Get your clients or students interested in healthy fruits and vegetables with our new Vegetable Masks and Fruit Masks. These masks, and our combo Fruit and Vegetable Masks, are a fun way to encourage people of all ages to fill half of their plate with fruits and veggies!
Here are some ideas for using these unique eye masks with various age groups and settings:
Classroom parties: Celebrate holidays in the classroom by asking parents to send in healthy fruits and veggies. Use the fruit or vegetable masks as party favors, or let students wear the masks during the party.
Healthy birthday reward: Encourage students to bring a fruit or veggie snack for their birthday, instead of cookies or cupcakes. When they do, use the fruit or vegetable mask as a reward or birthday crown.
MyPlate teaching aid: Students break into groups according to which mask they get – fruit, veggie, or both. Within each group, students (alone or in pairs) are assigned to research a fruit or vegetable that appears on their mask.
Name that fruit or vegetable: Break into groups as described above. Each group must correctly identify every fruit or vegetable on their mask. The group that does this fastest wins a prize.
Fruit and veggie ice breaker: Use the masks to start meetings and group classes on a fun note!
Independence Day will be here before we know it. As we celebrate freedom in the United States, we have some unique materials that prompt your clients, students, or employees to consider a different kind of freedom.
Our Freedom from Chronic Disease materials inspire folks to think about their health and realize that good health can bring them freedom, now and in the future.
What kind of freedom are we talking about? Here are some examples and ideas you can use to discuss Freedom from Chronic Disease:
Freedom from worry. Someone who has a long family history of heart disease may spend lots of time worrying about it. Would making a diet or lifestyle change now, even if it’s small, help to alleviate this worry? Maybe feeling more in control will lead them to make more healthy changes.
Freedom from medications. Think about the money you can save by not having to take cholesterol-lowering drugs, for example. All meds have side effects, so not having to worry about that is another form of freedom that people may not consider.
Freedom from expensive healthcare. Chronic disease means seeing specialists, undergoing tests and procedures, paying for prescriptions, and more doctor visits in general. These things are costly in dollars as well as your time.
Freedom from high food costs. People think that healthy food costs more, but a little education can go a long way when it comes to healthy eating on a budget. Healthy food doesn’t have to be organic or gourmet!
Freedom to do what you want to do. This is important as you get older. When you’re healthy, it’s easier to travel, play with your grandkids (or great-grandkids!), and stay independent.
Kids and adults alike will love this colorful poster that features vibrant photos of real high fiber foods, all within the outline of a hand giving a high-five.
Why a high-five to fiber-rich foods? Consider these five points from the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
Dietary fiber is considered a dietary component of public health concern for the general U.S. population because low intakes are associated with health concerns.
Dietary patterns that do not meet recommended intakes of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contribute to low intakes of dietary fiber.
More than 90 percent of women and 97 percent of men do not meet recommended intakes for dietary fiber.
Whole grains are consumed below recommended levels for children of all ages.
Fruit and vegetable intake decreases as children get older and by late adolescence (18-21yrs), average fruit and vegetable consumption is about half of the recommended range of intake.
This isn’t good news for Americans, but the High Five to High Fiber poster doesn’t dwell on the negative. It stays positive, with the simple message that all the beautiful fruits, grains, nuts, vegetables, and legumes pictured contain dietary fiber.
As a bonus, the poster is also great for teaching about a plant-based diet.
So let’s all give a high-five to high fiber foods!
When it comes to screening for colorectal cancer (CRC), 45 is the new 50.
That’s because CRC rates have increased for people under the age of 50, prompting experts to lower the recommended age to begin screening for those at average risk for the disease.
As nutrition and health educators, we can teach diet- and lifestyle-related changes that lower the risk of developing CRC. But reminding people to get screened is also important, as many put off that first colonoscopy or fail to follow their doctor’s recommendation for future screenings.
Here are a few ways to incorporate CRC prevention into individual or group education:
Explore the microbiome. Because gut health is related to colon cancer, our Microbiome PowerPoint and handout set is a great way to introduce people to this emerging topic. You’ll also want to check out the gut health poster and even a floor decal to go along with this theme.
PromoteMyPlate and regular physical activity. These topics may seem simple and routine, but when people eat the MyPlate way and move more every day, they’re cutting their risk of developing CRC. And because high intake of processed meats is also linked to CRC, be sure to emphasize that Real Food Grows.
Many people put off CRC screening because of the dreaded colonoscopy, so it may help to let them know that other screening optionsmight be available.
Read more about the new colon cancer screening guidelineshere.
With spring just around the corner, more fruits and vegetables will soon be in season. Plan now to get your clients or students engaged and excited about eating more fresh produce with our Fruit and Vegetable Challenge Kit.
The Fruit and Vegetable Challenge Kit includes everything you need to run a friendly competition. There are five weekly themes, buying and preparation tips, recipes, health benefits, and beautiful color photos of fresh fruits and veggies.
