Compartment Plates Help Kids Eat More Fruits and Veggies

A recent study in a Colorado preschool found that providing children’s plates with compartments with images of fruits and veggies increased how much they added to their plate and consequently, consumed.
The study included 325 children. For three days during lunchtime in one week, kids were given plates with pictures of fruits and vegetables. Observations were done to see how much they added to their plates and ate. Those days were then compared to three days in a prior week with their normal plain white plates. 1

According to the study, kids served themselves about 44 grams of vegetables each day using the experimental plates, in comparison to 30 grams using their regular plates. In addition, they consumed more veggies: an average of 28 grams using experimental plates versus 21 grams with regular white plates.1

Using experimental plates, kids served themselves approximately 64 grams of fruit, an increase from about 60 grams previously. They ate an average of 55 grams of fruit using experimental plates compared to 51 grams previously.1


Emily Melnick, the study’s co-author from the University of Colorado states, “Pictures on lunch plates may indicate a social norm of vegetable and fruit consumption to nudge children’s dietary behaviors in a classroom setting. These pictures suggest that other children take fruits and vegetables from classroom serving bowls and place them in those compartments and that they should do the same,”.1


Melnick believes the kids in the experiment, similar to children in several preschool classrooms, ate family style meals as this type of dining behavior can encourage children to regulate their food intake, feel in control regarding food choices, learn about food and recognize hunger levels.1
Prior to the study, researchers weighed how much fruit and vegetables kids served themselves using regular white plates over the course of three days. A five-minute presentation was provided by the researchers to the children for the experiment week explaining the new plates with images showing compartments for fruits and vegetables at the start of the week. Children were provided the same meals before the study, and researchers repeated weighing how much children gave themselves and consumed.1


Although kids increased both the amount of fruits and vegetables they served themselves and ate, the difference in fruit intake was too small to rule out the possibility of it being due to chance. Children were eating more fruit than vegetables to start with, the researchers noted in their JAMA Pediatrics article. Children took close to 89% of available fruits versus 65% of available vegetables.1 In children, fruit intake has increased, though fruit and vegetable intake remain too low, according to the CDC. 2


Vandana Sheth, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and dietitian in private practice notes it’s not clear if the classroom experiment could be repeated at home. She states, “If this is repeatable at home, it can be a simple technique practiced by families and have a significant impact on their long-term health. “We know that early childhood dietary behaviors can affect their food choices and eating decisions into adulthood and have a long-term effect,” Sheth added. “If something as simple as putting pictures on plates to encourage food choice and amount can work, it’s worth a try.” Sheth was not involved in the study.1


If you need help getting your kids, other family members or clients to eat more produce, check out Food and Health’s variety of My Plate Plates: https://nutritioneducationstore.com/collections/myplate-plates


References:


1. https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/division-information/media-tools/dpk/vs-fruits-vegetables/index.html

2. Li, Meng, Melnick, E Association of plate design with consumption of fruits and vegetables among preschool children. JAMA Pediatr. Published online August 6, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.1915

Submitted by Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD

Are Your Holidays Healthful? A Quiz

Do you keep your holiday celebrations good for your health? Find out with this brand-new quiz!

Questions:

Dancing at a Party1. What is the most featured item in the display of foods at your holiday party?

a) Cookies
b) Meats
c) Fruits and vegetables
d) Cheeses

2. True or false? I make sure to get at least some physical activity during most days of the week.

3. Some smart ways to control portion size at meals include…

a) Making a healthy plate.
b) Sharing a meal
c) Being aware of the calorie content of the foods you purchase.
d) All of the above

4. True or false? I make sure to eat a healthful high-fiber breakfast every morning.

Answers:

Holiday Platter1. c) Fruits and vegetables
For the most healthful holiday celebration, make fruits and vegetables the start of any buffet you set up. You can keep things simple with crudités and some yogurt-based dips, or you can get fancy and roast up your favorite vegetables and serve them on a platter, drizzled with a little bit of sauce and garnished with parsley. Add bowls of berries and sliced fruit too!

2. True
To stay healthy during the holidays, it’s wise to sneak in a little physical activity whenever you can, even though things are busy. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, “Being physically active is one of the most important steps that Americans of all ages can take to improve their health.”

Check the Label3. d) All of the above
If you’re having a holiday gathering at a restaurant or coffee shop, check out any nutrition information that’s available online. Make sure that the portion size of what you want to order is reasonable. If it’s not, look for alternatives. Then, if you want to get or make something that only comes in a large portion, share it with a friend or family member. Finally, if you’re picking up a treat for a holiday gathering, check the labels! Use the Nutrition Facts to calculate serving size, nutrient content, and much more! Making a healthy plate will help you put your foods in the right proportions, too.

4. True
Starting your day off with a balanced and high-fiber breakfast is a smart way to stay healthy this holiday season. After all, breakfast is associated with a lower BMI, fewer calories consumed during the day, and a better diet. Plus, a healthful breakfast not only gives you energy, but also increases cognitive function. Some ideas include high-fiber cereal with nonfat milk, and fruit, or lowfat yogurt and fruit, or egg whites and fruit. A smoothie made with fruit and skim milk is also a great start.

How did you do? Do you know the nuts and bolts of staying healthy during the holidays?

Resource Spotlight: Walloons

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Here are some new educational resources that just happen to be both creative and engaging.

Walloons!

What are walloons, you ask?

They’re wall decals shaped like balloons. You can use them as decorations and teaching tools.

These wall decals come in handy when you want to add a little pizzazz to your walls. They’re great anywhere that you might want to fill in the space between posters, and they are spectacular in cafeterias, exam rooms, classrooms, offices, and more! I created them after I got a request from our dietitian customer Sonya Angelone, MS, RD, who wanted to perk up her children’s school cafeteria. They have been hanging on the walls there ever since. Sonya said the walls looked bare and she wanted to have some fun and positive decals that matched our fruit and vegetable balloons. We had these drawn up by our artist and Sonya fell in love with them so we made a special order of these wall decals for her. We figured everyone else might want some. They are perfect for walls that cannot hang posters or walls that need sprucing up or small places. You can even stick them on bulletin boards. See below for our directions for how you can make your own, too!

walloon_aspargus_1024x1024

There are several varieties of walloons to choose from. Which best match your style?

The What’s on Your Fork? Walloons are the newest additions to the Nutrition Education Store and are perfect for National Nutrition Month. After all, the theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.”

Of course you can also make your own walloons. Draw a balloon with a black magic marker on a large white piece of paper. Copy it on a copy machine. Allow everyone to cut and paste their favorite food photos on the balloons. Then adhere the balloons to the wall using a 3d removable poster tape. This allows them to stick to the wall but keeps them removable, too. Of course you can also have everyone take pictures of their forks for your social media channel. Be sure to use a hashtag that reflects your name so you can post them with ease.

And, in case you missed it, here’s another Nutrition Month resource: the printable handout that comes with the What’s on Your Fork Bulletin Board Banner

whatsonyourforkhandout-copy

And here’s a peek at these walloons from the Nutrition Education Store

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

How to Make A Rainbow Salad

We love special requests. Here is a recent one for a Gluten Free Information Poster which shows the safe, gluten-free grains that are common:

Gluten free template-1

Gluten free is not always easy but hopefully we have made it easier. Thanks to Pat Hunter, MS, RD, for her request.

Here is another request from Goleta School District. They wanted a sign to jazz up their salad bar. So we did a little research here in the Boulder school district to find out what they are doing. They taped together a sign like a table tent. So we set out to design a big table tent that is the length of a salad bar or about 3 feet long. And Goleta School District wanted a rainbow salad. So we worked on a 3 foot salad.

The real salad was indeed 3 feet long. But you can’t take a great closeup photo of a 3 foot long salad so we took multiple shots and hand-stitched them together for the best results. This salad, in our Photoshop file, was over 300 inches long. It took up hundreds of meg on our computer. It had to be right-sized and then set into the poster:

36x24 Rainbow

We liked it so much we made a 18X12 Rainbow Salad poster and a large 2X3 vinyl Rainbow Salad banner. So anytime you want to promote eating LOTS of fruits and vegetables in all colors, these products are for you.

Or if you want to make a 3 foot long salad you can copy this one:

rainbow-small

We found a glass plank at Crate and Barrel – it was on sale. And we studied photos of real rainbows.

Then we arranged the vegetables and fruits like so:

  1. Kidney beans
  2. Cherry or pear tomatoes
  3. Red peppers
  4. Orange peppers
  5. Orange segments
  6. Yellow peppers
  7. Garbanzo beans
  8. Pineapple
  9. Cabbage
  10. Jicama
  11. Cucumbers
  12. Celery
  13. Broccoli
  14. Romaine
  15. Parsley
  16. Green lettuce
  17. Snow peas
  18. Blueberries
  19. Red baby romaine lettuce

This would make a great party platter or family style salad bar, too.

ENJOY!

If you have a special request, let us know – we make a lot of our special requests and always love more!

If you are looking for more healthy food photos, check out our new photo store: http://healthyfoodphotos.com