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

Display of the Month: Eating Pattern Shifts

Shifting to a healthier eating pattern is — hands down — a great idea.

After all, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans assert, “most Americans urgently need to shift intakes to achieve […] healthy eating patterns.” MyPlate echoes this advice, urging people to “Focus on making healthy food and beverage choices from all five food groups including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy […] Make small changes to create a healthier eating style.”

That’s why this month’s display is all about encouraging manageable shifts to improve eating patterns.

You may remember the myriad displays of the month leading up to this point, and I have to confess that this one is one of my very favorites. If you’d like to catch up before proceeding to the newest edition, simply follow the links below…

And now for the new stuff! Here’s a guide to everything you need to put together July’s Display of the Month…

Set Up Your Booth

The Materials:

The Activities:

  • Game: Make the Shift!
  • Discussion: What Makes Eating Pattern Shifts Sustainable?

The Details:

Start by setting up your space. Grab a big table and hang the Change It Up Banner in front of it. On top of the table, arrange a Healthier Choices 1-2-3 Poster on a Tabletop Easel, flanked by some Make Healthy Choices a Snap Handouts. Circle the whole thing with your prizes — a mix of Change It Up Bookmarks and Butterfly Stickers. Now, where do you have a little extra space? Where else would you like to draw the eye? Wherever that is, set up your banner: Change It Up or Healthier Choices 1-2-3 or both!

Survey your arrangement. What works? What doesn’t? Adjust accordingly, then get ready for your participants to arrive.

Engage Your Audience

For the Make the Shift! Game, write down some common meals and snack foods that aren’t ideal for good health. On the back of each card, draft a few ideas for ways to shift that food/meal into a healthier element of a balanced eating pattern. Check out MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for some inspiration.

Once your participants arrive, announce the game and offer prizes for fantastic answers. Decide whether you’re going to have people play individually or in teams, then hold up your first card. What isn’t healthy about that meal/food? What can people do to help shift it into a healthier choice? How sustainable is that shift? Offer extra points for creativity. Once you’ve run out of cards, tally points and award prizes to the winners (alternatively, you can toss out prizes for participation and engagement as everyone plays the game).

For your discussion of What Makes Eating Pattern Shifts Sustainable? simply pose the question to the group. What kind of changes are easier to sustain over time? Why? Which are unsustainable? Why? What have people had success with in the past? What stumbling blocks have they overcome?

Oh, and here’s the free printable Make Healthy Choices a Snap handout for your display too!

Healthy Choices 123

Before we end this post, don’t miss these other great resources for eating pattern shifts…

Display of the Month: Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

June is Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, so what better time is there to celebrate the joys of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables? This month’s display will help you do just that, without having to burn the midnight oil.

The Materials:

The Activities:

  • Game: Name That Fruit or Vegetable
  • Brainstorming Session: Incorporating Variety into Your Meals

The Details:

To set up your space, first arrange your table with the Color Your World with Food Banner hanging along the front. Flanking it to one side, add the You Need Fuel: Choose Wisely Banner and Stand. To balance it, set up your brainstorming space on the other side of the table. Arrange the Fruit and Vegetable Balloons behind the table. Now top the table with the I Heart Fruits and Vegetables Poster on a Tabletop Easel and arrange some of the Fruit and Vegetable Handouts out in front of it. Line up your prizes (Fruit and Vegetable Pens and Fruit and Vegetable Stickers) at the front of your table, then take a step back and evaluate. How does the display look? Make any necessary shifts, then get ready for your activities.

Display of the month

For the Name That Fruit or Vegetable Game assemble a collection of facts and trivia about common fruits and vegetables. Food and Health’s blog has a few pages of great resources for this game, and the Name That Fruit and Veggie PowerPoint Slideshow is full of fruit and veggie facts as well. Consider the following examples as inspiration for your own collection.

  • This guitar-shaped squash is rich in alpha carotene, which has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer (butternut).
  • These tart citrus fruits contain limonin, a cancer-fighting compound that is good for your health (lemons).
  • These starchy veggies are fat-free sources of vitamin E (yams).
  • This tree-like veggie is part of the cabbage family (broccoli).

Once you’ve assembled your facts and trivia (note: this should be before the fair), collect a group of people at your booth to compete for the prizes you’ve displayed. Present each fun fact and let people guess what fruit or vegetable matches it. Offer correct answers and prizes as you go, or have people track their successes and declare a winner at the end of the game.

After the game, turn to brainstorming. Grab your marker and a spot within reach of the brainstorming space, then ask people to discuss the fruits and vegetables they commonly eat. Do they get enough? Review the recommendations set forward by MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, then return to the main topic. How can people incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their meals? How can they build up the variety of fruits and veggies they eat in a week? Offer the remaining prizes for participation, handing them out as volunteers call out suggestions.

Additional Resources:

There are lots of other fruit and vegetable resources that would be perfect for this display, or for another Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month activity. Why not try…

And for more inspiration, check out the previous editions of the Display of the Month series…

Here’s the free printable Fruit and Vegetable Handout for your display!

Fruit and Vegetable Handout

And finally, last but not least, here are some essentials for your Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month celebration…

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

Quiz: Make a Healthy Plate

Quizzes are great vehicles for teaching key health lessons and making sure they stick. Today, as a special treat, I’d like to share one of the quizzes from the PowerPoint show Make a Healthy Plate. This show is one of the chapters in the 12 More Lessons of Wellness and Weight Loss program, which is a comprehensive employee weight loss program.

