Sodium Samples


The author Janet Evanovich calls it the “Senior Buffet”.  Other folks call them the “sample ladies.”  I bet you know what I’m talking about. The folks who offer food samples at the big box stores.  Just wander the aisles of the store while shopping and graze along the way.I have noted that most of the time, the foods being sampled are the higher in calories, more processed and easy to prepare items.

It’s easy to eat eight to ten samples during one lap of the store. These sample ladies (and men) are very popular.  Samples are gobbled up by almost everyone.  Have you ever calculated how much food you’re eating on one of these shopping trips?  Or more specifically, have you looked at the sodium counts of the foods?

Since my husband has been on a healthier diet due to his heart disease he has really been watching the nutrition labels more closely.  One of the things he’s specifically checking out is the sodium content of the food.    I was proud of him last week when I heard him say “no, thank you” to several of the sample ladies.  The discussion in the car on the way home was interesting.  He asked me “did you know how much sodium was that French onion soup they were sampling”.  SMILE

Yes, I did notice.  One cup of soup had about 800 milligrams of sodium.  They were offering generous samples, I’m guessing they were  ¼ cup each.  If you’re counting that’s 200 milligrams.  Add to that:

  • 178 mg in a barbecued chicken wing
  • 172 mg from a 1-ounce sample of frozen pizza
  • 58 mg in an 1-ounce serving of prepared chicken Alfredo
  • 75 mg in a ¼ ounce sample of Romano cheese on a whole grain cracker

I admit those little bits don’t really seem like much. But if you add them up the total was 683 milligrams of sodium. And that’s just a few of the items they were sampling that day.  If I asked someone what they had to eat throughout the day, they would probably not mention the “senior buffet.”   This is sometimes called distracted eating—people eat because it’s there and then don’t even realize they’ve done it.

If you finished off your visit to the store in the food court with one of their inexpensive hot dogs (1750 mg) and a fountain diet soda (76 mg in 16 ounces) your whole shopping trip could have you consuming a whopping 2509 mg of sodium.

How much sodium should a person have in a day?  The 2010 Dietary Guidelines say that younger, healthy people without high risk for hypertension should reduce sodium to less than 2300 mg. It is recommended that some folks keep the sodium to less than 1500 mg/day.  This is a fairly large group of people (including my husband and my self). You fit into this lower group if:

  • you are over 51 years old, or
  • you have high blood pressure or hypertension, or
  • you have diabetes, or who have ever been told you are diabetic, or
  • you have chronic kidney disease, or
  • if you are African American.
Just a few samples and a hot dog and you’re well over the 2300 recommendation and way over the 1500 mg recommeded for this special group.

How can you thwart this sodium overload?

  • Avoid shopping during sample hours—it’s usually mid-day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Avoid shopping when you’re really hungry.
  • Read the nutrition label before you bite or buy.
  • Set a limit for yourself in numbers of samples you’ll eat before you enter the store.
  • Avoid purchasing prepared and processed foods.

What do we do?  Now, I’m not saying we’re perfect on this, it’s hard. These foods are tempting, most of the time they taste great and make food preparation easy.  It’s just another hurdle we’re trying to jump over.  But I think we’re getting there, one shopping trip at a time.

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

Check out the sodium education supplies in the Nutrition Education Store! They include include sodium education posters, sodium PowerPoint shows, sodium education displays, sodium brochures, and sodium handouts.

But wait, there’s more! Because we love you, we’ve set up a free sodium infographic for you to download. Get your copy today!


Freedom from Chronic Disease

Bonus Alert: This post contains a free handout!

What do healthful eating and the Statue of Liberty have in common? You may be surprised by the answer.

When I went to see the Statue of Liberty, I was struck by her beauty. To my surprise, her natural green patina reminded me of kale. Kale is beautiful too, but I certainly didn’t expect it to pop into my head when I was looking at the Statue of Liberty.

But the more I looked, the more the statue reminded me of the colors and textures of fruits and vegetables.

