Food Shopping During a Pandemic

You may not be able to take your clients on a supermarket tour, but we have the next best thing. Use our 6 Grocery Shopping PowerPoint Tour Guides to hold virtual food shopping workshops.

This kit contains PowerPoint shopping lessons for every audience:

With COVID-19, people will have questions about food shopping. Below are teaching tips for two topics people are most concerned with right now — budget and safety.

Healthy shopping on a budget during COVID-19: Many people who have never needed food assistance now find themselves in need. Be ready to help them find and use resources such as —

Safe shopping during COVID-19: 

  • It’s safer to shop online for curbside pickup or delivery, but some people don’t like the idea of a stranger picking out their fresh produce or meat. What to do?
    • Remind folks that most stores have trained employees to choose well. If you’re not satisfied, plan a short shopping trip to purchase the fresh items on your list. For everything else, use pickup or delivery.
    • Shop farmer’s markets, roadside stands, and smaller specialty stores for fresh produce, as long as safety protocols are followed. This way you can choose your fresh items without having to walk through large, crowded supermarkets.
    • If you’re a senior or have a high-risk condition, take advantage of early shopping hours specifically for you. Stores will be cleaner and less crowded.
  • People worry about getting coronavirus from touching items in the store, but they really need to be concerned with high touch surfaces like shopping carts, door knobs, and credit card machines. Keep your hands off of your face while shopping, use hand sanitizer when you leave the store, then wash your hands when you get home and again after putting away groceries.
  • Check out these resources from FDA: Shopping for food during the COVID-19 pandemic (article) and 12 Tips for Grocery Shopping During the Pandemic (video).

Getting Zzz’s during COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic might be keeping your clients up at night. Or it may be causing them to sleep too much. Both scenarios are concerning because sleep is key to good health.

Sleep problems can impact body weight, mood, and brain function. Sleep deficiency is linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and depression.

Our Sleep Right Poster teaches the benefits of sleep and how to eat, drink, and exercise to get a good night’s sleep. You could use it to start a conversation with your clients about how they’re sleeping these days. Maybe they can identify with one (or more) of these anti-sleep behaviors:

  1. Screen-checkers are on their devices right up until bedtime. The blue light from screens interferes with your body’s production of melatonin, which can make it hard to fall asleep. Turn off your devices at least an hour before bedtime.
  2. Mind-racers have trouble quieting their brain to get into sleep mode. Calm down with physical relaxation exercises, meditation, or soothing bedtime stories (use podcasts or apps like Calm and Headspace).
  3. Toss-and-turners try to force sleep. If you can’t fall asleep within 15-30 minutes, staying in bed is just going to make it worse. Get up and do something quiet and relaxing until you feel sleepy. But keep the lights low.
  4. Catch-uppers sleep late on the weekends to make up for sleepless weeknights. It’s best to have a consistent bedtime and wake-up time every day of the week. And a pre-bedtime routine lets your brain and body know it’s almost time for sleep.
  5. Nappers come in two varieties. Power-nappers take short naps that are refreshing and make them more productive. Long-nappers take — you guessed it — long naps that leave them feeling groggy and can interfere with night-time sleep. Napping after 3pm isn’t a good idea.

There are also lots of sleep-related apps you can try. Check out this list from Healthline.com.

 

 

Obesity, Severe Obesity & COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its list of underlying medical conditions that put individuals at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. One of the changes is obesity.

The CDC says that strong and consistent evidence now shows that obesity with a BMI of 30+ increases risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Previously, only severe obesity (BMI of 40+) was linked to complications. (See the evidence used to determine risks here.)

This means that more Americans are in danger of becoming very sick if they get COVID-19. According to the CDC, about 42 percent of U.S. adults have obesity, while about 9 percent have severe obesity.

With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise across the country, what can nutrition and health educators do?

1. Remind people who have obesity to be even more careful to protect themselves. The CDC advises:

  • Limit your interactions with other people as much as possible.
  • Take precautions to prevent getting COVID-19 when you do interact with others.
  • If you start feeling sick and think you may have COVID-19, get in touch with your healthcare provider within 24 hours.

2. Empower people who have obesity to make changes to lose weight (or at least maintain their weight during these stressful times). Our 12 Lessons of Wellness & Weight Loss Program program is perfect for this:

  • With 12 PowerPoint shows, you can customize the program. Spread the 12 lessons over a month, several months, or a year. Or let your clients choose which lesson(s) they want to tackle first.
  • Use the included Leader Guide to create contests and incentives for each lesson. Since your audience will likely be viewing the lessons from home, it’s nice to add the personal touch of sending them a handwritten note or prizes like our wristbands, stickers, and bookmarks.
  • Supplement the PowerPoint shows with printed material. We provide PDF handout sets for each lesson so you can send them to participants.

