It’s Time to Change It Up!

We’re constantly bombarded with images of fast food, junk food, and processed food. Marketers know what they’re doing by getting these pictures into our subconscious minds. Well, let’s fight back! It’s time to Change It Up!

Our Change It Up theme features a gorgeous butterfly made up of real photos of fruit. Now, this is an image we want in our clients’ minds! The message is simple but impactful – transform your life with healthy food and regular physical activity. Go from a fast-food caterpillar to a healthy butterfly.

Our poster and banners come with the free Change It Up printable handout. One side provides general tips on changing up your diet (MyPlate, portion sizes, and fruits and vegetables) and every day activity. The other side offers more detailed suggestions for transforming your meals, snacks, and exercise routine.

How can you use the Change It Up materials in different settings? Glad you asked!

  • Display the banner or poster in the cafeteria, a hallway, or waiting room. (We also have a salad bar sign!) When people see the beautiful, colorful, fruit-filled butterfly every day, they’re bound to think more about healthy food.
  • Give out the stickers and bookmarks so people can take the picture and the message with them.
  • Set up a Change It Up table in the cafeteria or at a health fair. Engage visitors with questions: Are you more like the butterfly or the caterpillar? What changes can you make to transform yourself into the butterfly? Give away the Change It Up handout, stickers, and bookmarks.
  • Teach a Change It Up class. Depending on your audience, here are two lessons:
    • Focus on how small shifts in eating and activity will make everyone feel transformed.
    • Go with the caterpillar to butterfly theme. How does the image of the butterfly make you feel? How about the caterpillar? When you eat healthy food and are active, which one do you feel like? How can a healthy diet and regular exercise make you feel transformed?

Here is a handout called, 9 ways to make easy and healthy switches for a better diet and exercise plan: 9 Easy Healthy Switches Handout

Activity Idea: Making MyPlate Plates

MyPlate is an excellent tool to encourage balanced eating.

For visual learners, having an image of MyPlate is a great starting point on the road to healthful eating habits. You can take this image even farther in an interactive project. Not only will this project help cement the basics of MyPlate in the minds of your visual learners, but it will also draw in your kinetic learners as well. Almost everyone can benefit from learning by doing!

So, what’s the project? Making a physical MyPlate plate.

There are a bunch of ways to approach this, but I want to point you toward a few of my favorite styles…

Color a Paper PlateApproach #1: Color a Paper Plate

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Display an image of MyPlate and walk your clients through the basics of how and why the plate is divided. After that, you can distribute paper plates to each of your participants and let them create their own MyPlate plates with crayons or markers. They can draw their designs right on the plate!

Be sure to choose crayons or markers that are safe for kids — these won’t have harmful chemicals that could be dangerous to ingest. Not that a lot of anything would transfer from the plate to the food placed on it, but it’s best to play it safe.

If you’re distributing food as part of the activity, have people use their plates to portion out what they eat. They may want to make several MyPlate plates so that they can use the guide a few times. After all, paper plates don’t last past one meal.

Materials needed: A MyPlate image example, paper plates, and markers or crayons

Use the Plates Again and AgainApproach #2: Create Melamine Plates

To help your clients make MyPlate plates that they can use again and again, create melamine plates. These plates are embedded with the images that people draw, and they’re reusable. In fact, they can be treated just like regular plates — without fear of flaking, fading, or general destruction.

To create these plates, you’ll need a Make-A-Plate Kit with specialized markers. Hand out the plate papers from the kit to your clients after your discussion of MyPlate, and then let them use the markers to create their own MyPlate images.

This is a relatively inexpensive project that produces long-lasting results.

There is one thing to be aware of, however, and that is production delays. It often takes 2-3 weeks to return the MyPlate drawings as physical plates, so be sure to plan for this holdup.

Materials needed: A MyPlate image example, melamine plate kits, melamine plate markers, materials for shipping the plates

Approach #3: Paint Pottery Plates

For more immediate results and a long-lasting plate, there’s always painting pottery. Yes, this is a generally more expensive and involved approach than the other two, but it also often produces beautiful results. You can turn the project into a festive outing or party, and it makes a great end-of-session finale.

Hanging a MyPlate poster or enlarged drawing in the studio can help inspire your participants as they work. It also offers a great example to guide their painting.

Materials needed: MyPlate image example, a pottery studio, potted plates, paints and brushes

Try Word ArtDetails: Creating the Plates

Now that we’ve discussed a few general ways for your clients to make their own MyPlate plates, let’s get into the specifics of plate creation.

Make sure that there is an image of MyPlate available for your participants to look at as they create their plates. After all, the goal is to have an accurate guide to balanced eating available for their reference. A MyPlate with the wrong proportions on it is not helpful.

Now, when it comes to drawing the plate within the guidelines set forth by the USDA, there is plenty of room for innovation.

