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…

 

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

 

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!

Handout Sneak Peek: Vitamin and Mineral Chart

You know what has been flying off the shelves lately?

The Vitamin and Mineral Chart. This poster highlights particular foods that are rich in certain vitamins and minerals. Since most consumers need to eat a more plant-based diet in order to avoid excess saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars while somehow managing to get enough nutrients in the calories allotted, it’s wise to have a few materials that could make that transition easier. This chart has been an eye-catching tool for inspiring and maintaining motivation, along with teaching key nutrient lessons.

As a special bonus, I want to share the printable educational handout that comes with the poster. Normally you could only access this if you had already bought the poster, but today I’m going to make an exception. The Eat Your Nutrients handout features macronutrients and micronutrients alike, highlighting the health benefits of these vital food elements.

Enjoy!

Vitamin A: Prevents eye problems. Necessary for normal vision, immune function, and reproduction.

B-Vitamins: This group includes B-1 Thiamin, B-2 Riboflavin, B-3 Niacin, B-5 Pantothenic Acid, B-6 Pyridoxine, B-7 Biotin, B-9 Folic Acid, and B-12 Choline. Necessary to metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and amino acids. Activates B-6 and folate, which is essential for red blood cell growth and maturity.

Vitamin C: Antioxidant that protects against cell damage; boosts immune systems; forms collagen in the body.

Vitamin D: Aids absorption and usage of calcium and phosphorous ; necessary for growth and calcification of bones and teeth. The best source is the sun.

Vitamin E: Acts as an antioxidant that protects cells against damage.

Vitamin K: Important for blood clotting and bone health.

Calcium: Essential in bone and teeth formation, muscle contraction, absorption of B-12, blood clotting, and growth.

Copper: Necessary for absorption, storage, and metabolism of iron; key to formation of red blood cells.

Iodine: Regulates rate of energy production and body weight. Promotes growth and health of hair, nails, skin, and teeth.

Iron: Hemoglobin and myoglobin formation, oxygen and CO2 transfer, red blood cell formation, and energy release.

Magnesium: Helps heart rhythm, muscle and nerve function, and bone strength.

Phosphorous: Helps cells to function normally. Helps your body produce energy. Key for bone growth.

Potassium: Important in maintaining normal fluid balance; helps control blood pressure; reduces risk of kidney stones.

Selenium: An essential trace element; protects cells from damage; regulates thyroid hormone.

Sodium: Primarily controls the body’s osmotic pressure, hydration, and electrical activities.

Zinc: Supports the body’s immune and nerve function; important in reproduction.

Protein: A necessary major nutrient in the diet, providing amino acids, which are necessary for growth and development.

Carbohydrate: Provides basic source of energy; stored as glycogen in all tissues of the body, especially the liver and muscles.

Fat: Also known as adipose tissue. Serves as an energy reserve.

Fiber: Aids digestion, helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol.

And here’s a free printable copy of the handout!

Whats In Your Food Handout

Looking for more nutrition education materials? Here are some of the newest resources to hit the store!

Digital MyPlate Poster and MyPlate Food Photo Collection

Sodium Math Handout

Floor Sticker: Make Your Salad a Rainbow

Muscle vs. Fat: What’s the Difference?

Muscle vs Fat PosterToday I want to bring you a special treat from the Nutrition Education Store! This Muscle vs. Fat poster is one of our top-selling resources, popular with a wide range of health educators. Since all of the posters we make come with a handout, now I’d like to share the handout that comes with this popular poster, for free! I hope you like it!

Weight is weight, right? Does what makes up the weight actually make a difference? Surely a pound of muscle is the same as a pound of fat, right?

Well, it’s not that simple.

What makes up the weight you carry can have an impact on your health, appearance, physical abilities, and general well-being.

Muscle and fat could not be more different in terms of both structure and role.

Let’s Talk About Muscle:

Some muscles attach to your skeletal system. Others are key to the circulatory and digestive systems. Your heart is a muscle, and so is your bicep. Muscles are vital to the way your body runs!

Muscles use up calories in order to function, and they generally use up more calories than fat does (1). According to a paper published in the Exercise and Sport Sciences Review, “exercise improves the capacity of muscle to oxidize fat” (2). Since “reduced rates of fat oxidation […] have been shown to predict weight gain” (2), regular exercise can give muscles a boost in their fat oxidation, making it easier for you to control your weight.

Muscle is also denser than fat, which means that a pound of it will take up less space than a pound of fat. This can impact your physical appearance.

Let’s Talk About Fat:

Your body does need some fat, but it doesn’t need a ton of it. Fat helps store energy, insulate organs, and can even help the messenger systems in your body function. It also stores some nutrients, like vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Fat doesn’t use up as many calories as muscle does. Meanwhile, fat cells store more calories than muscle cells do (1).

In terms of appearance, a person with a higher body fat percentage will appear larger than a person with a lower percentage, even though they weigh the same.

Sources:

Like what you see? Here’s the handout, for free! How will you use your copy?

Muscle vs Fat Handout

And there’s lots more in the Nutrition Education Store

Great visual aids!

Muscle and Fat Replicas

BMI 101 Education Set

Ideal Body Weight Bookmark

Avocados: Yea or Nay?