The CDC emphasizes that we’re learning more about COVID-19 every day. Make sure to keep your clients, employees, and students up to date. And remind them to wear a mask!

Sit Less, Move More when Working from Home

COVID-19 has changed many people’s exercise habits. Some of us are getting outside more with the kids, taking walks, hiking, and cycling. Others miss the gym and group exercise classes, finding it hard to get motivated to move on our own.

Even if you’re exercising regularly, it’s also important to sit less and move more throughout the day. Working from home probably impacts this type of movement. Maybe you’re not walking from the bus stop to the office building anymore. Maybe you’re not leaving your desk for meetings. And taking a break could mean just walking a few steps to the kitchen or bathroom.

Our Workday Workout Poster provides tips to help people sit less and move more during the workday. Here’s how to tweak the message for those working from home due to COVID-19:

  1. Turn your commute to a workout: If you no longer have a commute, take a walk or ride your bike around the block before you start your workday.
  2. Hit the gym at lunchtime: If going to the gym isn’t an option, plan on doing a workout video when you break for lunch. Or schedule three 10-minute exercise videos throughout your day. YouTube has plenty of choices for all levels and time constraints.
  3. Walk while you talk: You can still do this! Walk around the house while you talk on the phone. Take a walk outside if you’re on a longer phone call or virtual meeting when it’s appropriate.
  4. Work standing up: Ask your boss about getting a standing desk for home. If that’s not an option, try putting your laptop on the kitchen counter or an ironing board. Make it a habit to stand up during conference calls or virtual meetings.
  5. Meet, don’t just text: When you’re in the office, you can walk over to a co-worker’s desk instead of texting or sending an email. When you’re working from home, you’ll have to be more creative, unless your co-worker is your neighbor! One option is to think about who you could walk to see if you were in the office. When you’re ready to send them a message, get up and walk around the house or up and down a flight of stairs just before (or right after) you hit send.

Some of these tips might seem small, but getting into the habit of doing lots of smaller things will ensure that you’re moving more throughout the day no matter where you’re working.

 

Nutrition Education in the COVID-19 Era

What does nutrition and health education look like in the COVID-19 era? People want to know how to …

  • Stay healthy, boost their immune system, and reduce their chance of catching the virus.
  • Prevent or manage chronic diseases, like diabetes, that can lead to serious COVID-19 complications.
  • Save money at the supermarket and cook healthy meals at home.

We have a collection of COVID-19 Era Nutrition Education materials to help you teach these topics. But what about social distancing and people who want to learn in a no-contact setting? The PowerPoint shows in our COVID-19 collection make it easy to offer engaging online workshops that meet your clients’ needs.

Here’s one example of how you could use our shows:

Saving money at the supermarket is a hot topic right now. You could offer a two-part online series that appeals to the broad audience of folks who, pre-COVID, were in the habit of eating out a lot.

Start out by dispelling the myth that healthy food is expensive – our Healthy Eating on a Budget PowerPoint presentation proves it. Your clients will learn:

  • Cost per ounce and nutrition facts for choices from each MyPlate food group.
  • How to plan meals, build a shopping list, and limit food waste.
  • Budget-friendly ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
  • Lots of other money-saving tips.

Since saving money means cooking at home more, the second part of your online series should be our 25 Ingredients Into 15 Fast Healthy Meals PowerPoint show. With real photos of real food, your audience will learn to prepare a week’s worth of low-fat, high-fiber meals. We even provide tips on how to use our recipes for your own cooking demo in case you want to add that to your online workshop.

If this idea for a two-part workshop series doesn’t work for you, just change it up. Maybe split the information into 15-minute sessions. And all of our PowerPoint shows come with downloadable handouts that you can send to clients as a follow-up to what they’ve learned.

If you are planning in-person classes or events, check out our new custom printed face masks

COVID-19, Obesity, & Weight Loss

The link between obesity and COVID-19 is scary. For people who’ve struggled with their weight for years, it might be a much-needed wake-up call. They may be ready to face the issue head-on, once and for all.

So how can we help them succeed? If you’re working with a chronic dieter, chances are the scale is not a friend. Daily or even weekly weigh-ins might do more harm than good.

Yes, research shows that people who weigh themselves frequently are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off. But for some people, the number on the scale holds too much power. Whether it’s up or down, it can sabotage even the best of intentions.

Take the focus (and power) away from that daily number on the scale by looking at Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference. Our BMI 101 PowerPoint lesson teaches people how to calculate their BMI, measure waist circumference, and take steps to lower both.

Here are some tips for using BMI and waist circumference to help people get to a healthy weight:

Talk to your clients about how they relate to the scale. Does seeing the number go up cause a downward spiral of self-hate and emotional eating, followed by a vow to start fresh tomorrow? Does the thrill of seeing the number go down make you think, ‘I’ve been good, so I can afford to have a little treat today’?