Are you ready for the sneak peek?

Which Plate?

All right, here’s the quiz. Take a look at the slide above. Which plate has the most calories? Is it Plate A, with a chicken fried steak and fries, or is it Plate B, the one filled with a chicken and vegetable stir fry alongside some brown rice?

Answer Slide

You may not be surprised to see that it’s Plate A that has the most calories, but look at how many more calories it has than Plate B. Plate A has 1,121 calories, while Plate B has only 356 calories. That’s a 765 calorie difference!

A closer look at Plate A

Let’s take a closer look at each plate. You get the calorie total in Plate A by combining an 8-ounce fried steak — which has 521 calories — with 6 ounces worth of French fries. That serving has 600 calories, which brings the total up to 1,121 calories. The fat content is nothing to sneeze at either. When the 21 grams of fat in the steak join the 33 fat grams in the fries, they add up to 54 total grams of fat on that plate alone!

Plate B

Now let’s do the same math for Plate B. A single cup of carrots and a cup of broccoli each have 54 calories. The chicken breast has another 140 calories, and the brown rice has 108 calories. When you add all that up, you get 356 calories for the plate. And the fat grams are much smaller as well. Each cup of vegetables has less than 1 gram of fat, and the brown rice has none at all. The chicken breast has 3 grams of fat, which brings the fat total for the whole plate to roughly 4 grams of fat.

That’s where I’m going to end the slide preview for today. This excerpt comes from pretty early in the Healthy Plate PowerPoint. The show goes on to cover the basics of MyPlate, the components of each My Plate food group, strategies for eyeballing the correct portions, ways to calculate the total calories on your plate, and even methods for “shrinking your plate” at each meal. Fun pop quizzes pepper the presentation, which ends with a review of its most important points.

And that’s just 1 chapter of the 12 that are featured in the 12 More Lessons of Wellness and Weight Loss program! I wasn’t kidding when I said that it was comprehensive. Check out the details for the 12 lessons in the link below…

Here’s a PDF copy of all the slides you saw today — feel free to use the quiz however you’d like!

Healthy Plate

And here are some other great resources from the Nutrition Education Store!

Press Release: Employee Health Programs

For Immediate Release: February 18, 2016
Media and Consumer Inquiries: 800-462-2352

Vallejo, CA — Judy Doherty, PC II and founder of Food and Health Communications Incorporated, has just released 4 comprehensive wellness and weight management programs for businesses and their employees. These are the only employee weight loss programs available that include information from the 2015 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, along with comprehensive nutrition education data and eating plan support. There’s also an extensive review of the importance of building wellness and managing stress.

These are updates to previous editions of highly-successful programs. The consumer response has been resounding acclaim, with one hospital helping 3,102 employees lose a grand total of 9,530 pounds in 10 weeks. The materials make it easy to create, launch, promote, and sustain an employee weight loss program, with lots of games and contests along the way. The brand-new update for 2016 builds on the successful past programs, adding the latest scientific research (including 2015 dietary guidelines materials), updating the presentation art and images, and streamlining all the information to be most relevant for the consumers of today. Each program is available by instant download and on a flash drive as well. There’s also an auto-update download system for newer editions as they are released.

All of these nutrition education programs are available at http://nutritioneducationstore.com/collections/12-lessons. The 4 complete weight loss programs for a year include…

  • The 12 Lessons of Wellness and Weight Loss
  • 12 More Lessons of Wellness and Weight Loss
  • 12 Lessons of Wellness and Weight Management for Kids (perfect for schools!)
  • 12 Lessons of Diabetes

Former purchasers of these employee weight loss contests should use the contact link at the bottom of the page of https://foodandhealth.com to get their updated version of these materials. For more information, visit www.foodandhealth.com or call 800-462-2352.

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

Breakfast Puzzle

Celebrate breakfast with this fun, free puzzle. There’s even a handout that you can share as you see fit!

Breakfast Puzzle

Across:

1. This low-calorie breakfast bread is a great option when you’re grabbing a meal on the go. Hint: Think muffins.
2. A ___ ____ food is a food that includes the entire grain kernel. It has more fiber and nutrients than a refined grain food.
3. This MyPlate food group includes oranges, grapefruits, bananas, and berries.
4. This is the title of your first meal of the day.
7. The name of this warm, heart-healthy, cooked grain cereal begins with the letter “o.”
8. Choose whole grain versions of this grain food for breakfast.

Down:

1. This is the fat-free part of the egg.
4. This thick-skinned, yellow fruit is great to eat on the go. It even comes with its own wrapper.
5. Fat-free milk is also known as ___ ____.
6. This dairy food is great for a quick breakfast on the go.

Stumped? The answers are at the bottom of this post!

Don’t miss these other great nutrition education materials!

Erasable Breakfast Menu Poster

Health Fair Wellness Kit

Salad Secrets Cookbook

Puzzle Answers:

Across:

1. EnglishMuffin
2. WholeGrain
3. Fruit
4. Breakfast
7. Oatmeal
8. Cereal

Down:

1. EggWhite
4. Banana
5.  Yogurt
6. SkimMilk