Holiday MyPlate

As a special holiday bonus, I want to offer you the wonderful MyPlate handout that accompanies the Holiday MyPlate poster. If you like what you see, it’s not too late to pick up some last minute-holiday resources in the Nutrition Education Store — now’s the perfect time to prepare for those New Year’s resolutions…

Holiday times are here! This means a lot more activity and disruption to regular meal and exercise patterns. The good news is that you can remember MyPlate’s most important message to lower calories and eat healthier! Make half your plate fruits and veggies.

Here is how to adopt that message during the crazy holiday rush:

#1. Fill appetizer plates halfway with vegetables.

Look at the savings:

Plate 1: 546 calories

  • 4 mini quiche: 240
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese: 226
  • 5 crackers: 80 calories

Plate 2: 145 calories

  • 1 cup carrots and celery 25
  • 2 mini quiche: 120

Visualize a plate before you eat snacks (and bring your snacks!).

Are you zooming through the mall and tempted by large pretzels, cookies, and cinnamon rolls? They smell great and offer holiday spirit except they are really bad news for your waist. We have become oblivious to lare sizes because they are everywhere. Picture that item on a dinner plate. Does a cinnamon roll or pretzel likely take up a whole plate? That is too much! Bring an apple in your bag or choose a healthier item from the food court.

#2. Fill dessert plates halfway with fruit.

Instead of filling up your plate with pie, cake, brownies, and cookies, fill it up with fruit and leave room for a small slice or piece of one favorite treat.

Consider the savings:

Plate 1: 900 calories

  • Pecan pie slice: 500
  • 1 butter cookie: 200
  • Peppermint brownie: 200

Plate 2: 145 calories

  • 1 cup fresh fruit: 90
  • 1 cookie or 1/2 of a pie slice: 200 calories

Hint: bring a beautiful fresh fruit salad or bowl of fruit so you can have this option.

#3. Make a healthy plate for lunch and dinner.

No matter where you eat, using the MyPlate method of portion control can help you lower calories.

  • 1 big bowl of pasta with meatballs: 900 calories
  • MyPlate method: 1/4 pasta, 1/4 meatball, and 1/2 veggies = 400 calories

Make MyPlate at home, when you eat out, and when you are a guest somewhere else. It works in the cafeteria, the food court, the drive through and office parties!

#4. Eat a healthy snack plate with fruits and veggies before going to a party.

Okay so we realize it is not always easy to eat MyPlate at someone else’s house or the office party. So here is one more strategy. Eat your MyPlate fruits and veggies before you go out. Eat a small salad and a piece of fruit — that way when you go somewhere you can have a smaller serving of what they are offering and you won’t arrive starved only to fill up on a whole plate of fried chicken or fatty roast beef and fritters.

Will this be helpful for you or your clients? If so, don’t miss the free PDF handout available below. Normally it’s exclusive for people who buy the Holiday MyPlate poster, but I want to make an exception today…

Holiday MyPlate

Great Way to Visualize Calorie Density

Calorie Density and Your Belly

Most people eat until they feel satisfied or full, and this is why portion control alone will not work for weight loss. To lose weight without chronic hunger, you need to choose the right foods — the ones that are low in calorie density. The illustration above shows 400 calories of 3 different foods: oil, protein and vegetables. 1 cup of broccoli is about 53 calories so you would need to eat 8 cups to get 400 calories. You would only need about 1/4 cup of olive oil for 400 calories. And 1.3 cups of chopped chicken would equal about 400 calories.

What is “calorie density”?
Calorie density is defined as the concentration of calories in a given weight of food. Comparing calories per pound, ounce, or gram provides a useful way to compare foods for weight loss purposes.

Why is calorie density important?
Foods with a high calorie density provide MORE calories than foods with a low calorie density. For example, your favorite chocolate candy bar is far more calorie dense than a low-fat green leafy salad.