Here are some ideas for using the Challenge Kit with different audiences:
In the classroom, students can:
Complete the weekly fruit and vegetable theme challenges.
Check and compare fresh produce prices online.
Research what fruits and veggies are in season where they live.
Create social media posts that promote a fruit or vegetable.
In the workplace, employees can:
Sign up for the fruit and vegetable challenge.
Compete within or between departments.
Learn about local community-supported agriculture (CSAs) and farmers’ markets.
Vote for the fruit or vegetable of the week.
In individual nutrition counseling, clients can:
Choose a fruit and vegetable challenge to complete.
Chart their own progress at home.
Try new recipes featuring seasonal fruits and veggies.
Choose a fruit or vegetable color photo to use as a screensaver.
In virtual group classes, participants can:
Meet online weekly for a 5-week fruit and vegetable challenge series.
Compete in groups or individually.
Cook/prepare along with the instructor in virtual food prep demos.
Share progress and questions in a group text chat or Facebook group.
It won’t be long until people start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Ads for weight loss programs will show up in social media feeds. Health and nutrition influencers will tout their magic bullets.
When you stick to science-based recommendations, it can be hard to compete. How can you get your clients’ attention away from the flashy fads and quick-fixes?
We have just the answer! Our collection of MyPlate Food Photos can help you stand out while promoting a healthy, plant-based eating pattern based on the MyPlate concept.
Use these beautiful, professional photographs of real food to get your message across. Here are just a few ideas:
Inspire your social media followers with beautiful photos of plates that follow the MyPlate guidelines. Kick off 2021 by posting a MyPlate meal of the day for the first 15 days of the year.
Motivate your readers with a blog series on healthy choices from each food group. With our pictures, you won’t have to add many words to make your point.
Guide your students through the important topic of serving sizes with a presentation that features pictures of appropriate portions of real food.
Instruct everyone about what makes up a healthy eating plan with photos showing how many servings of each food group you need every day.
Remind your clients what healthy eating looks like by sending them pictures of real food in emails or text messages.
We’re seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic. People have been stressed out since March and now face a winter warning of coronavirus and flu.
Our clients, students, and employees are probably tired of being told what to do and what not to do. Do they have the capacity to follow a new diet or make big dietary changes? Maybe not.
That means we need to be creative and sneak in our message where we can. Instead of ramming diet restrictions down their throats, think about being more subtle.
How about using beautiful photographs of real food to convey the healthy eating message? Check out these items:
What’s on Your Fork?According to this poster, it’s mouth-watering bites of fresh, nutrient-dense foods.
Fork Photo Walloons. These wall decals shaped like balloons feature eye-catching photos of asparagus, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, whole wheat pasta, salmon, and a strawberry. When a picture says it all, no words are necessary!
Fork Stickers. Let people take home a little reminder of what healthy food looks like. Again, no words needed.
Choose Wisely Poster. More beautiful color photos of fruits and veggies, with the message: “You need fuel. Choose wisely.”
Everyday, people see pictures of fake food on billboards, online, and on TV. Let’s fight back by posting beautiful photos of healthy food on the walls of our offices, hallways, and cafeterias, on our social media pages, and in our classrooms.
These positive, subliminal messages might be the gentle reminder everyone needs to get back on track with healthy eating.
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has held five public meetings over the past year. At each meeting, subcommittees present updates on their research. (You can get all the details here.)
A subcommittee called the Data Analysis and Food Pattern Modeling Cross-Cutting Working Group has presented some interesting snapshots of the American diet. Although the Advisory Committee’s report isn’t ready yet, this information can help you come up with relevant topics for nutrition and health education. Here are two examples:
Most Americans snack — in fact, 93% of us do, usually 2-3 times/day.
Snacks provide 22-23% of our total calories.
Late-night snacking often involves added sugars, sodium, and saturated fats.
Every eating occasion is a chance to make nutrient-dense food choices. Shifts in childhood and adulthood snacks could help people meet food group and nutrient recommendations.
Fruits and vegetables make great snacks. They’re unprocessed and lower in calories, added sugar, sodium, and fat. For tips, check out our Snack Smart poster and color handout download.
Use restaurant menus to help clients or students choose healthier entrees when eating out.
Encourage folks to plan their meals, make a shopping list, and eat more meals at home. Our Menu Planning tools are a great place to start.
Sandwiches don’t have to be high in fat and sodium. Show clients how to build a healthier sandwich with lean meats and lots of veggies.
If you’ve signed up to get updates about the 2020 Dietary Guidelines, you should have received an email letting you know that the fifth meeting of the Advisory Committee has taken place and you have until June 1, 2020 to submit comments (revised on April 9, 2020).
The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s schedule has been extended by one month, in consideration of new demands on Committee members’ schedules due to COVID-19. USDA and HHS continue to plan for the release of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans by the end of the year.