Calculate your BMI: use an online BMI calculator or the Body Mass Index Table.

  • BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 = overweight.
  • BMI of 30.0+ = obese.
  • CDC warns that a BMI of 40+ puts people at higher risk for complications from COVID-19.

Measure waist circumference accurately by following instructions found here. It’s probably worth it to measure three times and take an average.

  • A waist circumference of more than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for non-pregnant women increases the risk of obesity-related chronic diseases.

Set a realistic goal:

  • Lowering BMI by 2-3 points is enough to improve weight-related health risks. This is equivalent to a 10% weight loss in overweight or obese individuals.
  • Reducing waist circumference indicates the loss of abdominal fat, even if BMI doesn’t go down. This helps reduce your risk of heart disease.

Remind your clients to practice self-care, especially during the pandemic. Stress and poor sleep habits make it hard to lose weight, so focus on these things as you make other lifestyle changes.

Use the code MYPLATE to get 10% off plus free shipping for all items now.

Clearing Up Coronavirus Confusion

There’s a lot of coronavirus confusion out there. From news reports and press conferences to social media and rumors, your clients, employees, and students are constantly exposed to new and sometimes conflicting information.

You can help clear up this confusion by sharing accurate, science-based information about the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve done the work for you with our new COVID-19 PowerPoint show with handouts. By learning the basics about the pandemic, we hope people will be better informed, stay safe, and even take steps to improve their health.

Here’s a sample of some of the many questions people are asking about the pandemic. Use them as a starting point for clearing up coronavirus confusion:

How can I stay safe? First and foremost, reiterate what everyone has been hearing about handwashing, wearing a mask, social distancing, and staying home when you’re sick. See all of the CDC’s prevention tips here.

How can I strengthen my immune system? This is a common question and many people are looking for a quick answer. Spoiler alert — there is none. But they can take this three-pronged approach to support good health and prevent chronic diseases:

  1. Eat a healthy diet that’s plant based, with plenty of fiber (MyPlate is always a good way to teach this!).
  2. Exercise at least 2.5 hours/week for adults (find more guidelines and the Move Your Way campaign here).
  3. Sleep well (see CDC tips here).

Can I go out? People are tired of staying home. As they see businesses opening up, they’ll want to get out more. But for some high-risk groups, this isn’t a good idea. Older adults and people who have certain underlying medical conditions need to take extra precautions. If you’re not high-risk, look out for those most vulnerable to COVID-19 by helping them with errands and wearing a mask. (Get the facts here.)

Do I have coronavirus? While you shouldn’t hesitate to call 911 when necessary, the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker can help you figure out if you need to call your doctor to see about being tested.

As professionals, let’s keep the positive, science-based information coming! Spread the facts on social media using the CDC’s coronavirus social media kit.

Farmer’s Markets & COVID-19

May marks the beginning of the farmer’s market season in many parts of the country. With COVID-19, most markets will open as planned, with social distancing, handwashing stations, online ordering, curbside delivery, and other changes to make shopping safe for everyone.

This is a good time to encourage your clients to support their local farmer’s market or farm stand. Farmers aren’t selling as much produce to restaurants, so they need the income as well as something to do with their harvest. And we need healthy food!

Here are six teaching tips for farmer’s market season:

1. Let your clients know the many benefits of shopping farm stands and markets.

  • Markets are a source of healthy, locally-grown food.
  • Locally-grown food is in season and at its peak for taste and nutrition.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables supply a host of nutrients that boost your immune system.
  • If farmers go out of business, this source of healthy local food won’t be available to us in the future.

2. Emphasize that fresh produce from farmer’s markets and farm stands (and for that matter, grocery stores) is safe to eat.

  • According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is no evidence that food or food packaging is involved with the transmission of COVID-19 (up-to-date information is available on their website and on this PDF).
  • Follow basic COVID-19 safety guidelines when shopping:
    • Check before you go – some markets and farmers are doing online-only pre-ordering.
    • Wash your hands before and after shopping.
    • Wear a mask and stay at least six feet from others.
    • Don’t touch the food. Many vendors will have produce bagged and ready. Let them get it for you.
    • Pay with your debit/credit/SNAP card and avoid using cash.
    • Be patient – with extra safety measures it may take more time than usual.
    • Get what you need and go – avoid socializing.
  • When you get home, rinse all produce (follow FDA’s normal tips).

3. Remind clients that real food grows … and you can find it at the farmer’s market! See our beautiful Real Food Grows poster that conveys this message.

  • Did the food you’re looking at grow into what it now is, or has it been processed with other elements to create a new food?
  • Processed foods are usually calorie-dense, high in unhealthy types of fat, refined sugars, and sodium, and low in fiber.