Let’s take a look at that in more depth. Two ounces of chocolate contains 240 calories. To eat the same amount of calories in lettuce, you would have to eat 3.2 pounds of lettuce! Of course you can probably fit in a little chocolate into your eating plan, but if all of the foods you eat are that calorie-dense you will be starving yourself to keep the portions very small so that you don’t consume too many calories. And we all know where that leads us — to diet failure and weight regain.

How does calorie density aid weight loss?
A Penn State study (Am J Clin Nutr 69:863-871) looked at how lean and obese women ate. Study subjects ate all their meals in a testing laboratory for 4-day periods. They were required to eat the entire portion of the main dish at each meal (and this main dish varied in calorie density). Otherwise, they could eat whatever they wanted during meals and snacks. When the calorie density of the main dish was lower, the women ate fewer calories over the day. Their calorie intake decreased by 16 percent, yet they felt just as full.

Okay, so how do I choose foods that are low in calorie density?
We don’t want to bore you with huge lists and charts of foods. Just remember that the best foods are fruits, vegetables, cooked grains (especially cooked whole grains) and low-fat dairy products (without sugar). Water- and fiber-rich foods are the best choices for weight control.

Very low-calorie-dense foods have 0 to 0.5 calories per gram. These include non-starchy vegetables, many fruits, skim milk, and light nonfat yogurt.

Low-calorie-dense foods have 0.6 to 1.4 calories per gram. These include starchy vegetables, cooked grains (barley, rice, pasta), canned beans, canned fruit, skinless turkey breast, low-fat fish, and shrimp.

Medium-calorie-dense foods have 1.5 to 3.9 calories per gram. These include chicken breast, whole-wheat bread, apple pie, bagels, lean ground beef, and dried fruit.

High-calorie-dense foods have 4.0 to 9.0 calories per gram. These include baked and regular chips, croissants, cookies, French fries, pretzels, oils, margarine, cake, and many other high-fat/high-sugar foods. Most people are surprised to find that many fat-free snacks and cookies fall in this category too.

Compare a few popular foods by calories per gram to understand how fat and fiber have an impact on the calorie density of foods:

  • A skinless, roasted chicken breast provides fewer calories by weight than lean ground beef because it is lower in fat.
  • An apple has 0.6 calories and apple pie has 2.4 calories per gram. The addition of fat, white flour, and sugar increases calorie density. This comparison helps you realize that it is better to choose whole foods versus refined foods.

Get a fun portion control science project here!

There are more portion control resources:

Nutrition Math Quiz

Recently I was asked for STEM nutrition and health materials. Do you ever address STEM topics with your clients?

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, and these subjects are a priority among many of the educators I know. To add one more resource to your arsenal of STEM topics, I am proud to present this quick nutrition math quiz, which can be used in your next email blast or as an icebreaker for your next presentation (or however else you’d like).

Nutrition Math Quiz:

Question #1: How many ounces of liquid are there in a cup?

A) 4
B) 6
C) 8
D) 1o

Question #2: At what temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit) does water usually boil?

A) 202
B) 212
C) 222
D) 500

Question #3: How many grams of sugar are there in a teaspoon?

A) 4
B) 8
C) 12
D) 16

Question #4: What is the energy density of a pound of flour?

A) 1651
B) 1492
C) 1000
D) 6

Question #5: What is the energy density of a pound of sugar?

A) 1558
B) 1607
C) 1775
D) 2000

BONUS: Compare the energy density of a pound of potatoes with the energy density of a pound of French fries.

Nutrition Math Quiz Answers:

  1. C) 8
  2. B) 212, though altitude affects the boiling point. To calculate the temperature at which water boils in your area, take 1 degree away from 212 for every 500 feet you are above sea level.
  3. A) 4
  4. A) 1651
  5. C) 1775
  6. Bonus: A pound of potatoes has roughly 347 calories, while a pound of French fries has approximately 1,415 calories. The regular potatoes have roughly 1/4 of the energy density of French fries, which makes them the more healthful option because they are lower in calories and empty calories, yet higher in nutrients than their fried counterparts.

