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

A New Path to More Fruits and Vegetables

Star fruitHave you ever seen the book 1001 Foods to Die For (2007 Madison Press Books)? A friend gave me this book, which features a collection of unique foods, rare ingredients, and exquisite recipes. We’ve had a lot of fun looking at the pictures and counting how many of these foods we’ve eaten. I’m only on 276 of the 1,001, so I’d better get busy.

Fruits and vegetables make up most of the items in this book. Some are exotic and others are more common, but all are considered special by the authors. I consider myself a “foodie” and even I have barely heard of many of these!

This got me thinking about what fruits and vegetables we do eat regularly.

Like most Americans, my grocery cart usually has bananas, apples, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, and the occasional bundle of asparagus, avocados, or peppers. Over time, I’ve found myself in a bit of a shopping and cooking rut. No wonder people have trouble filling half their plates with fruits and vegetables at each meal! As much as I like these foods, eating them over and over again can get boring.

So how can we encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables?

How about with a new checklist or quiz? The book 1001 Foods to Die For has over 75 entries in the Fruits, Nuts and Vegetables chapter, and I’ve narrowed the list down to 30. How many of these foods have you tried? How many have your clients tried?

New Food Checklist

You can also use this list to inspire your clients. Have your students make their own lists of 12 foods they’d like to try this year. That could be just one new food each month!

The “I want to try list” doesn’t have to be from this list, feel free to let them add some of their own foods and leave space for “surprises” or yet-unknown foods.

Who knows, they might just add a new favorite to their you see something you haven’t tried before, buy it and try. Who knows, you might just add a new favorite to your fruits and vegetable repertoire of foods they like.

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

We’re here to help you look your very best, right now. Here are some other fun resources to help your clients try new fruits and vegetables…

Fruit and vegetable posters

New products:

Fruit and Vegetable Challenge

Fruit Trivia

It’s National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month! Let’s celebrate with a brand-new post from Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University!

Mango!No one can argue with the fact that most people should eat more fruits and vegetables. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans stress the wisdom of moving to a more plant-based diet, and MyPlate encourages us to fill half our plates with fruits and vegetables at each meal. If you’re counting fruit servings, men and women should eat at least 2 cups of fruit every day and children ages between the ages of 9 and 13 should get at least 1 ½ cups.

How many more times can we say this? Are there other ways to teach about fruits and vegetables that might encourage folks to add them to their diet?

I think there are tons of fun ways to encourage healthful eating, so here’s a quick fruit quiz. It’s a great icebreaker, and it features some exciting and controversial fruits. In addition, the quiz answers provide fun facts and trivia about fruit, which in turn can add to a lesson. What a great way to introduce people to new fruits while reminding them of the health benefits of a balanced diet! To further expand on the quiz, offering some of these fruits as show-and-tell pieces or as samples can also be fun.

Anyway, on to the quiz!

Fruit Quiz

  1. What are peaches with smooth and shiny skin called?
    a) Naked peaches
    b) Nectarines
    c) White peaches
    d) Plums
  2. What is the most-consumed fruit in the world?
    a) Bananas
    b) Apples
    c) Mangoes
    d) Tomatoes
  3. What are the small edible pieces of the pomegranate called?
    a) Fruit
    b) Arils
    c) Cheeks
    d) Pips
  4. When cutting a fresh mango, what are the two large pieces of flesh on either side of the seed called?
    a) Cheeks
    b) Pips
    c) Arils
    d) Nothing special
  5. Which fruit contains heart-healthy fats?
    a) Coconut
    b) Avocado
    c) Olives
    d) All of the above

Fruit Quiz Answers:

1. B. NECTARINES
Nectarines are a subspecies of peach. They don’t have the gene for fuzz, which is why their skins are smooth. Nectarines are usually slightly smaller than peaches, and, like peaches, there are both freestone and clingstone varieties of nectarine. Nectarines tend to be more delicate than peaches, and they bruise even more easily. Look for fruit with lots of yellow and no green. Avoid buying nectarines that are extremely hard. That said, unripened nectarines can be ripened in a paper bag at room temperature. Nectarines make great snacks — they’re low in fat, have no sodium, and are good sources of vitamin C.

2. C. MANGOES
Can you believe it? It turns out that 3 mangoes are consumed for every banana, worldwide. And there are 10 mangoes consumed for every single apple across the globe as well. Mangoes are widely consumed in India, South Asia, China, and Latin America, while we Americans still consider them an “exotic” fruit. By the way, speaking botanically, tomatoes are fruit as well.

3. B. ARILS
Arils are the fleshy appendage that covers the seeds of a pomegranate. They’re a kind of seed sac. Each pomegranate contains about of 600-800 of these arils. That’s about ¾ of a cup of fruit. The crunchy seeds and this surrounding juicy sac are the choice edible parts of the pomegranate. Nutritionally, pomegranates are considered a superfood because they are a concentrated source of antioxidants and phytochemicals. Just 1/2 of a medium pomegranate gives you 130 calories, 6 grams of fiber and 25% of your daily value for vitamin C. They also have some B vitamins and potassium.

