It’s time for another fun and relaxing coloring page. This one highlights the joys of salad!

What do you think?

Our artist has also made a simpler one for kids…

These pages are perfect icebreakers! They’re also great as activities people can do while they’re waiting for class to start or if they’ve finished an assignment ahead of a group. They’re also fun prizes and take-home activities! How will these coloring sheets make your life easier?

Here are the printable PDFs!

8 Things We Learned About Sugar

When the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) released their recommendations about sugar intake, we thought they made a lot of sense. After all, the World Health Organization has been recommending a 10% calorie limit on added sugars for over a decade. The DGA committee now recognizes that sugar makes up about 30% of daily calories in our country, so changes are needed to cut down on sugary beverages, snacks, and desserts with added sugars. Treat foods and beverages are no longer treats but daily staples, which in turn is a significant cause of obesity when people are not getting enough physical activity and when high-sugar foods are replacing high-fiber foods that can help people feel more satiated.

Yet if you tell people to keep their sugar intake to 10% of their daily calories, this advice doesn’t necessarily have much real-world meaning.

People would have to do a bit of math to figure out how much sugar that that recommendation is allowing for each day. To calculate it, they would first need to land on a daily calorie intake. A 2,000-calorie-per-day eating pattern is pretty typical, so in our example let’s use that as a base number. 10% of 2,000 calories is 200 calories each day. There’s the maximum in an easier format to apply to day-to-day life.

Of course, some people prefer to calculate their sugar needs in grams. To do that, divide the daily total calories from sugar by 4 (calories per gram). For a 2,000-calorie diet, the max is 50 grams.

Just for kicks, let’s set that out in teaspoons too. There are 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon. That means that the daily cap is set at roughly 12 teaspoons of added sugars per day.

I hope those mathematical measurements can help your clients apply the DGA’s sugar recommendations to their daily lives. You can find all these measurements in the Sugar Math poster, which is what started this entire mathematical exercise.

Of course, the importance of sugar math isn’t the only thing we learned as we were putting the poster together. Here are the top 8 lessons that really made us think as we created that resource…

1. One 12-ounce soda can have about 40 grams of sugar. That’s almost a full day’s supply of added sugar. Kid-sized sodas at most fast food places are 12 ounces — the same amount as that can of soda!
2. Regular and large sodas at fast food places are usually equivalent to 2 or more cans of soda.
3. Sweetened iced tea contains a surprising amount of sugar, roughly 22 grams per cup. Most bottles contain a couple cups or more, which in turn makes it easy to consume a day’s supply of sugar in one bottle of iced tea.
4. Sweet treats are not only high in sugar but they are also high in calories. The average large cookie contains over 400 calories and a day’s supply of added sugars.
5. Coffee drinks, tea, sodas, snacks, sweetened yogurt, and dessert can easily supply three days or more’s worth of sugar. It all adds up.
6. A surprise to our team was that a can of soda is equivalent to a serving of candy!
7. 50 grams can add up quickly, but if we could get to dinner without putting sweetened beverages in our day, then we had a little of our sugar budget left over for a half cup of frozen yogurt. In a typical day, I used the rest of my budget on a cereal bar and jam for a sandwich. Overall, the guideline helped us lower our calories, especially in beverage calories.
8. It’s a great idea to track what you eat and drink in a day so you can make better choices.

And there you have it! 8 things we learned while putting together the Sugar Math poster. I’m really proud of this poster — it’s a great resource for nutrition and health educators because it lays out key lessons about added sugars in a fun and memorable way.

Want to share these lessons with your clients? From our collection of free printable nutrition education materials comes a new PDF handout all about added sugars!

And here are some other fantastic sugar education resources, straight from the Nutrition Education Store!

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Eating Mindfully in 3 Steps

Mindful eating is a great way to build healthy habits and a balanced relationship with food. To help make eating mindfully more appealing and accessible to your clients, I’ve created a brand new poster and handout set: A Guide to Mindful Eating.

Today, I’d like to preview the handout that comes with the poster. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Mindful Eating

People often follow food and diet rules that they believe will help them reach their health goals. These rules might be what to eat based on cave men or avoid a food group like carbohydrates. All of this can become overwhelming. Recently, a new buzzword has entered the diet world: mindful eating.

Mindful eating, also called intuitive eating, happens when people consume food while staying aware of their hunger and without passing judgement on the food or the act of eating. When practicing mindful eating, eaters listen to internal hunger and satiety cues. Sound nutrition information becomes a guideline for food choices, but food is selected based on hunger levels, nutritional needs, and existing illnesses or allergies.

Step 1: Recognize hunger cues and the feeling of satiety. Hunger can have both physical and psychological sensations. One may feel an emptiness or a hollow fee ling in the gut, restlessness, the inability to focus, irritability, or fatigue. Satiety should feel more comfortable than hunger. Satiety is the feeling of being full but it does not mean being stuffed from over eating or  trying to clean your plate.

Step 2: Put your food on a plate and sit down to eat. This will help you balance your meals, avoid over eating, and enjoy the flavor of your food. It helps you feel satiated and keeps you from eating on the run. It also helps you see how much you are eating instead of eating what food manufacturers and restaurants dictate for portions.

Mindful eating does take practice, but it’s actually an innate technique. Consider a newborn. When she is hungry, she sends a signal that it is time to eat (crying). When she is satiated, she will stop eating. Over time, we may lose this skill as external factors come into play. The “clean plate club,” eating with family at a set time, or various diet rules can all contribute to a loss of this skill. The good news is that people can return to mindful eating and take the focus away from food and external cues. This offers an opportunity to focus on a more joyful and healthy life. When people begin to listen to their bodies, eating becomes a form of self-care. It can restore food to its original function: a source of nourishment.

It’s time to get back to basics, ditch the rules, use sound nutrition as a guideline, and truly listen to what our bodies need. It’s time for mindful eating.

By Beth Rosen, MS, RD, CDN

Did you like it? Here’s a free copy of the printable mindful eating handout!

And here are some other great resources, just for you!

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Display of the Month: Sodium Math

Can you believe that it’s already time for a brand-new display of the month?

Before we get to the new stuff, let’s take a quick look back at the previous displays of the month. Are you caught up?

All right, let’s dive into this month’s display…

The Activities:

The Details:

Mix and match your materials into a visually-appealing display.

For the Guess the Salt Content interactive activity, you’ll need to do a little research beforehand. Grab a couple of grocery store staples (including some sources of shockingly high sodium levels, like prepared meals or frozen foods) and write down how many milligrams of sodium are in each one. You can take pictures of them or bring their packages into your display area for a bonus visual.

When your participants arrive, hold up (or otherwise introduce) the first item and ask people to guess how much sodium is in a serving. How much sodium is in the package? Offer Change It Up Stickers and Change It Up Bookmarks as incentives for participation and/or correct answers and use the Mini Salt Shakers from the Salt Display Kit to illustrate how much sodium is in each food.

After discussing a couple items, ask how people feel about the salt content. Is it roughly what they thought? Surprisingly high? Finish the discussion, then demonstrate how to find sodium content on the Nutrition Facts label by using the Food Label Floor Sticker. How much sodium is in one serving of the sample food? How about in the whole container?

For the Make a Low-Sodium Shopping List activity, begin by brainstorming typical foods on a shopping list. Then discuss which of those foods are high in sodium. How can people remember to check the label for certain foods, comparing different versions and selecting the option with the lowest sodium? Review a few strategies with the group, exploring the pros and cons of each one.

For the Presentations, grab your laptop and projector and set up either the Salt DVD or the Sodium Education PowerPoint Show. For the latter, introduce the handouts that come with the show first and answer any initial questions people may have. After the presentation, discuss the key points. What was surprising? Why?

And here are a few materials that may come in handy for this month’s display!

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Free Nutrition Handout Program

Could you use a few more nutrition education handouts in your repertoire? Are you looking for ways to help your clients learn how to cook healthfully? Would you like to take a fresh look at key health topics? If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above (and honestly, even if you didn’t), then you’ll love this post! Why? Because today we’re announcing the start of a new free nutrition handout program. For absolutely no cost, you can download 10 brand-new handouts and distribute them as you see fit!

The first 5 handouts cover key cooking lessons for healthful meal preparation. Sometimes the hardest thing about making lifestyle changes to improve health can be figuring out where to start. These handouts address that issue by offering fun and accessible ways to prepare healthful meals. The 5 free cooking handouts cover…

• Brown Rice
• Easy Grilled Dinner
• Fresh Pasta Sauce
• Oatmeal
• Steamed Vegetables

Way to Eat with Diabetes Guide

How Much Fat is in That? Handouts

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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.

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.

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!

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

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Health Hopscotch Handout

Have you seen the latest floor stickers to hit the Nutrition Education Store?