Here is a collection of other fabulous STEM resources…

 

Quick Display Idea: Fruit

Adding a bit more fruit to an eating pattern is a great way to squeeze in a bunch of nutrients without excess calories, but some fruits are higher in calories than others. In fact, some fruits are even processed in such a way that they come with a boatload of empty calories and added sugars.

Help your audience navigate the fruit landscape with this quick and pretty display of fruit.

Arrange the following items in a highly-visible part of your space and make cards that list the calorie content of each item. For an activity, have people match the cards to the fruit. For a non-interactive display, simply place each card by the fruit it describes.

  • 1 fresh apple: 71 calories
  • 1 cup apple juice: 116 calories
  • 1 cup canned peaches in juice: 160 calories
  • 1/2 cup raisins: 216 calories
  • 1 cup canned peaches in heavy syrup: 251 calories

This display will show participants that dried fruit and canned fruit in heavy syrup are much higher in calories than their less-processed counterparts.

Variations and Additions:

  • To add more depth to the display, note the fiber content of each item. This is especially useful when comparing the apple and its juice, since a whole apple contains almost 3.5 grams of fiber, while the juice does not contain any fiber at all.
  • For a temporary display or discussion, place actual servings of all the fruit in this list in glass containers on a table. For a more lasting display, use images, food models, or empty packages instead. This can be done on a table or a bulletin board.
  • Instead of comparing total calories or calories per serving, you could also compare sugars, highlighting hidden sources of added sugars in each food.

For other great fruit activity and display ideas, don’t miss these amazing materials!

Sneak Peek from the Member Library

Have you heard about the Food and Health Membership program? It’s chock-full of fantastic resources for educators, including…

  • Access to all materials with a comprehensive, searchable database that is loaded with nutrition articles, chef-tested recipes, and engaging handouts.
  • White-label newsletters that you can use to create your own content.
  • Memorable handouts. Access all of these handouts in a library that is categorized for easy use.
  • Presentation and interactive project ideas for wellness fairs, classes, lunch-and-learn sessions, cooking demonstrations, and health fairs.
  • Chef-developed and exhaustively-tested recipes for meals that are both delicious and healthful.
  • The latest food news and scientific research. (Since we don’t accept outside funding or sponsorship of any kind, we can bring you the latest news, free of bias).
  • A translation tool that helps you translate all your articles for non-English-speaking clients. You can copy and paste to create handouts in all languages!
  • A food and health celebrations calendar that features monthly themes, food- and health-related holidays, seasonal produce, relevant clip art, handouts, and more.
  • Satisfaction, guaranteed!

holiday

Today I want to share one of those popular articles with you. Lisa C. Andrews, MEd, RD, LD has put together a great guide for throwing and attending healthful holiday parties this year. Here’s what she has to say…

The holidays come upon us fast, and so can holiday weight gain… if you’re not careful. Below are some simple swaps to prevent “a little round belly that shakes when you laugh like a bowl full of jelly.”

1. Serve veggies and dip for appetizers. Pepper strips, grape tomatoes, and cucumbers look beautiful when arranged around a bowl of hummus or dip.

2. Swap plain Greek yogurt for sour cream in your favorite dips. Your guests likely won’t notice the change and they’ll get a nice dose of protein and calcium.

3. Sauté onions and garlic for stuffing in non-stick spray or low sodium broth in place of oil, butter, or margarine.

4. Try mashed sweet potatoes with orange juice, ginger, and cinnamon in place of marshmallows, brown sugar, and butter.

5. Use 1% or 2% milk in mashed potatoes in place of whole milk or heavy cream. This cuts calories and fat from the dish.

6. Keep selzter water on hand for “mocktails”. Pour over ice and add a twist of lime. Voila! No hangover.

7. Use whipped butter or light margarine in place of stick butter. This reduces fat and calories.

8. Use reduced-fat mayonnaise in place of full-fat mayonnaise in dips and dressings. Olive oil varieties provide heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
9. Try a salad dressing spritzer in place of bottled dressings. Blend olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and dijon mustard together for your own dressing.

10. Substitute jarred baby prunes, mashed bananas, applesauce, or plain yogurt for the fat in baked goods (such as quick breads).