“They’re high in calories.”
“They’re high in fat.”
“But it’s a good fat.”

Those are all statements I frequently hear about the avocado.

What about you? Do you shy away from avocados because of the fat or calories? Or do you make them a part of your diet?

Today, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the humble avocado.

Pile of Goodness

An avocado is nutrient dense. Nutrient-dense foods provide substantial servings of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in proportion to the number of calories they contain. Although avocados are high in fat, most of that fat is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, avocados are loaded with dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, and folate. They’re also cholesterol- and sodium-free. One avocado contains about 700 milligrams of potassium. In fact, avocados have more potassium gram for gram than bananas! Furthermore, avocados are loaded with the phytochemicals that are thought to reduce the risk of some types of cancers and other chronic diseases.

So what about the calories?

The calories in an avocado are not messing around. Two tablespoons of mashed avocado (that’s 1/5 of the whole thing or about 1 oz) provide about 55 calories. So, if you eat a whole avocado, then you’re getting about 275 calories. That’s a lot of calories, especially if you’re on a calorie-restricted diet.

However, the key word is moderation.

A little avocado can add some real nutrition and variety to a meal. Plus, sometimes avocado can offer a nutrient-rich alternative to another less-healthful fat. Try slicing and spreading 2 tablespoons of avocado on your sandwich instead of mayo or butter. This will save you almost 40 calories! Yes, you get the fat, but it’s definitely a better-for-you fat than those other spreads. And you really can’t beat the flavor it adds.

Avocados for Everyone!

When buying avocados, pick fruits that have firm skins, but which yield to gentle pressure and have no soft spots. These are the kind of fruits that will ripen after they’re picked. Put unripe avocados in a paper bag at room temperature and they will ripen in the next 2-5 days. If you want them to ripen more quickly, add a ripe banana or apple to the bag. Why? These fruits give off a natural ethylene gas that helps to ripen the avocados. Once they’re ripe, use them right away. You can also put them in the refrigerator, where they will last for a couple days.

So, when you ask whether you should make avocados a part of your diet, I say yea!

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

Looking for more cooking and nutrition resources? Look no further! We’ve got you covered! We are here when you want to look your very best right now.

Drinks, Portion, Whole Grains, Fruit and Vegetables, and Nutrient Alphabet

Nutrition Poster Set

MyPlate Wristband

Real Food Grows Banner

You made it all the way to the end! For your persistence, please enjoy a brand-new free handout! It’s the perfect guide to avocados.

Avocado Handout

Substitute a Fruit for a Fat

I’ve been looking for more ways to modify recipes to make them more healthful.  This quest started as part of my recent Heart-Healthy Cooking class, but it has continued as part of my regular life. Revising recipes to make them better for your health can be an objective for anyone who wants to eat a little less fat, cholesterol, and sugar.

Prunes in BlenderLet’s start small.

Two great replacements for butter, oil, and sugar in baking projects are applesauce and prune puree.

Why?

Well, both applesauce and prune puree can replace half of the fat in many recipes. So if the recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, you can use ½ cup of applesauce and ½ cup of oil. You may also need to reduce the baking time by up to 25%. Watch your baked goods closely and pull them out as soon as they’re cooked through.

So why do applesauce and prunes make decent fat replacements in recipes? The answer lies in the fruit. You see, the fruit provides both moisture and structure to the baked goods. That’s why this substitution is best for foods like apple cakes or brownies, though it works well in cookies and cakes too.

Let’s take this a little further. There are other benefits to these substitutions.

For example, when you add applesauce or prune puree to a recipe, you may be able to reduce the amount of sugar. The natural sugars in the applesauce and prune puree provide additional sweetness, which can be balanced by a reduction in the sugar you add to the recipe. To avoid over-the-top sugar content, be sure to purchase unsweetened applesauce.

By making this substitution, you’re also adding a little more fruit to the recipe! Yay! That’s more fiber and nutrients than you would have gotten with the original recipe.

So, how can you put this plan into action?

You can buy ready-made prune puree or just make your own by combining six tablespoons of hot water and eight ounces of prunes (about 23) in the blender. This makes about ¾ cup of prune puree.  Note: for diabetics, this approach does increase the carbohydrate count in the end product.

And of course, you can make your own unsweetened applesauce or pick up a jar at the store.

Brownies, ReimaginedSubstitution Tips:

Applesauce seems to go best with lighter colored and flavored products. Think apple cakes or oatmeal cookies.

The prune’s flavors and colors go well with chocolate and spicier treats like gingerbread, spice cake, and brownies.

These substitutions do work with box mixes, but you have more control over the other ingredients if you make the entire recipe from scratch.

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

Yes, there’s totally a free handout too. Check it out!

Healthful Holiday Baking

There are tons of other ways to make your holiday celebrations more healthful! Check out these wonderful holiday education resources

Holiday Challenge Kit

Holiday Challenge Kit

Holiday Secrets Book and Cooking Demo Program

Holiday Secrets Book and Cooking Demo Program

Holiday Poster Value Set

Holiday Poster Value Set

Holiday Fruit Lights Cards

Holiday Fruit Lights Cards