Back to basics with the Food Diary Tearpad

Keeping a food diary is a great way for clients to become aware of what, when, and how much they eat. There are plenty of apps for online tracking, but sometimes technology makes this simple task too complicated. Get back to the basics with our Food Diary Tearpad!

The Food Diary Tearpad is user-friendly and self-explanatory, making it perfect for health fairs or classes where you’re unable to provide in-depth individual attention. People can write down what they eat in a day, then use the checklist of MyPlate recommendations to “grade” themselves. There’s also space to check off water intake, exercise, movement (cleaning, chores, playing), sleep, and screen time. That’s a lot of information collected on one page!

Lessons to use with the Food Diary Tearpad:

  • Tracking food intake makes you more aware of the choices you’re making. This awareness helps you make better choices.
  • Knowing you have to write down what you’re about to eat is often enough to keep you from over-indulging. If you don’t want to see it on paper, you might decide not to eat it!
  • You can’t change what you don’t track. Whether it’s screen time, drinking enough water, or eating more vegetables, keeping track lets you compare what you are doing with what you want to do.
  • People use food diaries differently, and that’s ok. Some simply want to jot down the foods they eat to get a general view of food groups they are missing or overeating. Others are more detail-oriented and can learn even more by recording portion sizes, time, place, and calories.
  • Compare your food diary to your individualized MyPlate Plan, which you can get at ChooseMyPlate.gov/MyPlatePlan. How are you doing on calories? Portion sizes?
  • Look at when and where you eat each meal and snack. Do you eat most meals away from home? Do you skip meals during the day then snack all evening? How long do you usually go between meals?
  • Get a handle on emotional eating by writing down how you feel whenever you eat.
  • Keeping a daily food diary helps people lose weight. But even using our Food Diary for just one day provides a lot of information on your diet and lifestyle. Use this to choose a goal to work on.

Skip the supplements, eat real food!

Americans spend $41.2 billion a year on dietary supplements. The multivitamin/mineral is most popular, taken by one-third of adults and nearly one-quarter of children (1). But we know that most people can get the nutrients they need from real food!

Besides wasting money, supplements can give people a false sense of security. Sure, one pill may provide 100 percent of the Daily Value for a long list of vitamins and minerals, but what about fiber, phytonutrients, healthy fats, and protein? And no supplement makes up for a high fat, high sugar diet.

We have two posters to help you get this point across to adults and children.

The Eat Your Vitamins poster shows the nutrients provided by each food group, making it clear that a varied diet means no supplement required! Activities based on this beautiful poster:

  • Use the vegetable sub-categories on the poster to discuss the importance of eating a wide variety of veggies. Which sub-category provides the most vitamins? The most minerals? What vegetables do you regularly eat? Are you getting some from each sub-category?
  • In a group setting, use the PDF handout “What’s in YOUR Food?” that comes with the poster. Assign each person or small group one or two nutrients. Have them explain to the class: 1) the function of the nutrient; 2) which food groups provide the nutrient; 3) examples of foods in the food group(s).
  • Ask who takes a multivitamin/mineral daily. Why do you take it? What’s in it? Looking at the poster, which nutrients are in food but not in the supplement? Talk about the benefits of eating real food.

Our Make New Friends Food Groups poster is a fun way to teach kids how to build a healthy lunch that provides the nutrients (or friends!) they need AND meets federal school lunch guidelines. Of course, fruits and veggies are their best friends, so why not have both at every lunch? Activities to go with this poster:

  • Ask kids to identify the “new friends” pictured on the poster. What food group does each “friend” represent? What other foods are in that food group? Use the “My Plate Strategy Guide” PDF that comes with the poster to discuss the food groups in more detail.
  • Have kids write down what they had for lunch. Ask them to write the name of the food group next to each item they ate. How many food groups did you eat from? Was there a fruit, a veggie, or both? If you didn’t eat from at least three food groups, how could you change it?
  • Talk about how some people take a multivitamin/mineral supplement every day, but most of us can get the nutrients we need from real food. What would you miss if you only took a pill, but didn’t eat real food? Does it sound like more fun to “make new friends” with the food groups?

(1) J Acad Nutr Diet. 2018;118(11):2162-2173.

Increase Engagement with a Healthful Eating Pattern Game

We’re all familiar with the benefits of building a healthful eating pattern, but sometimes actually executing on that plan is easier said than done.

Make a healthful eating pattern more compelling with this fun game that kids and adults alike will enjoy!

Food Group Tag!