11. Split desserts with your spouse, a friend, or other party guests. You may not be hungry for a full piece of pie, anyway.

12. Chop vegetables and add them to soups, stews, salads, and casseroles. This boosts the fiber and nutrient content, and also adds color to your dish.

13. Add seasonal fruit such as apples, pears, or pomegranates to salads in place of dried fruit. This adds texture and taste to your salad while reducing added sugar.

By Lisa C. Andrews, MEd, RD, LD

Remember, this article (and thousands of others) was only available to members until I decided to preview it today. If you liked what you saw, check out what a membership entails or just sign up today!

Oh, and here’s a printable version of the handout Lisa wrote…

trim

And here are some other holiday resources…

 

Doggy Bag Safety

I love “doggy bags.”

We don’t have a dog and most of the time those leftovers are for me.

With the size of many restaurant portions these days, it’s only wise to bring part of your food home for another meal… or possibly two. Whether you’re really taking the food home for the dog or yourself, it’s also important to keep it safe.

That’s where the “two hour rule” comes in.

Doggy Bag

Perishable food left at room temperature for more than two hours may become unsafe to eat. Remember, it becomes the “one hour rule” when temperatures are hotter than 90 degrees outside. Think about how hot the inside of a car can get. Bacteria grow very quickly at these temperatures.

If you’re planning on a movie or a little shopping after dinner, then it’s not safe to leave the food to sit in the car for that extra time. Bring a cooler with ice if you know you’re probably going to get a doggy bag… that’s a good thought whether you’re going straight home or not.

Once you get that doggy bag safely home, think about rewrapping those leftovers and putting them in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Those little foam boxes aren’t airtight and don’t do a great job of keeping the food moist and fresh.

The storage temperature of the leftovers is another key thing to think about. Refrigerators should be kept at 41 degrees or below.

I was recently impressed when my container of restaurant leftovers came with food safety instructions. I think this was smart of them, wanting to keep their customers safe. This container was also sealed a little tigher than most.  As well as not spilling in the car on the way home, it helped to keep odors from other foods in the refrigerator from co-mingling with my leftover pasta. Their instructions for keeping the food safe were even a little more strict than I usually go by. But, less can be better in this instance.

Storage Instructions

Refrigerated food doesn’t keep forever. If you dine out a lot, then those little  containers tend to multiply uneaten in the refrigerator. The best recommendation is to plan on eating those leftovers within three to four days of bringing them home. Remember that you can’t always see, taste, or smell the bacteria in food that may make you sick.

For safety’s sake, leftover food should be heated thoroughly before eating.

This means to heat it to 165 degrees F. The only way to make sure you’re doing that is to use a food thermometer. When heating in a microwave, stir during cooking and allow some standing time for the temperatures to unify.

While it may seem wasteful, keep in mind the old saying: “when in doubt… throw it out!” Wasting a little food is not worth the risk of a foodborne illness. If you can’t keep the food safe, then you may as well leave it in the restaurant in the first place.

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University

Using a Doggy Bag for Calorie Savings:

Provided that you keep your doggy bag food safe, you can save some serious calories by cutting your restaurant entree in half.

Here are some examples:

  • The Lasagna Classico at Olive Garden weighs in at 930 calories per plate, with 470 of those calories coming from fat. If you split the meal and saved half for a different day, storing the rest in a doggie bag for later, then you would only consume 465 calories in the restaurant, which is a much more reasonable portion than the original.
  • The Ultimate Bacon Burger at Chili’s is another contender for the doggie bag approach. If you split the burger in half and save half for another meal, you’ll save 515 calories! Now if you ate the whole thing, the grand total for this meal (without fries!) would be 1030 calories. Do you see how a doggie bag can make a huge difference in portion control?
  • An All-American Slam breakfast at Denny’s has 990 calories per plate. If you only ate half, you’d bring the portion size down to a much more reasonable 495 calories.

If you were to make all 3 of these changes, you would save 1,475 calories over the course of those meals!

Plus, by putting the rest of a given meal in a doggy bag and following food-safe methods, you will have a whole other meal at your disposal. This in turn makes your restaurant choices stretch farther on a budget.