I pictured the statue dressed in kale, holding a fiery fruit and veggie torch. In that moment, I knew I had to use that imagery in a poster. Both the statue and the vegetables represent freedom to me. In the statue’s case, it is the freedom from tyranny, and, in the food’s case, the fresh fruits and vegetables offer freedom from chronic disease.

Fruit, Vegetables, and Freedom from Chronic Disease

According to MyPlate, the USDA’s guide to healthful and balanced eating, “Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke. Eating a diet rich in some vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancers. Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.”

As always, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is best, in order to take advantage of their amazing health benefits. Blueberries, for example, are loaded with anthocyanins, which have been shown to slow and even reverse age-related declines in brain function, as well as cognitive and motor performance. Other compounds in blueberries may delay the effects of vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Dark leafy greens, on the other hand, contain different compounds with other health benefits. They offer excellent supplies of vitamins A, C, and K, for example, and it is these vitamins that protect your bones, decrease inflammation, support cell growth and development, protect vision, support your circulatory system, and improve immune function. The Agricultural Research Service asserts that “Because of their high content of antioxidants, green leafy vegetables may be one of the best cancer-preventing foods. Studies have shown that eating 2 to 3 servings of green leafy vegetables per week may lower the risk of stomach, breast and skin cancer.”

With their disease-fighting compounds and health-boosting effects, fresh fruits and vegetables may offer the very thing that so many people truly want: freedom from chronic disease.

Making the Poster

After I had the idea to make a fruit and vegetable Statue of Liberty, I raced to my artist to see what he could put together. His creative take on the fresh foods that offer freedom from chronic disease completely wowed me, and I immediately put our research team to work. They crafted a fantastic handout that outlines just how vital fruits and vegetables are in the fight against chronic disease. Want to see it for yourself? The handout will be a free accompaniment to the poster.

After that, all I had to do was put the poster in the store.

Once it was up, I was blown away by the customer response! Since so many people asked how I had thought up the idea to combine two ways of looking at freedom, I decided to write this post. I hope you enjoyed it. If you’re looking for more about the Statue of Liberty, check out the amazing torch webcams or read through the fascinating story of the Statue of Liberty’s past.

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

Get your own copy of the Freedom from Chronic Disease poster today! And check out the latest and greatest additions to the Nutrition Education Store…

Freedom from Chronic Disease Poster

Healthful Fast Food Choices Brochure

Healthier Choices 1-2-3 Poster

Looking for that free handout? Look no further! Here’s your guide to the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, which offer freedom from chronic disease. Download your copy today!

Freedom Handout

I Heart Fruits and Veggies

Hooray for fruits and vegetables!


Everyone loves the “I heart” message, and now it’s coming to a wellness poster for you! This eye-catching nutrition poster will help remind your clients to eat more fruits and vegetables each day.

We combine color, a simple visual message, beautiful food photos, a heart icon, and a fresh look at health in this poster. It can serve as a wellness poster, motivational poster, fruit and vegetable promotion poster, school poster, or a food art poster. Which role would you like it to play?

So why use a health poster?

The possibilities are endless! You can pep up any space, communicate key health messages in a fresh new way, and even introduce people to fruits and vegetables that they haven’t tried before.

Check out these rave reviews of the posters we’ve created…

  • “I think our folks can get and are getting a lot of information from these posters. Thank you!” —  Melissa A. Chlupach, MS, RD, LD, ANMC Food and Nutrition Services
  • “The poster, as is true with many of the posters from Nutrition Education Store are colorful, interesting to the eye, and fun to look at.  They are a real draw to a booth!” — Marla Hill, RD, CD
  • “The materials and poster I ordered were great.” — Michelle McCracken-Brown, PA-C, Physician Assistant, Health Center Manager, Take Care Health Systems, Inc.

So what are you waiting for? Get your copy of the I Heart Fruits and Veggies Poster today! Or preview this free handout that accompanies the poster!