Here’s how you play…

Game Setup:

Divide your group into two separate teams. One team needs to have five people. These are the taggers, who will work together to tag everyone in the other group. Assign each tagger one of the following food groups…

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Protein
  • Dairy

Everyone who is not a tagger is an empty serving. Each empty serving can work as a free agent. Their goal is to avoid the taggers.

Explain that the taggers are seeking food groups to make a healthful plate. If an empty serving gets tagged, he or she must freeze in place and announce their new food group (determined by the tagger, who represents one of the 5 food groups), and then think of a healthful food that fits that group, which they then announce as well.

The taggers must work together to create a balanced plate (so don’t let one tagger go crazy and tag all the empty servings, claiming them for a single food group).

Game Play:

Set a timer for four minutes and move your group to a location that’s conducive to running around.

Taggers must line up shoulder-to-shoulder. Arrange the empty servings five feet in front of the tagger line. Once “go” is called, the empty servings must evade the taggers for four minutes.

Once the game time is finished, “stop” must be called. At that point, everyone freezes.

Have the untagged empty servings move to one side of the game area, then arrange the tagged empty servings into their food groups. Did the taggers craft a balanced plate? Why or why not?

If the taggers managed to create a balanced plate, then they win. If the empty servings threw off the balance, then they win instead.

This active game offers a fun way to visualize a healthful eating pattern while providing an opportunity for some light physical activity as well.

Game created by Sean Tuohy

Nutrition at a Glance

Here’s a fun new way to help your clients learn and remember key nutrition lessons.

A brand-new poster!

Everyone gets so confused about how to eat healthfully. In today’s society, proper nutrition comes from following MyPlate, reading food labels, and eating the best options from each of the food groups. The Nutrition at a Glance poster shows key nutrition lessons in three easy steps. Plus, each step has an exciting visual of food!

  • Step 1: Let macronutrients put their best food forward! Think lean, high fiber, and nutrient dense!
  • Step 2: Get your vitamins and minerals from food! Follow MyPlate and get a varied diet with all of the food groups.
  • Step 3: Learn how to read food labels so you can make the best choices that are lower in added fat, sugar, and salt (sodium).

This poster makes a fun visual for any room or event! It is even perfect for Nutrition Month celebrations!

at a glance

To celebrate this fun new resource, I want to give you the handout that comes with it, for free!

Here you go!

Let’s Talk Nutrients:

There are 3 different types of macronutrients — the nutrients in your eating pattern that make up the bulk of what you consume each day. Those 3 macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Protein is important for the creation and maintenance of your bones, skin, and muscles. Carbohydrates are the source of most of your energy. Fat helps your body absorb nutrients and also provides energy.

Choose high-fiber carbohydrates, lean protein, and heart-healthy fats (you can find them in plants and fish). This will help you get the 3 major macronutrients from healthful food sources.

Get Your Vitamins and Minerals from Food:

Balance your meals using MyPlate and its 5 food groups: vegetables, fruit, protein, grains, and dairy.

That way, you will eat a varied diet with adequate nutrients in the calories allotted.

Avoid Extra Processed Food Dangers by Reading Food Labels:

Added sugars, excess sodium, and both trans and saturated fat have been linked to elevated risk of chronic disease.

Minimizing these will help you keep your body in tip-top shape!

Here’s a printable PDF copy of the handout!

nutritionataglance-copy

And here are a few fun nutrition resources from the Nutrition Education Store!

 

Make a Healthy Plate!

MyPlate Plate for KidsMyPlate Plate

I’ve just launched a few new MyPlate plates, and I couldn’t wait another moment for you to see them!

These MyPlate plates have been favorites of health and nutrition educators since I first came up with the idea a few years ago. After all, who wouldn’t want an actual plate to use while learning and teaching the key lessons of MyPlate?

These new designs for portion control and kids highlight the importance of balancing eating patterns with physical activity, and there are great options for both adults and kids. In addition to being wonderful teaching tools, these plates are also perfect for prizes, cooking demonstrations, displays, presentations, and much more!

As a treat today, I’d like to share a MyPlate activity that you could do with any of these plates or even a paper plate. Are you ready?

MyPlate Activity: Fill the Plate

What you’ll need:

  • Physical MyPlate Plates
  • Magazines
  • Scissors

What you’ll do:

Assemble your group, pass out the plates, and make sure everyone has access to the scissors and magazines. Explain that they are going to cut out pictures of food and then sort them into the appropriate areas of MyPlate.

Offer your participants some time to cut out their selections, then explain the next part of the activity.

Pick a food group and call it out. The participants must find a food that fits into that group (from their collection of magazine images) and place it on the correct section of the plate, holding up both the picture and the plate so that you can see it. Award points for speed and accuracy, correcting any misconceptions that may crop up.