Here are some additional portion control resources…

And here’s a doggy bag safety handout, just for you!

Food Safety When Taking Restaurant Meals Home: A Handout

DoggieBagFoodSafety

The Fat Poster Story

Lately, we have gotten a lot of requests for materials that show the levels of sugar and fat in foods. Of course, we set out right away to make great infographic posters that provide a sea of knowledge at a glance. Now we have the antidote to the fast food commercial right here!

Here are a few things we learned about fat and fast food along the way…

_FHC2360

  • The big double burgers are really heavy when you start carrying them around a photo studio. When you refrigerate one, it becomes very stiff. Most items from a fast food restaurant became sort of scary to us when they got cold, because the amount of fat became way more apparent. If only they would chill and dissect these things in high school!
  • There is a lot of fat and not much fiber in many popular menu choices. For every 1,000 calories you eat, you are supposed to get 14 grams of fiber, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In one 1,500 calorie jumbo meal (large fries, large drink, double burger) at a fast food restaurant, there were only 8 grams of fiber and 75 grams of fat. This means that roughly 45% of all the calories in that meal are from fat. That’s almost double the amount of fat and half the amount of fiber that should be in an ideal meal. The calories are about triple what the average person should eat in one meal too.
  • Size matters. You really could do better if you ordered a small burger, apples, and a drink that does not have added sugar. That meal would only have 270 calories and 9 grams of fat. It can be ordered as a kid’s meal, which means that you can still save money instead of ordering the jumbo value meal with 5X the calories!
  • The dressing packets for the salads are very big. We would never pour that much dressing on a salad. But if you do, it’s easy to eat way too much.
  • Chicken and salad are not always the best choices. You should read the Nutrition Facts before choosing your meal. Frying chicken results in triple the fat content when compared to chicken that is roasted. And big packets of high-fat dressing or cheese really ratchet up the fat on a salad, too.
  • The onion rings contain the same amount of fat as the French fries. We are scared to admit that that surprised us in a good way. We thought it would be more.

_FHC2393-2

 

  • But the fast food onion rings, to our taste, are not as delicious as the ones you buy in the freezer section of the grocery store. We do bake those from time to time and use them to garnish a home cooked meal. But we only eat a few, like 3-4 at that meal.
  • An onion ring investigation revealed that the frozen onion rings from the grocery store (Ore Ida) contain half the calories and fat as the same size portion of onion rings from Burger King. The really great thing about making onion rings at home is that you commit to the portion and bake them for 20 minutes. Seconds would take too long to cook again!
  • A large order of fries will fill an entire dinner plate:

_FHC2385

  • It takes about 5-9 minutes to order and pick up your meal from a fast food restaurant if you are not in rush hour or at a really busy place.
  • You will bring over 1,500 calories and 75 grams of fat into your car if you order the large fries, the large double burger, and the large sweetened iced tea.
  • Those calories would take 10 hours of vacuuming to burn off. Or about 2 hours and 20 minutes of running, which, for most people, is the equivalent of running a half marathon. The trouble is, after consuming that much fat, you probably wouldn’t even want to walk around the block!
  • The items in this single meal would fill 2 dinner plates and 4 water glasses. Would you really serve that much food at home to one person?
  • You can make better choices if you “know before you go.” One great thing about the drive through, is that you can order sensibly before you are hit with the aroma of French fries!

So, without further ado, here is our Fat Poster masterpiece:

fat

 

Next week, we will publish the story about the sugar poster. But you don’t have to wait to preorder them.

Buy both posters together today!

candyfat

 

Make Great Grilled Salads at Home!

Sliced RomaineI’m always on the lookout for ways to eat, serve, and enjoy more vegetables. Salads are winners, but sometimes the toppings tend to pile on more calories and sodium than I want.

Caesar salad is a great example. It sounds healthy in the beginning, but the high-fat dressing, huge dose of cheese, and heaps of croutons frequently outweigh the benefits of the dark green leafy Romaine lettuce. A tablespoon of a typical Caesar dressing contains around 8.5 grams of fat and roughly 80 calories. This can be cut a little by using a lower-calorie version, but then you increase the amount of sugar and maybe even sodium.