Remember, there’s always more in the Nutrition Education Store! The latest bestsellers include…

6 Grocery Shopping Tour Guide CD

The Way to Eat with Diabetes Color Handout Tearpad

Nutrition Healthy Food Poster

Free Handout and a New Food and Health Catalog

Have you seen the latest and greatest nutrition education catalog? Because if you haven’t, then it’s high time that you did.

Check out the new materials!This catalog has it all — posters, handouts, PowerPoints, display kits, brochures, tearpads, bookmarks, recipe cards, cookbooks, DVDs, cooking demo supplies… you name it, we’ve got it (or we’ll make it for you).

We know you’re busy. And we know you want the best materials. And we made all this with you in mind.

The nutrition program catalog has lots of special features and deals that you won’t find anywhere else. Each copy includes a brand-new, never-before-seen free portion control handout, just for you. You can email it to your clients, pass out copies at your next presentation, or make it a part of your Nutrition Month bulletin board. It’s jam-packed with great ideas from Beth Rosen, MS, RDN.

Get it now.

But wait, there’s more! The 2014 Nutrition Education Store Catalog also includes a code for 10% off your next order. And, with that same code, all your shipping is free. There are value offers in this catalog that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

And did we mention the amazing new products? There are over 50 new items for 2014! Whatever you need to put together a compelling and fun nutrition education program, we’ve got in this catalog. So check out these incredible health ed materials, and choose your favorites today!

Announcement: Nutrition Month Materials

For Immediate Release: January 29, 2014
Media and Consumer Inquiries: 800-462-2352

Louisville, CO — Food and Health Communications, Inc has compiled an impressive array of materials that will help educators communicate the key messages of Nutrition Month this March.

Judy Doherty, PC II and founder of Food and Health Communications, Inc, has stated that her goal in releasing these materials is to make the lives of health professionals easier. “Why have people stay up late and wrack their brains for effective ways to communicate their messages when the materials to do that already exist?” Doherty asks. “This way, nutrition educators can put their focus on other matters, knowing that with these products they will get scientifically-accurate and engaging materials without the struggle and fuss. Why reinvent the wheel?”

The theme for 2014’s Nutrition Month this March is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” The materials in the Nutrition Month Resource Center include aprons and cooking supplies, guides for cooking demonstrations, tabletop and wellness fair display kits, games, handouts, posters, banners, PowerPoint shows, and prizes. Custom materials are available upon request, and every item comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

For more information, visit People can access the Nutrition Month Resource Center at

Free Handout: Nutrition for Kids

It’s time for another free handout! Are you lucky or what?

This week’s free nutrition education handout is called Nutrition for Kids. It lays out simple questions for kids to ask about their meals and snacks, which combine to help them make healthful and balanced choices. This handout is a perfect accompaniment to a nutrition game or bulletin board for kids. Get it now!

Kids Nutrition Handout

Of course, if you’re looking for nutrition posters, resources for kids, or even school health education materials, the Nutrition Education Store has you covered. Check out the Free Resources for Educators section, or just browse the store. Some of the most popular health and nutrition guides for kids are featured below…

Food Label Bookmark Pack

Eat From the Rainbow Banner

MyPlate Activity Book for Kids

Free Handout: Back to Basics with MyPlate

It’s time to get back to basics with MyPlate. Let’s take a break from the latest updates and in-depth explorations of nutrition science and take a good look at the building blocks of health and balanced eating. Sometimes, a moment back to the basics is all you need, and this MyPlate resource is perfect for your clients. You definitely don’t want to miss this free handout.

MyPlate Basics

The free nutrition handout is the MyPlate Strategy Guide. It’s two pages long and covers all the basics of the USDA plate. We call it a strategy guide because it offers simple ways to incorporate the lessons of MyPlate into everyday life. So download it today and share it with your clients! It’s perfect for an email blast, bulletin board display, or simple handout.

(You know what goes well with this handout? MyPlate posters! And, if you’re looking for another way to approach the lessons of MyPlate, then be sure to check out the MyPlate for Kids section of the Nutrition Education Store).

