.
  • At restaurants – you don’t have as much control, but checking out the menu online ahead of time can help. Look for vegetable sides and order an extra serving. If you’re getting subs or burritos, visually deconstruct them to see how they would look on a plate, then decide if you need to add an extra veggie or fruit, choose a salad instead of sandwich, or go easy on the rice.
  • Packing lunch – keep that plate in mind as you put your lunch together. Pile all the veggies you can onto sandwiches. Add sides of raw veggies like baby carrots and cherry tomatoes, and a piece of fruit. Or pack lunch the easy way – leftovers from a MyPlate-friendly dinner make the perfect MyPlate lunch.

*Source: CDC (read more here).

Use this link to get 15% off all MyPlate Teaching Resources – this week only! Good through April 13, 2019

Healthier choices are as easy as 1-2-3

Our Healthier Choices 123 materials provide a simple way to encourage people to make healthy lifestyle changes. The three step concept is perfect for all audiences, from busy, budget-conscious adults to short-attention-span kids.

Set up a health fair or table display with the Healthier Choices 123 poster or banner as the focal point. Then add an activity to go along with each step. Here are some ideas:

Step 1 – Drink water instead of sugary drinks.  

  • Fill an empty 20oz soda bottle with 16 teaspoons of sugar. Compare that to a bottle of water that has zero teaspoons of sugar.
  • Energy drinks, teas, and sports drinks can have as much sugar as soda. Display bottles and cans of these beverages so people can check the grams of sugar per serving.
  • Choose alternatives: water (add fruit or herbs) or unsweetened tea. Have a pitcher of ice water, small cups, and some cut up fruit for people to add.
  • Replacing one can of soda per day with water saves more than 50,000 calories in a year. Think of the money you’ll also save (tap water is free!).

Step 2 – Choose activity instead of screens.

  • How many more calories do you burn by moving instead of sitting? At least twice as many!
  • Replacing 30 minutes of screen time with 30 minutes of brisk walking will help you burn an extra 40,000+ calories per year.
  • Write different 10-minute activities on small pieces of paper or index cards (walk the dog, do laundry, vacuum, shoot baskets, etc). Fold them and put them in a large bowl or jar. Let each person take out three. When they do all three in a day, they’ll have moved for 30 minutes.

Step 3 – Choose fruits and veggies instead of sugary or fried foods.

  • Fruits and vegetables have fewer calories but more nutrients compared to foods like chips, French fries, and cookies.
  • Replacing a bag of chips with an apple will save you 25,550 calories per year.
  • Use food models, pictures, or real food to compare calories in fruit- and vegetable-rich meals vs higher fat choices. For example, you could show two meal choices at McDonald’s: a southwest grilled chicken salad (350 calories) vs a double cheeseburger & medium fries (770 calories).

As a take-home message, set out blank index cards and colorful markers. Ask people to write or draw the healthier choice they plan to make for each step. Tell them to keep the card in their wallet or on their refrigerator – wherever it will remind them of the changes they want to make.

Click here to get 15% off this collection for the first week of April 2019.

Heart Healthy Cooking Demos Made Easy

The recently released 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease recommends a healthy plant-based or Mediterranean-like diet high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, lean vegetable or animal protein (preferably fish), and vegetable fiber. Sound familiar?

No matter how much people know about heart-healthy eating, the hard part is putting it into practice. Show them how to remake their favorite dishes with a heart-healthy cooking demo.

Why cooking demos? Because we think there’s no better way to get the message across than with food. Show people how to cook, let them taste healthy food, and they’re more likely to try it at home.

Cooking demos are great for:

  • Employee lunch-and-learns
  • Community classes
  • Parent nights at school
  • Health fairs
  • Home school groups
  • Women’s shelters
  • Food pantries
  • Afterschool programs
  • Drug/alcohol rehab
  • Church groups
  • Senior centers

Cooking in front of a crowd may sound daunting, but our Cooking Demo Book and CD Kit will make you look like a Food Network Star. The 300+ page book contains more than 30 lessons plus PowerPoint shows on Recipe Modification and Menu Planning & Shopping Tips.

Each lesson includes:

  • Leader guide
  • Recipes (tested and simple, with easy-to-find, affordable ingredients)
  • Make-ahead & presentation tips
  • Shopping & equipment lists
  • Handouts

For heart-healthy eating, we suggest the lessons on:

  • High fiber
  • Fish
  • Fruits & veggies
  • Hypertension
  • Vegetarian cooking
  • Beans
  • Grains
  • Recipe modification
  • Heart healthy recipes
  • Meet MyPlate

For makeovers, it is always great to show these switches, featured in all of our cooking demo kits:

  • Whole milk to skim milk
  • Butter to olive oil
  • A little grated Parmesan cheese instead of a lot of grated regular cheese like mozzarella or cheddar
  • Adding more veggies for most recipes
  • Lean ground beef or turkey instead of regular ground beef
  • Using more beans instead of meat

You’ll also want to check out our MyPlate Cooking Demo Book & CD, Home Run Cooking Book and Demo Program, and Cooking Demo Toolkit.

Get 15% off all heart health education materials now through the end of March 2019!