But the foundation is sound. Romaine is a great green, high in vitamins K, A and folate. Like other greens, it’s almost fat-free and low in calories, with about 50 calories in a half a head and a bonus of dietary fiber (6.5 grams that same half head). Romaine is usually the basis for the Caesar salad, so let’s capitalize on it.

How?

By putting it on the grill.

Recently my husband and I went to a new restaurant in our community. I was surprised to see a “grilled Caesar salad” on the menu.  It brought back memories of a similar salad I had in a restaurant in Baltimore over 15 years ago. I was so glad to be reminded of something I had enjoyed, and that in turn inspired me to give my own twist on this other way to enjoy a salad.

I fired up the grill and decided to try a grilled salad of my own. It’s so simple and a winner! Plus, it really doesn’t need dressing or croutons and a small amount of cheese goes a long way! When I served it for the first time, I had guests going back for seconds on salads. Now how often does that happen?!

Want to try it for yourself?

Here’s what I did.

On the grill!I started with full heads of Romaine lettuce. I washed and pulled of any wilted leaves, leaving much of the core intact so that the leaves still clung together. (Nutrition tip: keep as many of those dark green outer leaves as possible).

I then cut the heads in half and washed them again. After that, I put a small amount of olive oil (about one tablespoon) and some (about 1 ½ teaspoon) dried garlic seasoning into a large zip-top bag and shook it around. I used garlic seasoning since it’s in a Caesar salad, but you could experiment with anything. Then I added the Romaine heads and refrigerated them in the marinade, shaking the bag a couple of times to coat the lettuce with the oil and seasoning.

I’ve seen recipes online that didn’t put the lettuce in a bag and brushed the leaves with oil just before putting on the grill.  I’m guessing this would work well, too. This was just my way of getting the work done early. It also eliminated a brush and allowed me to take the seasoned lettuce straight to the grill.

Once you’ve got the Romaine on the grill, the key is timing. It doesn’t take long:three to four minutes on each side at the most. The lettuce should be slightly charred and a little smoky. I topped each head with grated Parmesan cheese and served it to my guests. I don’t think it needed any other dressing, but a small amount of low-fat Caesar dressing could be added. Yum!

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University

And here’s a printable handout with the recipe! How will you use your copy?

Grilled Caesar Salad

Don’t miss these other amazing salad resources from the Nutrition Education Store!

Quiz: Make a Healthy Plate

Quizzes are great vehicles for teaching key health lessons and making sure they stick. Today, as a special treat, I’d like to share one of the quizzes from the PowerPoint show Make a Healthy Plate. This show is one of the chapters in the 12 More Lessons of Wellness and Weight Loss program, which is a comprehensive employee weight loss program.

Are you ready for the sneak peek?

Which Plate?

All right, here’s the quiz. Take a look at the slide above. Which plate has the most calories? Is it Plate A, with a chicken fried steak and fries, or is it Plate B, the one filled with a chicken and vegetable stir fry alongside some brown rice?

Answer Slide

You may not be surprised to see that it’s Plate A that has the most calories, but look at how many more calories it has than Plate B. Plate A has 1,121 calories, while Plate B has only 356 calories. That’s a 765 calorie difference!

A closer look at Plate A

Let’s take a closer look at each plate. You get the calorie total in Plate A by combining an 8-ounce fried steak — which has 521 calories — with 6 ounces worth of French fries. That serving has 600 calories, which brings the total up to 1,121 calories. The fat content is nothing to sneeze at either. When the 21 grams of fat in the steak join the 33 fat grams in the fries, they add up to 54 total grams of fat on that plate alone!

Plate B

Now let’s do the same math for Plate B. A single cup of carrots and a cup of broccoli each have 54 calories. The chicken breast has another 140 calories, and the brown rice has 108 calories. When you add all that up, you get 356 calories for the plate. And the fat grams are much smaller as well. Each cup of vegetables has less than 1 gram of fat, and the brown rice has none at all. The chicken breast has 3 grams of fat, which brings the fat total for the whole plate to roughly 4 grams of fat.