Yes, clients could copy the MyPlate image exactly “as is” from the USDA website, but they could also innovate when it comes to decorating the plates. For example, some participants could use pictures to highlight what goes in each section, drawing images of their favorite foods from each food group. Or each section of MyPlate could become a word cloud (as pictured here). This word cloud can also feature the foods that fit into each food group.

The possibilities are endless!

Examples, Giveaways, Prizes, Shortcuts, or Take-Home Ideas for Clients

Of course, if you’re looking for examples, giveaways, prizes, shortcuts, or take-home ideas for clients, then you need look no further than the Nutrition Education Store. At the store, you can purchase…

These are wonderful examples that people can pass around while they create their own MyPlate plates. The plates also make perfect prizes for giveaways and can be distributed as take-home ideas for clients. Plus, if you don’t have the time, budget, or resources to have participants make their own plates, these plates offer a fantastic shortcut.

So. There you have it. A bunch of ideas for a great MyPlate project. Enjoy!

By Judy Doherty, PC II and Founder of Food and Health Communications, Inc

There’s always more in the store. Check out these fantastic MyPlate resources!

MyPlate Poster

MyPlate Wristbands

MyPlate PowerPoint Presentation

MyPlate Handout for Kids

MyPlate Apron

Displays for High School

It’s been a while since I shared a reader request in this space, so today let’s talk high school.

Sucu reached out to me recently, and here’s what she wanted to know…

Hello: Do you have any resources or suggestions for a nutrition message for a high school bulletin board you can share asap. Thanks.
Healthy Regards,
Sucu

What fun!

I initially pointed Sucu to a few things we’d already made. There’s a fantastic high school poster set in the store, and a whole 12 lessons for teens program that is chock-full of display ideas for a bulletin board. My team and I have been polishing a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) collection that could come in handy too.

But then I thought I’d get more specific.

So, here’s a how-to for two different bulletin board displays for high schools.

Display #1: Skip Sugary Drinks

Teens are drinking a lot of sugary drinks these days, and that can be bad news for their health, both in terms of displacing more nutritious calories and adding excess empty calories to their eating patterns. To help educate teens about what they’re drinking, start with a bright, eye-catching poster that can make up the center of your display. This Are You Drinking Candy? poster is a particularly compelling one, and Beverage Better and Sugar Math are two other good choices, so go with whatever best fits your aesthetic.

From there, take a look at the sodas, energy drinks, and sport beverages that are available at school. Take photos of the Nutrition Facts labels on each one if you can, or print off some labels for equivalent products and highlight the sugar content of each one, along with the serving size. Scatter these images around the poster. You could also measure out the equivalent amount of sugar into these great test tubes and attach the tubes to the board near photos of each drink and its Nutrition Facts.

Fill in the remaining space with more information about the impact of sugary drinks on health. This tearpad has great handouts, and this blog post about energy drinks comes with a free printable handout that would be a good fit for this theme too.

Take a look at our collection of prizes for other resources to make your bulletin board display as engaging and memorable as possible.

Display #2: Nutrition Facts Panel

The Nutrition Facts label is changing, and there’s no reason for teens to stay in the dark. To help them learn what they need to know to use this resource to improve their eating patterns, put together a Nutrition Facts bulletin board!

You can pull a lot of inspiration from the New Nutrition Facts Label Display post that we put together in the spring of 2016.

Combine this Nutrition Facts Poster with a Food Label Handout to center your bulletin board display. Or, if you have more space, this 48-inch by 36-inch Nutrition Label Vinyl Banner would be a great way to draw people over to your display. Add a few different Nutrition Facts labels to the bulletin board, highlighting elements that are either good or bad for the kids’ health (perhaps color-coding would come in handy). Highlight only one or two aspects of each label so that they don’t get overwhelming.

Finish off the board with a few Nutrition Facts Stickers and Nutrition Facts Bookmarks to fill any empty spaces.

I hope this comes in handy for you! Keep those requests coming!

 

Fruit: Nature’s Fast Food

I’ve got a fun new poster in the store, and today I want to share a little bit about it with you!

First things first, here’s my latest creation:

I was inspired by the fresh produce available last summer at one of my local markets, so when I got home I couldn’t resist setting up a quick still life to highlight these tasty stone fruits at their peak.

Imagine my surprise when this print won 1st place in the Open Print category of the 2016 Annual Print Competition at the Palo Alto Camera Club. Ron Herman was the judge, and I was completely floored by his decision.

Soon after this picture won, I decided to feature it in my gallery showing this past winter. The showing was titled “A Visual Feast” and took place at the Avenue 25 Gallery in San Mateo California. In fact, if you look closely, you can see this photo hanging with a few other favorites in the picture below.*

I was so proud of this original photo that I decided to turn it into a poster. But what to call it?