4. Use our poster to teach people how fruits and veggies from the farmer’s market make you a winner!

  • Weight – fruits and veggies are naturally low in calories and help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • I am healthier – eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies is associated with a lower risk for many chronic diseases.
  • Nutrients – fruits and veggies are major contributors for nutrients most people are lacking.

5. Make it fun to learn about the fruits and vegetables you’ll probably see at the farmer’s market with the Vegetable Cooking Program or Name That Fruit and Veggie Game.

6. Remind clients who use SNAP that their food dollars may go further when they buy fresh produce. Most states have programs that provide a dollar for dollar match when you use your SNAP/EBT card to buy fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets and some retail stores. (Find out more about Double Up Bucks and similar incentive programs here.)

And don’t forget about community supported agriculture (CSA)! Find out what’s available in your area so you can give your clients all the information they need to get a steady supply of fresh, local healthy produce all season long.

Nutrition & Health Education During COVID-19

With social distancing and school closings, you may be wondering what to do about nutrition and health education. Many people, from musicians to personal trainers to artists, are sharing their expertise and talent with the world by way of Zoom, YouTube, Facebook Live, and other virtual ways of connecting. You can do this too!

If the thought scares you, start small. Do some trial runs with family and friends as your virtual audience. And really, don’t worry about messing up. Even the pros make mistakes.

As far as what topics to cover, the possibilities are endless. Give your audience a break from thinking about the coronavirus. Keep it light, but still provide some good information.

Health calendar observances are good sources of inspiration. There is a food or health topic for almost every day of the year. Some are official, others not so much. But as long as your information is accurate, go for it.

Health calendars we like:

Below are some ideas to get you thinking … these are mostly official health weeks and months. Look for a future post about more light-hearted topics, like National Garlic Day (April 19), Salsa Month (May), and National Hummus Day (May 13).

March/April:

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (March 30–April 5):  The goal of this week is to connect teens to resources to SHATTER THE MYTHS® about drugs and alcohol. There are online and downloadable versions of the 2020 National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge and plenty of activities that teens, parents, and teachers can do from home.

April:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month:  The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders has a toolkit as well as simple tips you can share, covering topics like probiotics, exercise, and fiber. If you want a deep dive into gut health, check out our Microbiome PowerPoint.

National Minority Health Month:  This year’s theme is Active & Healthy, with a focus on simple ways to move more to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and other conditions that are often more common or severe among racial and ethnic minority groups. You could focus on ways to get exercise when we’re all staying home because of COVID-19, like dancing, walking, household chores, or bouncing on an exercise ball while binge-watching.

World Health Day (April 7):  World Health Day 2020 will honor nurses and midwives, which is particularly appropriate given their role on the front lines of fighting COVID-19. The World Health Organization’s calls to action include asking the general public to “show nurses and midwives your appreciation for their work and thank them for what they do to keep us healthy.” Invite your clients, students, and colleagues to thank a nurse or midwife they know (or work with) by posting on social media using the tag #SupportNursesAndMidwives.

Every Kid Healthy Week (April 20–24):  Every Kid Healthy™ Week celebrates school health and wellness achievements. Each day of the week spotlights actions schools and families are taking to improve the health and wellness of their kids. While most schools closed due to COVID-19, Action for Healthy Kids provides plenty of “do this at home” ideas and activities. Each weekday has a topic and we have some fantastic materials that would go with them:

May:

Food Allergy Awareness Week (May 10-16):  Help the public learn more about food allergies by sharing information from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT). A good place to start is their downloadable 10 FAACTS About Food Allergies poster. If your audience includes new or expecting parents, you could talk about peanut early introduction guidelines from Food Allergy Research & Education. We have some great resources as well: a fun Food Allergy Poster and our Food Allergies (They’re Nothing to Sneeze At!) PowerPoint with handouts.

National High Blood Pressure Education Month:  The CDC says that about 28% of American adults aged 18 years or older have prehypertension, so educating folks about preventing and controlling high blood pressure is an important message for many. We have lots of blood pressure materials to help, including PowerPoint shows like Blood Pressure 101, Blood Pressure Trivia Game, and Four Lessons to Lower Blood Pressure. You could also talk about the DASH Diet and make your own sodium test tubes, using sandwich bags if necessary.

World No Tobacco Day (May 31):  The World Health Organization leads this effort against smoking, specifically working to keep youth from falling prey to tobacco marketing and advertising campaigns. With the popularity of e-cigarettes, our Dangers of Vaping poster is just what you need to address this important topic. For more info and resources on vaping, see this recent blog post. We also have a Living Tobacco Free PowerPoint show.

This is just a sample of health calendar observances you can share with your clients or students. Remember to keep it light and make it fun!

Here are some popular presentations from NutritionEducationStore.com: