COVID-19 Goals: It’s Time for a Do-Over

Raise your hand if, when the COVID-19 shut down began, you vowed to use this time at home to do big things — like cook from scratch with only unprocessed foods every night; organize those boxes of family photos; workout twice a day; or learn a foreign language.

We had good intentions, but our goals were unrealistic, especially given that we’re in the middle of a pandemic. The news took over our lives and we had to get used to working virtually in many cases.

Chances are, your clients also set themselves up with some lofty goals, many relating to diet. When they failed to meet these unrealistic expectations, they may have thrown up their hands and quit trying. Let them know this is normal. Then help them move on with small goals for healthy eating.

This might just be the perfect time to introduce yourself and your clients to the Start Simple with MyPlate App. Free from the App Store and Google Play, this app helps you set and meet healthy eating goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely).

Here’s how the app works:

  1. Choose up to three goals per MyPlate food group. Some examples: “add vegetables to your lunch,” “have fruit for a sweet treat,” “have a whole grain at dinner,” “start your day with a protein food.” You can do this for each food group, or just pick one or two food groups to work on.
  2. When you meet a goal, you check it off for that day. The app lets you see your daily progress, get simple how-to tips to help you meet your goals, and select options for notifications and reminders.
  3. As your goals are completed, you can earn a variety of badges, like first goal complete, daily-streaks, food group badges, and the ultimate MyPlate badge.

Why we like the Start Simple with MyPlate App:

  • Easy: although it’s not designed for kids, they’ll pick it up quickly and can probably teach their parents/grandparents to use it.
  • Fun: the app is colorful, appealing to the eye, and fun to use.
  • Uplifting: when you check off a completed goal or earn a badge, you get a little celebration on your screen. (Sounds corny, but it will make you smile.)
  • Flexible: you can change your goals at any time.
  • Educational: users can learn more about MyPlate by clicking on the MyPlate 101 section.
  • Basic: the goals are simple enough for anyone to do.
  • Maintainable: when the world is overwhelming, this app helps you make a small change that you’ll be able to maintain.
  • Shareable: when you earn a badge, you can share this success on social media. This may encourage others to join you.
  • Challenging: there are built-in challenges for each season, providing a sense of competition and something larger to work toward for those who want it.

Tips for using the Start Simple with MyPlate App with your clients:

Check out our new and popular MyPlate materials:

Introducing the Healthy Bucket List

It’s February … time to ask your clients how those new year’s resolutions are going. If they’re like most of us, it’s probably not good. This is the perfect time to introduce them to the Healthy Bucket List!

People love bucket lists. Our new Healthy Bucket List poster introduces 12 small goals that can add up to big changes over time. Things like learning to read a food label, making a salad, drinking water, and eating a healthy breakfast.

Our Healthy Bucket List goals align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate, so you know they’re based on sound nutrition advice for a healthy lifestyle.

Here are six simple ways to use the Healthy Bucket List in classes, individual counseling sessions, health fairs, and more:

  1. #HealthyBucketList Challenge: Start a social media challenge by asking friends and followers to complete one of our Healthy Bucket List goals every week or month and post updates about their progress using #HealthyBucketList or another tag you come up with.
  2. Family Bucket List & Chat: Get the family together and come up with a family healthy bucket list. Set up a family group chat to remind each other of your goals and to share pictures when you accomplish a bucket list item. You could also do this with co-workers or groups of two or more friends.
  3. Take-Home Bucket List: For young children, talk to them about healthy foods. Then give each student a paper with a drawing of a bucket (see below for ‘how to draw a bucket’ links, or use clipart). Have the kids draw pictures of the healthy foods they want to eat at home. Now they have a cute bucket list to take home to show their family.
  4. Bucket List Display: Use the Healthy Bucket List poster at a health fair. Ask people to look over the list and tell you which goals they’ve already achieved (maybe give out a sticker for each one). Then have them choose a goal or two to work on, and talk about how they can get started.
  5. DIY Healthy Bucket List: Hold a class to help people make their own Healthy Bucket List. You could do a traditional class or get social and do it via Facebook Live. (Never done Facebook Live? Put it on YOUR bucket list!)
  6. Healthy Bucket List Series: Hold a series of classes focusing on our Healthy Bucket List goals. Or integrate the bucket list concept into classes and counseling that you’re already doing.

For instructions on how to draw a simple bucket, click here or here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Little Goals

I’m still thinking about New Year’s resolutions.

The idea in my last post was to approach resolutions like you would a pyramid: start with the basics and build. Instead of making large and broad resolutions, make 12 little changes to your lifestyle. Basically, you can try one new approach per month and then keep adding on to your project for tho entire  year.

And the best part is that it’s not too late for this month!