After the game is over, you discuss the results and let the class go or add a twist. For the latter, see who can find the healthiest food to fit in a food group the fastest. Discuss. What makes each food a good fit for its food group? What nutrients does it contain? How much saturated fat, added sugars, or sodium is in the food?

I hope you liked this glimpse of the MyPlate activity that can go with the new MyPlate plates. Don’t miss some of the other wonderful MyPlate resources that are available now in the Nutrition Education Store

MyPlate Basics: A Handout

I’ve been having so much fun designing new floor stickers for the Nutrition Education Store!

As you know, every floor sticker comes with a free printable handout, and today I’d like to share one of the most popular ones with you.

How great is that?

These floor stickers are perfect for cafeterias, break rooms, wellness fair booths, and even presentations. And handouts are as versatile as they come. The combination of both is one of my favorites because it appeals to a variety of learning styles and presentation formats. This can help make lessons more meaningful and easier to remember.

Anyway, back to today’s free handout.

This handout covers the basics of MyPlate and was designed to go with the MyPlate Floor Sticker. I’ll copy the text of the handout below so that you can preview it, then, if you like what you see, keep scrolling for your very own PDF copy.

MyPlate
Meet the USDA’s guide to balanced eating!

MyPlate’s 5 Food Groups:

  • Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed. Fruit and 100% juice both count, though whole fruit has more fiber than juice.
  • Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. They may be whole, sliced, or mashed.
  • Grain foods are made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain. Choose whole grains instead of refined grains whenever you can.
  • Foods like meat, poultry, seafood, beans, peas, eggs, soy, nuts, and seeds are all part of the protein group.
  • Dairy foods include yogurt, milk, cheese, and calcium-fortified foods. Choose skim when possible and limit options with added sugar.

Food Group Tips:

MyPlate advises people to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables at each meal.

Make at least half of all the grains you eat whole grains, every day.

Variety is the key to the protein food group. Choose options that are low in saturated fat whenever you can.

For the most nutrients with the fewest empty calories, choose fat-free and low-fat dairy foods.

The balance of foods on MyPlate will help people get all the nutrients that they need in a day. How can you make your plate look more like MyPlate?

For more information, visit MyPlate’s home website, http://www.choosemyplate.gov.

What do you think? Will this handout be good for your clients? Here’s a printable copy of the free MyPlate handout!

MyPlate Floor Sticker Handout

And here are some more MyPlate resources, fresh from the Nutrition Education Store!

 

 

 

Nutrition Poster Guide

Today I want to try something a little different.

I’d like to offer a tour of a few lessons from some of the top posters in the Nutrition Education Store.

You see, 3 different posters have been extremely popular amongst health and nutrition educators recently, and now I want to draw them to your attention. After all, my job is to help you look your very best right now. So let’s take a look at the 3 top posters in the Nutrition Education Store.

Are you ready for this?

Sugar Math PosterPoster #1 is the new Sugar Math Poster. Its key lesson is to limit added sugars. 

How does it teach this lesson?

Through math problems!

You see, sometimes communicating important nutrition messages is a matter of breaking them down into manageable sections, making the information both accessible and memorable.

This poster manages that with varied representations of just how much added sugar people should limit themselves to each day.

Remember, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise people to “Shift to reduce added sugars consumption to less than 10 percent of calories per day.” That 10% is roughly 200 calories for the average person. That’s equal to 50 grams, which in turn is equal to about 12 teaspoons. The Sugar Math Poster features images of each of these amounts in an approach that’s bound to appeal to a wide range of learning styles.

The poster also highlights key sources of added sugars and spells out how to figure out how much added sugar is in a variety of packaged foods. No wonder it’s one of the most popular posters in the store!

Now let’s move on to the next poster.

Eating Patterns PosterPoster #2 is the Eating Patterns Poster from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans series. Its key lesson is to shift into a healthier eating pattern.

As you can see, this poster focuses on what is and is not included in a healthy eating pattern. With beautiful photos placed in a uniquely eye-catching arrangement, this post rocketed to the top of our list practically as soon as it was released.

So why represent healthy foods visually?

The photos demonstrate that healthy eating doesn’t have to be plain and boring. By making the foods that people need to consume look their very best, the photos in this poster add appeal to the eating pattern they’re illustrating. Plus, they provide a pop of color that would be welcome in any office, cafeteria, or display.

How would you use this poster in your life?

MyPlate PosterFinally, poster #3 is a classic — our very first MyPlate Poster. It teaches a fun way to balance your plate at each meal.

