Heart Healthy Cooking Demos Made Easy

The recently released 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease recommends a healthy plant-based or Mediterranean-like diet high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, lean vegetable or animal protein (preferably fish), and vegetable fiber. Sound familiar?

No matter how much people know about heart-healthy eating, the hard part is putting it into practice. Show them how with a heart-healthy cooking demo.

Why cooking demos? Because we think there’s no better way to get the message across than with food. Show people how to cook, let them taste healthy food, and they’re more likely to try it at home.

Cooking demos are great for:

  • Employee lunch-and-learns
  • Community classes
  • Parent nights at school
  • Health fairs
  • Home school groups
  • Women’s shelters
  • Food pantries
  • Afterschool programs
  • Drug/alcohol rehab
  • Church groups
  • Senior centers

Cooking in front of a crowd may sound daunting, but our Cooking Demo Book and CD Kit will make you look like a Food Network Star. The 300+ page book contains more than 30 lessons plus PowerPoint shows on Recipe Modification and Menu Planning & Shopping Tips.

Each lesson includes:

  • Leader guide
  • Recipes (tested and simple, with easy-to-find, affordable ingredients)
  • Make-ahead & presentation tips
  • Shopping & equipment lists
  • Handouts

For heart-healthy eating, we suggest the lessons on:

  • High fiber
  • Fish
  • Fruits & veggies
  • Hypertension
  • Vegetarian cooking
  • Beans
  • Grains
  • Recipe modification
  • Heart healthy recipes
  • Meet MyPlate

You’ll also want to check out our MyPlate Cooking Demo Book & CD, Home Run Cooking Book and Demo Program, and Cooking Demo Toolkit.

It’s Time to Change It Up!

We’re constantly bombarded with images of fast food, junk food, and processed food. Marketers know what they’re doing by getting these pictures into our subconscious minds. Well, let’s fight back! It’s time to Change It Up!

Our Change It Up theme features a gorgeous butterfly made up of real photos of fruit. Now, this is an image we want in our clients’ minds! The message is simple but impactful – transform your life with healthy food and regular physical activity. Go from a fast-food caterpillar to a healthy butterfly.

Our poster and banners come with the free Change It Up printable handout. One side provides general tips on changing up your diet (MyPlate, portion sizes, and fruits and vegetables) and every day activity. The other side offers more detailed suggestions for transforming your meals, snacks, and exercise routine.

How can you use the Change It Up materials in different settings? Glad you asked!

  • Display the banner or poster in the cafeteria, a hallway, or waiting room. (We also have a salad bar sign!) When people see the beautiful, colorful, fruit-filled butterfly every day, they’re bound to think more about healthy food.
  • Give out the stickers and bookmarks so people can take the picture and the message with them.
  • Set up a Change It Up table in the cafeteria or at a health fair. Engage visitors with questions: Are you more like the butterfly or the caterpillar? What changes can you make to transform yourself into the butterfly? Give away the Change It Up handout, stickers, and bookmarks.
  • Teach a Change It Up class. Depending on your audience, here are two lessons:
    • Focus on how small shifts in eating and activity will make everyone feel transformed.
    • Go with the caterpillar to butterfly theme. How does the image of the butterfly make you feel? How about the caterpillar? When you eat healthy food and are active, which one do you feel like? How can a healthy diet and regular exercise make you feel transformed?

Here is a handout called, 9 ways to make easy and healthy switches for a better diet and exercise plan: 9 Easy Healthy Switches Handout

Make the Most of Biometric Screenings

It seems like lots of companies do biometric screenings for their employees these days. It’s a great way to give people a snapshot of their health. But knowing those numbers doesn’t help if they don’t understand what they mean. We have two handouts that can help – the Biometrics Screening Tool Handout Tearpad and the Printable Biometrics Form PDF.

On one side of these handouts, there’s space to record BMI, waist circumference, hemoglobin A1C, blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol (including total, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides). On the other side, there’s a glossary with easy-to-understand descriptions of each measurement.

Individual instructions or goals can be written in the space on the bottom left of side one. If you use the printable PDF form, you can add a logo or message before printing.

Here are 10 ideas for lessons and messages to use with the Biometrics Screening handouts:

  1. A biometric screening provides a snapshot of your health. These numbers tell where you’re doing well and areas that need attention.
  2. Manage these numbers by being more active, eating more lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, and eating less high fat, high sugar processed foods.
  3. If you’re missing any measurements, take the handout to your doctor and ask to have blood tests or other measurements done.
  4. Calculate your BMI using the formula on the handout, or search online for “BMI calculator” and plug in your height and weight. If your BMI falls in the overweight or obesity categories, losing even a relatively small amount of weight can improve your health.
  5. Waist circumference can tell you a lot, but many physicians don’t take this measurement. Use the instructions on this handout to measure your own waist circumference (or ask someone to help you). If it’s 40+ inches (for men) or 35+ inches (for for women), your risk of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure increases.
  6. Hemoglobin A1C measures your blood glucose (or blood sugar) over the past few months. Normal is less than 5.7%; prediabetes is 5.7% to 6.4%; and diabetes is 6.5% or higher. The higher the number, the greater your risk of diabetes-related complications.
  7. Blood glucose (or blood sugar) is sometimes measured after you’ve fasted. Normal is less than 100; prediabetes is 100-125; and diabetes is 126 or higher. If you haven’t fasted, a blood glucose of 200 or more indicates diabetes.
  8. Blood pressure measurements are given as two numbers (top is systolic, bottom is diastolic). Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. If your blood pressure is above normal, check the categories on the handout to see where you fall.
  9. Cholesterol isn’t just one number! Keep track of your “good” cholesterol (HDL) and “bad” cholesterol (LDL), as well as triglycerides, which are a type of fat found in the blood.
  10. When your biometrics are out of the normal range, your risk increases for diseases like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Knowing your numbers gives you something to track besides just a number on the scale.

Display our Measuring Your Biometrics poster or banner at health fairs and screenings. People can compare their biometric results to normal or optimal numbers based on recommendations from the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Back to basics with the Food Diary Tearpad

Keeping a food diary is a great way for clients to become aware of what, when, and how much they eat. There are plenty of apps for online tracking, but sometimes technology makes this simple task too complicated. Get back to the basics with our Food Diary Tearpad!

The Food Diary Tearpad is user-friendly and self-explanatory, making it perfect for health fairs or classes where you’re unable to provide in-depth individual attention. People can write down what they eat in a day, then use the checklist of MyPlate recommendations to “grade” themselves. There’s also space to check off water intake, exercise, movement (cleaning, chores, playing), sleep, and screen time. That’s a lot of information collected on one page!

Lessons to use with the Food Diary Tearpad:

  • Tracking food intake makes you more aware of the choices you’re making. This awareness helps you make better choices.
  • Knowing you have to write down what you’re about to eat is often enough to keep you from over-indulging. If you don’t want to see it on paper, you might decide not to eat it!
  • You can’t change what you don’t track. Whether it’s screen time, drinking enough water, or eating more vegetables, keeping track lets you compare what you are doing with what you want to do.
  • People use food diaries differently, and that’s ok. Some simply want to jot down the foods they eat to get a general view of food groups they are missing or overeating. Others are more detail-oriented and can learn even more by recording portion sizes, time, place, and calories.
  • Compare your food diary to your individualized MyPlate Plan, which you can get at ChooseMyPlate.gov/MyPlatePlan. How are you doing on calories? Portion sizes?
  • Look at when and where you eat each meal and snack. Do you eat most meals away from home? Do you skip meals during the day then snack all evening? How long do you usually go between meals?
  • Get a handle on emotional eating by writing down how you feel whenever you eat.
  • Keeping a daily food diary helps people lose weight. But even using our Food Diary for just one day provides a lot of information on your diet and lifestyle. Use this to choose a goal to work on.

New Product: Menu Planning Handouts

“When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Truer words were never spoken, especially when it comes to healthy eating! In fact, research shows that planning meals is associated with healthier diets and reduced rates of obesity (1).

Menu planning also helps you:

  • Make a shopping list.
  • Stick to a grocery budget.
  • Eat more meals at home.
  • Get out of the “same old” mealtime rut.
  • Enjoy mealtimes with less stress.

There’s no doubt about it — planning sets clients up for success. Our new Menu Planning Handouts make it easy! Healthy menu items are pictured and listed at the top. Choose from these to fill out the one-week menu planning chart at the bottom.

The Menu Planning Handouts are great for a class or one-on-one counseling. They’re printed on both sides, so clients can do one side as a group or with your help, then use the other side to plan on their own at home.

I like the idea of using the Menu Planning Handout as a menu planner AND a food diary all in one. Clients can use it to plan meals and snacks for the day or the week, then check off what they eat as they go.

Adding the matching dry-erase Menu Planning Poster or Wall Decal makes this the perfect system to help your clients plan to succeed in their healthy eating goals.

  1. Ducrot P, Mejean C, Aroumougame V, et al. Meal planning is associated with food variety, diet quality and body weight status in a large sample of French adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2017 Feb 2;14(1):12. DOI: 10.1186/s12966-017-0461-7.

Easy Health Fair and Nutrition Presentation Theme Chooser Introduced By Nutrition Education Store

Nutrition Education Store has launched a “Theme Chooser” in the online store navigation. The theme chooser allows customers to view health fair and nutrition education materials by theme. 

The theme chooser makes it easy to choose the perfect theme by topic and then have an entire display or presentation that matches with exciting, professionally designed graphics.

Almost 30 different themes with spectacular, people-pleasing graphics, exclusively designed by Nutrition Education Store, are currently presented and they include:

  1. 10K Steps
  2. Beverage Better
  3. Biometrics
  4. Change It Up
  5. Make A Rainbow Salad
  6. Colors of Health
  7. Diabetes Awareness
  8. Eat to Excel With PhytoMan
  9. Farm to School
  10. Farm to Table
  11. Fiber Math
  12. Food Label Education
  13. Freedom from Disease
  14. Groove to Move
  15. Healthier Choices 123
  16. Healthy Fork
  17. I Love Salad
  18. Kids and Physical Activity
  19. Math of Movement
  20. MyPlate
  21. Muscle Versus Fat
  22. New Blood Pressure Guidelines
  23. Nutrition Month
  24. Orange Coins: Diet and Exercise
  25. Portion Control
  26. Rainbow Chard Be Brighter Every Day
  27. Rainbow Salad
  28. Real Food Grows
  29. Whole Grain

If you need help choosing the best theme for your event you can always click the contact us link at the bottom of the page or call us toll free at 800-462-2352.

Health Fair Planning Guide

Health Fair Planning Guide – Health Fair Activities – Health Fair Banner

Freebie Alert! This post is packed with free health fair activity ideas, free health fair handouts, and free health fair planning resources. Use it to make your next health fair or wellness fair a success.

Cheryl Bachinski, a school nurse, is planning a health fair and she needs a banner to help people who are constrained by time and money to make better choices for their families who are struggling with their weight. She says they drink too many sweetened sodas, eat too many cupcakes and chips, along with other packaged snacks, and they never exercise. Wait until you see the new banner we created for her. Check it out and you can buy it on sale or use the display idea for your own.

How will you stand out from the crowd at the next health or wellness fair?

Ready for the answer?

It’s all about the booth.

Yes, there are totally committees, special presentations, and deals with vendors, but in our experience, a successful day at a health fair comes down to your booth.

So, that’s what we’re going to address — tips and tricks for putting together the best nutrition education wellness fair booth around.

Objectives:

Wellness and Health Fair Kit

Let’s begin by setting up some objectives for your day at the health fair. Which of the following is an objective you’d like to address? Does the health fair have a preexisting theme?

  • Health awareness
  • Health screenings
  • Immunizations
  • Marketing
  • Community event

If more than one objective applies to you, great! However, if all of them apply to you, you may want to narrow your focus to just 1 or 2 primary objectives that you can use your booth to address.

Resources:

When it comes to big events that require committees and multiple vendors, there are lots of resources to make life easier. Look through the following guides if you’re putting together your own large health fair or wellness event…

Now, back to the booths.

Use our new handy theme-picker to choose the theme that is right for you or read below for more ideas.

Theme Ideas for Children:

Wellness and Health Fair Kit for Kids

If your health fair booth is geared towards children, you will have the best results with simple, colorful, and engaging content. Coming up with those materials and then coordinating them will get a lot easier if you select a single theme for your booth. Some of the most popular themes that we’ve used or observed (and can therefore recommend to you) include…

Theme Ideas for Adults and Older Kids:

Salsa Wellness Fair Kit

Most wellness fairs appear to be geared towards adults these days, so if that’s what you’re working with, consider any of the following tried-and-true themes…

Theme Ideas for Families:

There are many ways that families can team up to improve their health together, but most people suffer from a crisis of imagination and can’t think of a way to implement a healthful habit as a family. Inspire them with these wonderful family-friendly health and nutrition themes.

Building a Great Booth and Activity Center:

So, once you have an overarching objective identified and a theme established, it’s time to get down to business.

Your booth.

Make Your Salad a Rainbow Banner

How can you make it engaging, with activities that draw and hold participants?

Establishing a theme was a great start. So was finding an objective. Use these to guide the nitty-gritty of your booth.

Based on the wellness fair we have participated in, observed, and/or discussed, the most successful booths have balanced a combination of the following…

  • Engaging banner
  • Interactive component
  • Giveaway
  • Resources for more information

If you don’t have space or resources for all four, pick as many as are reasonable and build your balance from there.

So, first up, the banner. There’s a comprehensive post about wellness fair displays, and it has everything you need to know about banners. Of course, you can also save yourself the headache (and multiple trips to the store for supplies) by buying a crowd-tested, scientifically-accurate, and utterly up-to-date banner that matches your vision for the booth.

Next we’re going to tackle the interactive component. Just kidding. We’re going to go really in-depth with that one, so it gets its own section further down. Stay tuned!

Real Food Grows Bookmark

The third element of an engaging wellness fair booth is a giveaway. You can either set up a raffle for a large prize or offer a selection of smaller prizes. Great prize ideas include…

You know your audience. What resonates the most with them?

So. Why a giveaway? A giveaway will draw people to your booth, especially if you offer unique prizes and get the word out about your raffle or treat. Once people are at your booth, you can convey the messages that you want to communicate. It’s hard to get the word out if no one comes to your booth!

The final element of a successful wellness fair booth and/or activity center is a way to offer your audience more information. Often people would like to learn more about a topic at their leisure, rather than while standing in the middle of a busy nutrition fair. Handouts, lists of helpful websites, reference materials, or recipe cards are all great resources to have at your booth. That way, people can revisit the keys of your message, making it more likely to stick in their minds.

Great Wellness Fair Activity Ideas:

Prevent the Flu Poster

The interactive component for a wellness fair can be adjusted to fit your space, resources, and audience. Consider…

  • Having passers-by participate in an activity or game (examples below)
  • Setting out food samples. Especially if you’re putting together a healthful cooking or balanced lifestyle booth, little samples of healthful foods to sample (with recipes to match) can be a big hit at wellness fairs. You can also include a survey or do a taste test to have people evaluate different healthful foods.
  • Giving cooking demonstrations.
  • Surveying your audience about their health, habits, goals, etc.
  • Taking health readings. Offer the resources for participants to measure their BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, etc. Follow-up materials here are a must.

So, want to do an activity? Here are some examples of our favorite health and wellness fair games…

Activity #1: MyPlate Trivia

Divide participants into balanced teams and bring on the trivia. The first team to answer each question correctly will earn a point, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Question #1: How much of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables at each meal?
Answer: Half

Question #2: What should you drink instead of sugary drinks?
Answer: Water or skim milk

Question #3: What are the five main MyPlate food groups?
Answer: Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein, and Dairy

This activity idea offers the perfect way to merge the activity and giveaway elements of your booth. Offer prizes to all participants, or just to the winning team (if you want to incentivize engagement). In lieu of smaller prizes, you can also give away raffle tickets for one of your larger items.

Activity #2: Heart Health Taste Tests

About Your Blood Pressure Poster

Eating well for your heart doesn’t mean giving up all of your favorite foods to go on a taste-free diet, but some clients and patients don’t really understand that point. Bring the lesson home by having a taste test session right at your booth with some of your favorite heart-healthy products or recipes.

Consider a trans-fat-free margarine tasting, for example. Just bring in margarines that contain less than 2 grams of saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat per serving. Have people who wander by your booth try these items, preferably spread on a bit of whole wheat bread or on a whole grain cracker.

You can also do taste tests with salads that feature veggies that are especially high in fiber, or with various types of quick-cooking oatmeal for a heart-healthy breakfast. You can tailor your tastings to fit the budget and equipment that you have.

Activity #3: What’s the Link?

This activity can be adapted to any theme you’d like. We’re going to outline it with an example — in this case, high-fiber foods.

Display beans, oatmeal, apples, brown rice, canned peas, shredded wheat and whole grain bread (and other high-fiber foods). The question for the display should be, “What do these foods have in common?” The answer of course, is “fiber”! Anyone who guesses correctly can receive a raffle ticket that is good towards a free prize — or a first look at the smaller prizes laid out on the table.