These are the perfect resource to add zing to your health fair booth, nutrition display, or cafeteria project. To celebrate these brand-new materials, I want to share the handout that comes with the Health Hopscotch Floor Decal. Since this is our most popular floor sticker, I thought you’d love to get a little peek behind the scenes and access content that normally only accompanies a purchase or two.

So, without further ado, here’s a closer look at Hop to Health

Hop to Health

It’s time to move through the components of a healthy life!

Activity: Regular physical activity reduces the risk of several chronic health conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression. It also decreases high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol. Regular physical activity also promotes weight loss and maintenance of a healthy weight, improves bone health and plays a role in relieving depression.

Components of a Healthy Eating Pattern: A healthy eating pattern features fruits, vegetables, whole grains, varied protein, and low-fat dairy. It also limits certain foods. Keep your consumption of saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and sodium to a minimum.

One wonderful way to follow a healthy eating pattern is to make each plate look like MyPlate. MyPlate advises people to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables at each meal. Make at least half of all the grains you eat whole grains, every day. Variety is the key to the protein food group. Choose options that are low in saturated fat whenever you can. For the most nutrients with the fewest empty calories, choose fat-free and low-fat dairy foods. The balance of foods on MyPlate will help people get all the nutrients that they need in a day.

Sleep: During sleep, your body repairs the heart and blood vessels. Sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Getting enough sleep, on the other hand, has been connected to a lower risk of obesity. Sleep regulates the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin. Plus, the immune system is healthier when sleep is adequate and the fight against infections is more effective too.

Your brain needs sleep in order to function, and the benefits of getting enough sleep are far-reaching.

Like what you see? Get the printable nutrition handout right here, for free!

And here are a few of the top-selling floor decals from the Nutrition Education Store!

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Handout Sneak Peek: Vitamin and Mineral Chart

You know what has been flying off the shelves lately?

The Vitamin and Mineral Chart. This poster highlights particular foods that are rich in certain vitamins and minerals. Since most consumers need to eat a more plant-based diet in order to avoid excess saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars while somehow managing to get enough nutrients in the calories allotted, it’s wise to have a few materials that could make that transition easier. This chart has been an eye-catching tool for inspiring and maintaining motivation, along with teaching key nutrient lessons.

As a special bonus, I want to share the printable educational handout that comes with the poster. Normally you could only access this if you had already bought the poster, but today I’m going to make an exception. The Eat Your Nutrients handout features macronutrients and micronutrients alike, highlighting the health benefits of these vital food elements.

Enjoy!

Vitamin A: Prevents eye problems. Necessary for normal vision, immune function, and reproduction.

B-Vitamins: This group includes B-1 Thiamin, B-2 Riboflavin, B-3 Niacin, B-5 Pantothenic Acid, B-6 Pyridoxine, B-7 Biotin, B-9 Folic Acid, and B-12 Choline. Necessary to metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and amino acids. Activates B-6 and folate, which is essential for red blood cell growth and maturity.

Vitamin C: Antioxidant that protects against cell damage; boosts immune systems; forms collagen in the body.

Vitamin D: Aids absorption and usage of calcium and phosphorous ; necessary for growth and calcification of bones and teeth. The best source is the sun.

Vitamin E: Acts as an antioxidant that protects cells against damage.

Vitamin K: Important for blood clotting and bone health.

Calcium: Essential in bone and teeth formation, muscle contraction, absorption of B-12, blood clotting, and growth.

Copper: Necessary for absorption, storage, and metabolism of iron; key to formation of red blood cells.

Iodine: Regulates rate of energy production and body weight. Promotes growth and health of hair, nails, skin, and teeth.

Iron: Hemoglobin and myoglobin formation, oxygen and CO2 transfer, red blood cell formation, and energy release.

Magnesium: Helps heart rhythm, muscle and nerve function, and bone strength.

Phosphorous: Helps cells to function normally. Helps your body produce energy. Key for bone growth.

Potassium: Important in maintaining normal fluid balance; helps control blood pressure; reduces risk of kidney stones.

Selenium: An essential trace element; protects cells from damage; regulates thyroid hormone.

Sodium: Primarily controls the body’s osmotic pressure, hydration, and electrical activities.

Zinc: Supports the body’s immune and nerve function; important in reproduction.

Protein: A necessary major nutrient in the diet, providing amino acids, which are necessary for growth and development.

Carbohydrate: Provides basic source of energy; stored as glycogen in all tissues of the body, especially the liver and muscles.