4. A. CHEEKS.
To get to the cheeks, slice the mango from the stem end, carefully cutting close to (but not into) the large pit. The large piece that you cut off is called the cheek, and there are 2 on each mango. When selecting mangoes, choose ones that are firm, with no wrinkles, and avoid mangoes that have sap or stickiness on their skins. The color of a mango is not important because it is not an indicator of ripeness. A ripe mango will give will give slightly to the touch. It has a “feel” similar to that of a ripe peach. Until they’re ripe, mangoes can be stored at room temperature but out of direct sunlight. Once cut, they should be refrigerated. Mangoes are low in fat and high in vitamin A. They’re also sodium-free and a good source of vitamin C.

5. D. ALL OF THE ABOVE.
No, this isn’t a trick question. Speaking botanically, all three of those foods — avocados, olives, and coconuts — are considered fruits. Most fruits contain low levels of fat, but these three do contain higher amounts than many other fruits. The majority of the fat in avocados and olives is unsaturated, either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. These are considered more healthful forms of fat and a more healthful choice than saturated fats from animal products. Unsaturated fats help to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (LDL, aka “bad” cholesterol) and increase healthful high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. Avocados are loaded with nutrients like dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and folate. They’re also cholesterol- and sodium-free. Two tablespoons of mashed avocado contain about 55 calories. Coconuts (both the coconut meat and the coconut oil) contain saturated fat, overconsumption of which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. However, the fat in coconut is now considered a medium-chain saturated fatty acid. Newer research is showing that these medium-chain fatty acids may not increase cholesterol levels as once thought. Instead, they may actually have a positive effect.

A few words of caution: olives contain a high amount of sodium, so should be used in moderation. Being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease, so higher fat fruits (even those with “good fats”) should also be eaten in moderation.

Here’s a free handout with the fruit quiz. Get your copy today!

Fruit Quiz

And, as always, there’s more in the store! Remember, we’re here to help you look your very best, right now.

Fruit Bulletin Board

Fruit and Vegetable Challenge: Wellness Program

Poster: Fruit Photos

Help Kids Eat More Vegetables

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “9 in 10 children didn’t eat enough vegetables in 2007-2010.”

Salad Kit for KidsThat is one sad statistic.

After all, eating a wide variety of vegetables is critical to good health. Take MyPlate’s advice, for example. “People who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.” Plus, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans counsel people to “Increase vegetable and fruit intake” and “Eat a variety of vegetables.”

Getting enough vegetables is especially important for children. The CDC asserts “Healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development and can prevent health problems such as obesity, dental caries, iron deficiency, and osteoporosis.”

It’s time to turn things around and help kids get the vegetables they need.

Shopping Kit for KidsThat’s why we’ve recently added two new interactive resources to the Nutrition Education Store. These felt shopping and salad kits offer new ways for kids to engage with fruits and vegetables, encouraging healthful habits and a balanced diet.  Plus, research indicates that kids who play a role in choosing the healthful ingredients for a meal are more likely to eat it. Getting familiar with salad is one way to help increase fruit and vegetable intake among children. Shopping for food together is another.

But that’s not all! Today we’re offering a sneak peek into ways to help kids eat more vegetables. Check out the handouts below — you can get a free leader guide for fruit and vegetable activities for kids in kindergarten through 3rd grade, and then follow up with a free activity page for kids at the same age level. Check out the previews below, and if you like what you see, get your own salad or shopping kits today!

Salad Activity Ideas:

Activity #1 — Salad Taste Test: Fill a bowl with lettuce leaves and pass it around. Have each child taste a piece of lettuce and describe it. Repeat the taste test with other salad ingredients, then use the felt to show ways the ingredients can be combined into yummy salads. If you have the time and budget, offer real salad ingredients for kids to mix and match. Let them eat their creations.

Activity #2 — Fun Facts: Divide the kids into groups and give each a different felt ingredient. With younger kids, have each group think of something that makes that ingredient special. With older kids, have them research the health impact of that ingredient. Have each group present their findings and put their piece in the tray. At the end, present the tray to the kids — look at the great salad they can make together!

Salad Worksheet:

Salad Worksheet

If you like what you see, get the handouts for free! Here are PDF copies of the leader guide and activity page, just for you!

Salad Leader Guide

Salad WorksheetPS These would be perfect for National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, which is coming right up!

And here are more fruit and vegetable resources from the Nutrition Education Store. Remember, we’re here to help you look your very best…

Fruit and Vegetable Poster Set

Fruit and Vegetable Balloon Set

Color Your World with Food Banner

Reader Request: Nutrition Month Coloring Pages

You all know how much I love getting requests, right?

Here’s a fun request that made its way into my inbox a few weeks ago.

Hello, Judy!

Each year, I sponsor a “poster project” at my daughter’s school.  Students in grades pre-school thru 2nd grade are given a page to color. I use the one available from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics website, based on the year’s theme. However, they have not created a page this year.

Last year, you were able to create 2 pages.   I am wondering if you might have a page that I could print for the students to color, based on the theme, “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle”?

Thank you!
Mary Therese Maslanka, RDN, LDN

How could I resist?

My team and I immediately went to work, and Mary Therese Maslanka had those coloring pages in her inbox as soon as we were done.

But I didn’t want to stop there. Now that it’s National Nutrition Month, what better time to share this wonderful resource with you, dear readers?

So, without further ado, here are two great coloring pages that are based on this year’s theme: Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle. Get your copies today!

National Nutrition Month Page 1

 

National Nutrition Month 2

Looking for more fun ways to get kids involved with National Nutrition Month? Check out these fun games and prizes!

Fruit and Vegetable Pens

I Love Salad Wristbands for Kids

Change It Up Stickers