MyPlate Poster

MyPlate for Kids Bulletin Board Kit

MyPlate Set of Paper Plates

Press Release: Free Poster Program

For Immediate Release: January 9, 2014
Media and Consumer Inquiries: 800-462-2352

Louisville, CO — Food and Health Communications, Inc has introduced a free poster program for nutrition professionals. The program offers free posters to educators who are presenting at conferences that have nutrition and food professionals in attendance. Why introduce this program now? Judy Doherty, PC II and founder of Food and Health Communications, Inc, led the development of this program in response to numerous requests for materials that could be used at state dietetic meetings and other conferences.

The educational posters are bright, clear, and positive, with simple health messages that are appealing and easy to understand. All of the posters are original and none feature any industry advertising of any kind. The information presented on the posters is up-to-date and based on the latest scientific evidence.

There are some restrictions to the new poster program. For example, in order to receive a free poster to use at a conference, the audience for the meeting must be food and health professionals. There must also be at least 30 attendees. People who are interested in receiving a free poster need only fill out a simple form with their conference information in order to be considered for the free nutrition poster program.

For more information, visit People can learn more about the poster program directly at

Here are a few of the latest educational posters from Food and Health Communications, Inc.

9 Ways to Lower LDL Cholesterol Poster













Free Handout: Substitute Your Way to Heart Health

It’s time for another free nutrition handout! This week’s installment is all about simple substitutions that your clients can make in order to improve their heart health. There’s a preview below, and, if you like what you see, scroll down for a link to download the PDF for free.

Choose OatmealBaked Goods

  • Choose oatmeal or another whole grain cereal instead of baked goods. Top your oatmeal with fruit and skim milk.
  • You can also try 100% whole wheat breads instead of sugary baked goods. After all, MyPlate does insist that people should make at least half of all the grains they eat whole grains, every day.


  • Try trans-fat-free light tub margarine instead of butter.


  • Substitute fat-free ricotta for regular or reduced-fat ricotta.
  • Use a little bit of cheese that has a strong flavor instead of a lot of cheese that has a mild flavor. For example, try Swiss, Parmesan, or cheddar cheese as flavoring agents and keep the amount you use in the dish on the small side.

Egg Yolks

  • Use egg whites instead of whole eggs.
  • Try a nonfat egg substitute.

To see the whole handout, download it today!

If you’re looking for more nutrition education resources or items that address the diet and heart health education theme, check out the amazing featured products below…

Heart Health Poster Value Set

Lighten Up Your Cooking Handout

Lower Your Heart Attack Risk Score Heart Health Brochure

Free Nutrition Education Resources

For Immediate Release: December 18, 2013
Media and Consumer Inquiries: 800-462-2352

Louisville, CO — Food and Health Communications, Inc has just launched a new free nutrition education resources center. This hub of free nutrition education resources is filled with the latest nutrition quizzes, nutrition icebreakers, cooking clipart, free nutrition handouts, and health statistics to help health and nutrition educators prepare for an evidence-based nutrition class that is engaging, effective and up to date. All of the nutrition resources are complimentary and geared toward aiding nutrition educators as they work with their clients.

The focus of the nutrition resource center is broad, and it covers many topics. Features include tools for teaching people about diabetes, heart health, weight control, nutrition basics, cooking, and more. There are pre and post quizzes to gauge learning needs and success. And there are free nutrition class certificates to award people who pass classes. Jokes and quotes provide great ice breakers. And nutrition and cooking clip art helps make handouts and announcements visually inviting. The content is always changing and is kept continually updated with the latest scientific research.

The launch of this new center was prompted by Judy Doherty, PC II, who founded Food and Health Communications, Inc in order to provide necessary resources to busy health educators. The goal of the educator’s resource center is to offer some of the most popular health and nutrition materials to people who will use them to improve the lives of their clients.

For more information, visit and click the link for the Nutrition Education Resource Center on the top left. People can access the resource center directly at