I wanted to steer clear of additional artistic commentary and let the image speak for itself, so I focused my brainstorming on key health lessons and nutrition topics. Then, out of the blue, it hit me. Fruit is nature’s fast food! I often grab a peach or a handful of cherries on my way out the door or to snack on as I work at my desk, and I realized that these snacking habits had — over time — gradually replaced my reliance on fast food. I’m sure that this change in my routine was great news for my health, and so now I want to share that epiphany with your clients in order to encourage them to also change their habits.

And that’s how this poster came to be. How will you use it?

* This image is copyright 2017 by Len Cook @expressionfood.com

And here are some other resources that can help make your life easier…

Display of the Month: New Food Label

It’s time for another display of the month, and this one is all about the new format of the Nutrition Facts label. Did you know that these new labels are already hitting stores? Help your clients use the new food labels to improve their eating patterns by inspiring them with this great display…

The Materials:

The Activities:

  • The Label Says: Nutrition Facts Label Game
  • Food Label Comparison: What a Difference a Label Makes

The Display:

Instead of setting up a tabletop display as we’ve done in the past, this month’s display can be arranged on a bulletin board or a spare space on any wall. If you’d like to adapt it to a tabletop display, you absolutely can, and you’ll probably need a few of these fabulous Tabletop Easels to ease the transition.

Anyway, make either or both of the New Food Label Posters or Food Label Math Posters the center of your display (if you have more room, you can also use the 48-inch by 36-inch Nutrition Facts Banner). Surround your poster or banner with stickers and bookmarks so that the whole display looks like a sunburst with the posters or banner in the middle.

Either tear off a few handouts from the Nutrition Facts Tearpad or mount the whole thing to the wall just to the right of your sunbursts so that interested parties can take a sheet home for themselves. Balance the handouts on the other side with the 26-inch by 62-inch Food Label Banner and Stand. Arrange the Nutrition Facts Floor Sticker in front of your display for an extra-intriguing draw to your information, then step back and admire the view.

Activity Leader Guide:

To play The Label Says: Nutrition Facts Label Game, you’ll need a projector, a screen, and a copy of the The Label Says: Nutrition Facts Label PowerPoint presentation. Everything else you need is built into the presentation itself, so as long as you review it before you start presenting, you’ll simply need to turn it on and work your way through the slides. In this game, participants will evaluate a food based on information from its Nutrition Facts label, learning common label-reading mistakes and exploring healthful eating pattern strategies along the way. The I Know How to Read a Food Label Stickers and New Food Label Bookmarks make great prizes and incentives!

For the second activity, Food Label Comparison: What a Difference a Label Makes, you’ll need to do a bit more legwork. Bring in a few varieties of the same foods (3 fruit juices, 3 cans of beans, etc) that each have different Nutrition Facts. Compare across the types of foods and find the most healthful options as a group. What parts of the label were the most useful? Why? Use this activity to highlight the impact of reading a food label on health, explaining that the new Nutrition Facts label is a helpful tool for developing and maintaining a healthful eating pattern.

Other Fantastic Display Ideas:

We’ve been putting together these display posts for a while now, so there’s lots of inspiration available for a wide range of health and nutrition topics. Which ones will be the most useful for you?

Store Links:

Here’s a closer look at some of the top new food label resources that my team and I have created…

Bulletin Board Idea for Spring

Spring is kicking into high gear, and what better time is there to put together a bright seasonal bulletin board with helpful health messages?

I created this Spring Bulletin Board Banner to highlight key foods that make their debut in the spring, and as I was looking at it the other day, I decided to outline how to use it to anchor a bulletin board display!

Here are the details…

Put the Spring Bulletin Board Banner in the upper right hand corner of your bulletin board area. Print out the recipe for the healthy spring dinner plate featured on the poster and arrange it next to your banner. Note that this recipe is only available to Food and Health members, so if you haven’t already signed up, take a look at the benefits of membership today!

If you have room for another handout, print out the free PDF that accompanies the Spring Bulletin Board Banner and arrange it on your board too.

Fill the remaining space with images of healthful spring produce. You can print these from the internet, cut them out of magazines, or draw them. You could also add some fun MyPlate stickers, which coordinate well with the color scheme featured on the banner.

What kinds of displays are you making for spring?

Display of the Month: MyPlate

It’s been a while since we’ve done a display of the month, and now is the perfect time to revive the tradition with MyPlate!

The Materials:

The Activities:

  • Food Group Lottery
  • Food Group Lighting Rounds

The Details:

If you have access to the wall behind your table, set up either or both of the MyPlate Banners along with the Art of Health Poster. If you don’t have access to that wall, use just the MyPlate Banner and Stand alongside your table and add the Art of Health Poster to your table (you can prop it on a Tabletop Easel). In front of your table, arrange the MyPlate Floor Decal to add extra interest to your booth.