To stay connected and receive updates as the Committee’s work progresses, please check DietaryGuidelines.gov.
From the Impossible burger to the Beyond taco, plant-based ‘meats’ are everywhere. Products like these are fueling the plant-based diet movement.
While we’re thrilled to see this healthy way of eating become more popular, let’s make sure the right messages are getting out there. Today we want to share a few materials and tips to help you quickly put together a class on real-food plant-based eating.
Our Grown, Not Processed poster says it all. The elegant photographs of fresh produce are a reminder of what real food looks like, in stark contrast to the images of fake-meat sandwiches that consumers see every day.
Our Plant Power! poster might be better for younger audiences. They’ll be drawn to the iguana, then realize he’s made up of vibrant photos of plant foods. And the poster comes with a handy plant-based diet quiz!
These are just two examples of materials that can spark a conversation about real food, plant-based eating, and where processed plant-based ‘meats’ fit in. Here are five teaching tips to use:
Eating Out: Bring some local restaurant menus to class, or ask participants to look up their favorites on their phones. Have them find plant-based items on the menu. Are these options highly processed? High in fat or salt? Help them find the healthiest plant-based menu items, and discuss how not-so-healthy items could be modified.
Some Meat is OK: Ask participants to name their favorite meat or poultry-based dish. How can they change it so the meat is more of a side dish or garnish? Discuss how a plant-based diet doesn’t have to mean a completely meatless diet.
Plant-Based MyPlate: Working in small groups, have participants come up with a few plant-based meals that follow MyPlate. On a large piece of flip-chart paper, have them draw a circle (plate) for each meal and fill in the MyPlate sections with the name (or drawing) of the food. The groups can then come together to share their meal ideas.
Unprocessed Plant Protein: Do a cooking demo featuring beans, peas, or lentils. Pass around small zip-top baggies holding different types of dried legumes so people can see the huge variety of choices.
Processed Plant Protein: Bring in packaging from products you can find in the supermarket, like frozen veggie burgers and corndogs, chicken-less tenders, fish-less filets, etc. Let individuals or small groups take one or two packages and tell the class about the product, its ingredients, nutrition facts, and how they think it fits into a plant-based way of eating.
Let’s show people that it’s not impossible to fit more plant foods into their diet. In fact, if they go Beyond the processed products advertised on TV, they’re sure to find lots of healthy, delicious, real-food options in the produce section of the grocery store!
Use the code PLANTS15 to get 15% off all of our plant-based teaching resources and prizes! Good until February 1st. Hurry!
Have you seen our Salad Mandalas? Yes, you read that right – but you have to see it to believe it, so take a look at the bottom of this page and then read on!
We know you’ll love these beautiful works of art as much as we do! Eye-catching and discussion-generating, they will brighten up any area and remind people to eat their fruits and vegetables every day.
Not sure what to do with our Salad Mandalas? Whether you choose the floor or wall decal, they’ll stick to most clean, smooth surfaces and are removable. Here are some ideas on where to put them:
In a hospital… A Salad Mandala on the floor or wall is the perfect way to identify dietitians’ offices, the nutrition department, kitchen, or cafeteria – wherever you want people to know that healthy eating is a priority here!
In a nursing home… Hang one up the dining area or other common room where residents and visitors can enjoy the beautiful colors.
In a school… Students and staff will get a kick out of seeing Salad Mandalas on the wall or floor of the cafeteria or gym, the nurse’s office, food service director’s office, health classrooms, and hallways.
In a fitness center… Brighten up the locker rooms or aerobics studio.
In a doctor’s office… Patients will appreciate having something unique to look at while they wait, making the Salad Mandala a good choice for exam rooms.
In a library… Use one as part of a display for nutrition month in March, salad month in May, or farmer’s market week in August, along with selected cookbooks or children’s books that feature fruits and veggies.
At a health fair… Attract a crowd with the Salad Mandala decal – on the floor in front of your booth or on the wall behind it.
In a vending machine area… Remind everyone about the healthiest snacks of all!
And here are some activities to go with our Salad Mandala decals:
Preschool/early elementary class… Use the Salad Mandala to teach colors, practice counting, or learn the names of fruits and vegetables. Have a special Salad Mandala Snack – everyone can make their own mandala on a paper plate with cut up fruits and veggies.
Caught eating healthy… Put the Salad Mandala on a wall in the school cafeteria. Ask parent volunteers to come in during lunchtime once a week to snap pictures of kids who are eating a fruit or vegetable that day. Then post the pictures around the mandala. Watch the circle grow bigger every week!
Salad day selfies… Let adults in on the fun in your workplace or hospital cafeteria! Build a salad from the salad bar, then take a selfie in front of the Salad Mandala decal and post it to your social media page.
Salad Mandala search… Put the mandala in a different classroom, hallway, office, or other location every week to generate interest.
Be sure to let us know what YOU do with our Salad Mandala decals!