Ever since the USDA released MyPlate in 2011, it has been a popular tool to help educators teach their audiences about proper portions and proportions. As you know, My Plate offers a way to visualize a healthy and balanced plate at each meal, with half the plate filled with fruits and vegetables, grains taking up another quarter, and the remaining quarter of the plate filled with protein foods. A side of dairy rounds out the plate and completes the look.

Each food group has its own lessons and tips, and they all come together to create a healthy eating experience. This poster highlights the most important aspects of MyPlate, illustrating each food group and drawing attention to the key lessons associated with each section of the plate. Its as memorable as it is engaging, and the My Plate poster has been getting rave reviews since we first brought it to the store.

As an added bonus, I’d like to offer you an exclusive look at the handout that accompanies this MyPlate poster. Normally you could only get it if you bought the poster, but I want to make an exception today, so get your free copy of this handout now!

MyPlate Poster Handout

And finally, here are some more of the materials that are at the top of the Nutrition Education Store right now!

12 Lessons of Diabetes Kit

My Plate Handout Tearpad

Cooking Demonstration Kit: Set of 10 Cooking Demo Tools

 

Shopping with MyPlate: A Handout

Balance your cart for a balanced plate!

Shopping with My Plate:

The food you buy has a huge impact on your eating habits. Make sure that the choices you make are healthful and balanced, starting at the grocery store.

What does that mean?

Well, since MyPlate advises you to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal, roughly half your cart should be full of fruits and vegetables in the store. Make lean protein choices, and select dairy foods that are low in saturated fat and added sugars. When it comes to grain foods, make sure that at least half of all the grains you’re eating are whole grains. Skip those processed grains whenever you can.

More Shopping Tips!

My Plate advises people to “Compare sodium content for similar foods, using the Nutrition Facts label to select brands lower in sodium.” The next time you’re in the store, grab a couple of different options for an ingredient and compare the sodium content. Choose one of the options with lower numbers.

Watch out for portion size! When you’re in the store, look at the serving size and number of servings in the food that you’d like to buy. Is it realistic? Will a sugary soda bottle really be used for 2 or 3 separate servings, or, despite what it says on the label, is the drink really going to be consumed all at once? Remember, MyPlate wants to help people enjoy food but eat less of it, counseling, “Avoid oversized portions.”

Here’s a printable MyPlate handout that you can use however you see fit!

MyPlate Shopping Handout

And here are even more MyPlate educational materials, fresh from the Nutrition Education Store!

Art of Health MyPlate Poster

Health Hopscotch Floor Sticker and Game

Salt and Sodium Poster

New MyPlate Activity Page

Here’s a brand-new My Plate activity page! This page is a perfect way to communicate the key lessons of MyPlate while keeping things light and fun. It makes an excellent icebreaker or game, and you can also use it as a prize at your next wellness fair booth!

MyPlate Activity Page:

Fill in the Blank!

Focus on choosing healthy foods and drinks from all five food groups including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and _ _ _ _ _. This will help you get all the nutrients you need.

It’s wise to choose foods with less sodium, saturated fat, and added _ _ _ _ _ _.

Try to fill half your plate with fruits and _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ at each meal.

Choose mostly lean _ _ _ _ _ _ _ and dairy foods.

MyPlate Word Scramble:

Unscramble the words below to find key elements of MyPlate.

  1. IENNRSTTU _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
  2. YVTREIA _ _ _ _ _ _ _
  3. OEHLW NAGSIR _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
  4. GEHCANS _ _ _ _ _ _ _
  5. TEALHH _ _ _ _ _ _
  6. ITURF  _ _ _ _ _
  7. AABCELN _ _ _ _ _ _ _

My Plate Maze:

MyPlate Maze

MyPlate Activity Page Answers:

Fill in the Blank:

  • Focus on choosing healthy foods and drinks from all five food groups including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and DAIRY. This will help you get all the nutrients you need.
  • It’s wise to choose foods with less sodium, saturated fat, and added SUGARS.
  • Try to fill half your plate with fruits and VEGETABLES at each meal.
  • Choose mostly lean PROTEIN and dairy foods.

My Plate Word Scramble:

  1. NUTRIENTS
  2. VARIETY
  3. WHOLE GRAINS
  4. CHANGES
  5. HEALTH
  6. FRUIT
  7. BALANCE

MyPlate Maze:

Maze Solution

Here’s the free printable activity page handout! How will you use your copy?

MyPlate Activity Page

And here are some of my favorite MyPlate resources, available now in the Nutrition Education Store!

MyPlate Game Poster

Poster, Handout, PowerPoint

MyPlate Education Kit

MyPlate Plates