That’s where I’m going to end the slide preview for today. This excerpt comes from pretty early in the Healthy Plate PowerPoint. The show goes on to cover the basics of MyPlate, the components of each My Plate food group, strategies for eyeballing the correct portions, ways to calculate the total calories on your plate, and even methods for “shrinking your plate” at each meal. Fun pop quizzes pepper the presentation, which ends with a review of its most important points.

And that’s just 1 chapter of the 12 that are featured in the 12 More Lessons of Wellness and Weight Loss program! I wasn’t kidding when I said that it was comprehensive. Check out the details for the 12 lessons in the link below…

Here’s a PDF copy of all the slides you saw today — feel free to use the quiz however you’d like!

Healthy Plate

And here are some other great resources from the Nutrition Education Store!

Finding Success on the Path to Wellness

Have I mentioned that I just updated all of our comprehensive wellness programs?

Because I have, and I’m really proud of what my team and I have created. The latest updates include information from the 2015-2020 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, along with a streamlined presentation platform and general improvements that will make these resources more fun for your audience.

So to celebrate that excitement, I’m sharing some slides from one of the most popular programs, The 12 Lessons of Wellness. Today’s preview comes from the show Getting Started, and the slides I’ve chosen offer advice for staying motivated and sidestepping pitfalls on the path to good health.

Let’s take a closer look!

FaceChallenges

As you embark on any path to wellness, you’ll eventually encounter a few stumbling blocks. That’s totally normal! If you plan ahead, it will be easier to overcome those obstacles and continue on your road to success.

Make sure to have a plan B for when the going gets a bit tougher. Fill your freezer with healthy meals. Prep healthy snacks and store them in the fridge or pantry. Keep some in the car in case an on-the-go craving strikes. Speaking of putting things in the car, toss a few exercise clothes in the trunk so that you’re always prepared for a workout. This will help you avoid skipping workouts because you didn’t plan ahead, and it will also ensure that you are prepared if an unexpected exercise opportunity pops up.

Remember that reaching and maintain a healthy weight is your lifetime plan. When you feel discouraged, focus on your successes and review your reasons for wanting to lose weight in the first place.

SpecialOccasions

Now let’s delve into some detail. How can you stay motivated during special occasions?

One tip is to eat before the party so that you aren’t starving when you face down a festive and lavish spread. While you’re there, focus on the conversation. If you do want to indulge a bit, keep things small, exercise the next day, and eat lighter for the rest of the day or the day after.

At these parties, you may encounter a weight loss saboteur or two. Avoid people who don’t support your efforts and instead find people who share your goals. Who knows? This may be a great opportunity to get a workout buddy!

SlowProgress

Let’s move on to another challenge. What happens when you hit a period of slow/no progress?

To start, have patience with yourself. Some days are easier than others. Revisit your goals and make sure that they’re realistic. You can always talk with your dietitian or doctor about your frustration too — they’ll have lots of great ideas for you.

RewardWhen it comes to keeping your motivation through health and fitness challenges, sometimes a reward is just the boost you need. Establish what your reward will be ahead of time, and remember, the reward shouldn’t be food!

It’s often helpful to set up rewards for milestones, not just the final goal. Plan a few rewards that you can earn along your path to fitness and weight loss — don’t just save one big reward for the end!

The show goes on in much more detail, but that’s where I’d like to stop the sample for today.

If you like what you see, consider exploring the 12 Lessons of Wellness and Weight Loss program. It’s one of the most comprehensive and effective programs for employee weight loss that my team and I have created, and it has been hugely popular.

And, as a special bonus, here are the free printable PDFs of the slides we previewed today!

Getting Started Sample Slides

And here are some of the top-selling weight loss resources from the Nutrition Education Store!

7 Simple Ways to Save Calories

Reward Chart Handout

Feel Full with Fewer Calories PowerPoint and Handout Set