Fat: Also known as adipose tissue. Serves as an energy reserve.

Fiber: Aids digestion, helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol.

And here’s a free printable copy of the handout!

Looking for more nutrition education materials? Here are some of the newest resources to hit the store!

Digital MyPlate Poster and MyPlate Food Photo Collection

Sodium Math Handout

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Display of the Month: Nutrition Month

It’s National Nutrition Month, and to celebrate, I couldn’t resist making a Nutrition Month display for the Nutrition Education Store’s March Display of the Month! Can you blame me? Here’s what you need to make your own display…

The Materials:

The Activities:

• Nutrition Month ABCs
• Brainstorming: Ways to Savor the Flavor of Eating Right

The Details:

To set up your booth, grab a table and drape the front with the Nutrition Month Banner. Top it with the posters you like best from the Quality Nutrition Poster Set. They’re all great for Nutrition Month, but I especially like the Wise Choices and Portion Control posters for this particular display. Put each poster on a Tabletop Easel in order to make it easy to see. Intersperse the educational posters with some Nutrition from A to Z Handouts and MyPlate Brochure Cards, then line the front of your table with Nutrition Month Bookmarks and Nutrition Month Stickers. Toss a whiteboard up on a stand near your display and grab a few dry erase markers if you’re going to do the activities outlined below.

For the Nutrition Month ABCs activity, ask people to think up words that start with each letter of the alphabet, focusing on key health and nutrition information. For example, the letter “A” could feature words like “antioxidants,” “activity,” “anthocyanins,” and even “vitamin A” if the group is flexible. Discuss each word as it is offered and give prizes to the people who choose to participate. Pass out copies of the Nutrition from A to Z Handout to conclude the activity.

When it comes the the second activity, Brainstorming Ways to Savor the Flavor of Eating Right, your white board can come in handy again. Discuss this year’s theme for Nutrition Month. What are some healthy ways that people can follow that theme and “savor the flavor of eating right” in a manner that is balanced and fun? Record people’s answers on your whiteboard. If they need inspiration, point them to the MyPlate Brochure Cards and Nutrition Posters in your display.

If you’re looking for even more materials that you can use for Nutrition Month, don’t miss these additional nutrition education resources…

And here’s another installment of my free printable nutrition education materials — a PDF handout that covers the basics of nutrition

More Displays of the Month:

Finally, here are some other fun materials from the Nutrition Education Store!

10,000 Steps Floor Sticker

Digital MyPlate Poster and Resource Collection

MyPlate Stress Relief Coloring Book

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Display of the Month: Beverage Better

It’s time for another edition of the Nutrition Education Store’s Display of the Month series! This time, we’re going to focus on drinks! Are you ready to help your clients “Beverage Better”?

The Materials:

The Activities:

• Drink Makeovers and Trivia Game
• Brainstorm Better Beverages

And now it’s time to discuss the details!

Cover your table with a tablecloth if you have one. Arrange the Don’t Drink Your Calories poster on the stand on the table, then place some Beverage Better handouts in front of or next to it. Put some water bookmarks and stickers next to the handouts, and put some sugar test tubes on their other side. Set up the Beverage Better banner and stand next to your table and, if you’re playing the trivia game outlined below, cover the calorie savings information with some colorful Post-It notes.

For the first activity, walk your audience through the makeovers outlined on the Beverage Better banner. Start with hot cocoa, and after you’ve outlined the changes people can make to turn it into a more healthful drink, ask if anyone knows roughly how many calories those adjustments would save. Take guesses, then reveal the answer by removing the Post-It note that had covered that information. Award prizes (bookmarks, stickers) to the person who had a guess that was closest to the actual total. Now use the sugar test tubes to simulate how much sugar was in the drink before and after the makeover. Poll the group — was this lower or higher than they were expecting? Why? Do the same with the tea and soda.

For the second activity, gather your participants into a small group and brainstorm healthful drinks. How can the information on the handouts, poster, and banner inform the discussion? Explore possibilities with seltzer water, fresh fruit, tea, coffee, herbs, spices, etc. Award prizes to people who offer healthful suggestions.

Here are a few more materials that you can incorporate into your display and discussion…

Here’s a free PDF handout that discusses ways to sweeten drinks without adding sugar…

More Displays of the Month:

And finally, here are some other fun posters from the Nutrition Education Store!

Eat from the Rainbow Poster

Nutrition Poster Set

Change It Up Poster

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