So, what would you like to do to make your eating pattern a little more healthful? Remember, these small goals don’t always need to be taking something away or stopping doing something; they could be adding things, too.

Only you know what you’re doing now and what you would like to change.

To help get you started, I came up with a list of 20 little goals.

Use this list however you’d like — add to it, choose your favorites, pat yourself on the back for what you’re already doing, etc. Do whatever works for you. Seriously.

  1. Eat one more vegetable every day.
  2. Eat one more fruit every day.
  3. Plan one meatless meal every week.
  4. Buy a refillable water bottle and use it.
  5. Walk an extra 15 minutes each day.
  6. Try a new vegetable this month.
  7. Experiment with an exotic fruit that you’ve never tried before.
  8. Add healthful nuts to your shopping list.
  9. Use more olive oil. Swap out solid fats like butter or margarine for olive oil.
  10. Make your own salad dressings.
  11. Pack your lunch two days a week.
  12. Eat dinner at home at least three nights a week.
  13. Experiment with a “new” whole grain and eat it four different ways.
  14. Wash your hands before eating (even in restaurants).
  15. Experiment with a new spice or herb.
  16. Eat more beans.
  17. Drink less juice.
  18. Eat fish twice a week
  19. Buy old-fashioned oatmeal instead of packaged cereal so that you can eat more oatmeal.
  20. Try one new recipe each month — at the end of the year you will have increased your repertoire of healthy dishes.

I think we all know that eating and being healthful needs to become a lifestyle, not just something you do for a few weeks. Why not try it this year? Small changes at a time. Just think of where you can be 12 months from now.

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

Finding Success on the Path to Wellness

Have I mentioned that I just updated all of our comprehensive wellness programs?

Because I have, and I’m really proud of what my team and I have created. The latest updates include information from the 2015-2020 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, along with a streamlined presentation platform and general improvements that will make these resources more fun for your audience.

So to celebrate that excitement, I’m sharing some slides from one of the most popular programs, The 12 Lessons of Wellness. Today’s preview comes from the show Getting Started, and the slides I’ve chosen offer advice for staying motivated and sidestepping pitfalls on the path to good health.

Let’s take a closer look!

FaceChallenges

As you embark on any path to wellness, you’ll eventually encounter a few stumbling blocks. That’s totally normal! If you plan ahead, it will be easier to overcome those obstacles and continue on your road to success.

Make sure to have a plan B for when the going gets a bit tougher. Fill your freezer with healthy meals. Prep healthy snacks and store them in the fridge or pantry. Keep some in the car in case an on-the-go craving strikes. Speaking of putting things in the car, toss a few exercise clothes in the trunk so that you’re always prepared for a workout. This will help you avoid skipping workouts because you didn’t plan ahead, and it will also ensure that you are prepared if an unexpected exercise opportunity pops up.

Remember that reaching and maintain a healthy weight is your lifetime plan. When you feel discouraged, focus on your successes and review your reasons for wanting to lose weight in the first place.

SpecialOccasions

Now let’s delve into some detail. How can you stay motivated during special occasions?

One tip is to eat before the party so that you aren’t starving when you face down a festive and lavish spread. While you’re there, focus on the conversation. If you do want to indulge a bit, keep things small, exercise the next day, and eat lighter for the rest of the day or the day after.

At these parties, you may encounter a weight loss saboteur or two. Avoid people who don’t support your efforts and instead find people who share your goals. Who knows? This may be a great opportunity to get a workout buddy!

SlowProgress

Let’s move on to another challenge. What happens when you hit a period of slow/no progress?

To start, have patience with yourself. Some days are easier than others. Revisit your goals and make sure that they’re realistic. You can always talk with your dietitian or doctor about your frustration too — they’ll have lots of great ideas for you.

RewardWhen it comes to keeping your motivation through health and fitness challenges, sometimes a reward is just the boost you need. Establish what your reward will be ahead of time, and remember, the reward shouldn’t be food!

It’s often helpful to set up rewards for milestones, not just the final goal. Plan a few rewards that you can earn along your path to fitness and weight loss — don’t just save one big reward for the end!

The show goes on in much more detail, but that’s where I’d like to stop the sample for today.

If you like what you see, consider exploring the 12 Lessons of Wellness and Weight Loss program. It’s one of the most comprehensive and effective programs for employee weight loss that my team and I have created, and it has been hugely popular.

And, as a special bonus, here are the free printable PDFs of the slides we previewed today!

Getting Started Sample Slides

And here are some of the top-selling weight loss resources from the Nutrition Education Store!

7 Simple Ways to Save Calories

Reward Chart Handout

Feel Full with Fewer Calories PowerPoint and Handout Set