On the table itself, scatter the resources included in the MyPlate Wellness Fair Kit, leaving room for some MyPlate Handouts and the prizes (MyPlate StickersMyPlate Vegetable StickersMyPlate Fruit Stickers and/or MyPlate Bookmarks) you’re going to offer in order to draw people to your booth and reward participation during activities. In one corner of the booth, arrange the materials you’ll need for the food group lottery.

And, just for fun, finish setting up by tying on a MyPlate Apron, which you can later give away as a prize, if you’d like!

Now, on to the activities!

For the Food Group Lottery, have volunteers write down their names and favorite food groups on individual pieces of paper and put them all in a clear bowl or box. Shuffle all the submissions, then draw 10 winners. Reward them with the prizes listed above, or these adorable MyPlate buttons.

For the Food Group Lightning Rounds, gather all your participants in a circle in front of your booth. Explain that you’re going to name a food group and then each person has to list a healthful food that would fit in that group, one at a time. If a person can’t think of a food or lists something that isn’t healthful, he or she is out and the circle gets smaller. Repeat with the rest of the food groups until you’ve got a small group of winners remaining. All of the previously-suggested prizes would make great rewards, as would these pretty MyPlate plates!

Previous Display Inspiration:

Free Handout:

And, to add one more fun aspect to your display, here’s a free MyPlate coloring page. How will you incorporate this into your booth?

Finally, here are some fantastic workbooks to help your clients learn valuable health and nutrition lessons…

Nutrition Month Display Ideas

It’s not too late to set up an engaging display for National Nutrition Month!

The best displays feature information in a variety of formats, presented in an eye-catching and memorable manner. Here are a few strategies that you can use to put together your best display yet…

Bulletin Board:

It’s usually a good idea to center a bulletin board around a banner or poster. For Nutrition Month, I would recommend any of the following, depending on the space you have available.

Once you’ve picked a poster/banner or two to center your display, it’s just a matter of filling in the details. One way to vary the view while imparting key information is to add a few relevant handouts, like these!

You can also print out pictures that support your main point (people being active for an exercise board, healthful foods/meals for a nutrition board etc) and fill in a few gaps with assorted stickers or wall decals.

Tabletop Display:

Tabletop displays offer a better chance for interaction than a bulletin board display, but they also take up more room.

The key to a good tabletop display is having something that will draw people to the table. Banners on stands offer a great way to stand out from the crowd, and these options are perfect for Nutrition Month:

Floor stickers are also creative (and intriguing) eye-catchers here. My personal favorites include:

Then you want to fill your table with resources that will help your audience learn and remember key Nutrition Month lessons. Posters like the ones featured in the bulletin board section above are great options, and you can prop them up on a tabletop easel or two. Handouts are useful take-home resources too, as are stickers/bookmarks/other fun prizes.

If you’re talking about sugar, salt, or fat content in your display, I’d highly recommend test tubes, which you can use to display the average amount of your featured element in a variety of foods.

These materials offer a great visual way to compare and contrast different options, and the test tubes have gotten wonderful feedback in the past. In fact, they’re one of our most popular resources for health fairs!

And there you have it! A little Nutrition Month display inspiration!

For additional resources to help with your National Nutrition Month celebrations, don’t miss these amazing materials…

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!

Eat More Vegetables: 3 Activity Ideas

Help your clients improve their eating pattern with these 3 great activity ideas…

Inspire Together! Have participants look up their daily vegetable needs at www.choosemyplate.gov. Divide everyone into groups based on how many vegetables they need each day, then have each member of the group share his or her favorite way to eat vegetables with the rest of the group. Have each group elect a spokesman who can write down the most popular suggestions. Once the groups have finished sharing, come back together as a class and have each spokesman share the most appealing ways to serve vegetables from his/her group.

With this activity, your participants will all get a few fun new ideas about ways to eat more vegetables each day.

Team Transformations! As a class, brainstorm some traditional meals that are generally low in vegetables. Divide your audience into groups of 3-4 people and give each group a different meal to make over. How can vegetables be added to the meal in an appealing way? After their discussions, have each group pick their top three ideas and share them with the rest of the class.

Now a few staple meals can be transformed into vehicles for more veggies.

Get on Board! Have your participants think about their favorite vegetable snacks. Ask each person to find a photo or draw a picture of these snacks at home or on their own, then reconvene as a group to post those images on a blank bulletin board that you’ve set up. Title the board Healthful Vegetable Snacks.

With this activity, you will get an engaging and unique display, made by your own students. Plus, this board will offer fun ways to try new vegetable snacks, which in turn can help your participants improve their eating patterns.

What do you think? What are your favorite activities to promote eating more vegetables?

Don’t miss these top vegetable resources from the store!