MyPlate Poster

Amazing Handouts for Wellness Fairs:

No wellness or health fair booth would be complete without a handout or five. These can be woven into your display or photocopied and laid out in stacks for people to take home. Today, because it’s Nutrition Month, and because we love you, here are links to 5 amazing and totally free handouts that you can use at your booth.

Want a hand getting started? Download this free health fair planning checklist today! This organizational checklist will help you efficient and make the best health fair.

And the best part?

It’s totally free!

Health Fair Planning Checklist

 

Good luck with your health and wellness fair!

Display of the Month: MyPlate

It’s been a while since we’ve done a display of the month, and now is the perfect time to revive the tradition with MyPlate!

The Materials:

The Activities:

  • Food Group Lottery
  • Food Group Lighting Rounds

The Details:

If you have access to the wall behind your table, set up either or both of the MyPlate Banners along with the Art of Health Poster. If you don’t have access to that wall, use just the MyPlate Banner and Stand alongside your table and add the Art of Health Poster to your table (you can prop it on a Tabletop Easel). In front of your table, arrange the MyPlate Floor Decal to add extra interest to your booth.

On the table itself, scatter the resources included in the MyPlate Wellness Fair Kit, leaving room for some MyPlate Handouts and the prizes (MyPlate StickersMyPlate Vegetable StickersMyPlate Fruit Stickers and/or MyPlate Bookmarks) you’re going to offer in order to draw people to your booth and reward participation during activities. In one corner of the booth, arrange the materials you’ll need for the food group lottery.

And, just for fun, finish setting up by tying on a MyPlate Apron, which you can later give away as a prize, if you’d like!

Now, on to the activities!

For the Food Group Lottery, have volunteers write down their names and favorite food groups on individual pieces of paper and put them all in a clear bowl or box. Shuffle all the submissions, then draw 10 winners. Reward them with the prizes listed above, or these adorable MyPlate buttons.

For the Food Group Lightning Rounds, gather all your participants in a circle in front of your booth. Explain that you’re going to name a food group and then each person has to list a healthful food that would fit in that group, one at a time. If a person can’t think of a food or lists something that isn’t healthful, he or she is out and the circle gets smaller. Repeat with the rest of the food groups until you’ve got a small group of winners remaining. All of the previously-suggested prizes would make great rewards, as would these pretty MyPlate plates!

Previous Display Inspiration:

Free Handout:

And, to add one more fun aspect to your display, here’s a free MyPlate coloring page. How will you incorporate this into your booth?

Finally, here are some fantastic workbooks to help your clients learn valuable health and nutrition lessons…

Nutrition Month Display Ideas

It’s not too late to set up an engaging display for National Nutrition Month!

The best displays feature information in a variety of formats, presented in an eye-catching and memorable manner. Here are a few strategies that you can use to put together your best display yet…

Bulletin Board:

It’s usually a good idea to center a bulletin board around a banner or poster. For Nutrition Month, I would recommend any of the following, depending on the space you have available.

Once you’ve picked a poster/banner or two to center your display, it’s just a matter of filling in the details. One way to vary the view while imparting key information is to add a few relevant handouts, like these!

You can also print out pictures that support your main point (people being active for an exercise board, healthful foods/meals for a nutrition board etc) and fill in a few gaps with assorted stickers or wall decals.

Tabletop Display:

Tabletop displays offer a better chance for interaction than a bulletin board display, but they also take up more room.

The key to a good tabletop display is having something that will draw people to the table. Banners on stands offer a great way to stand out from the crowd, and these options are perfect for Nutrition Month:

Floor stickers are also creative (and intriguing) eye-catchers here. My personal favorites include:

Then you want to fill your table with resources that will help your audience learn and remember key Nutrition Month lessons. Posters like the ones featured in the bulletin board section above are great options, and you can prop them up on a tabletop easel or two. Handouts are useful take-home resources too, as are stickers/bookmarks/other fun prizes.

If you’re talking about sugar, salt, or fat content in your display, I’d highly recommend test tubes, which you can use to display the average amount of your featured element in a variety of foods.

These materials offer a great visual way to compare and contrast different options, and the test tubes have gotten wonderful feedback in the past. In fact, they’re one of our most popular resources for health fairs!

And there you have it! A little Nutrition Month display inspiration!

For additional resources to help with your National Nutrition Month celebrations, don’t miss these amazing materials…

Tabletop Flip Charts

Here’s a collection of tabletop flip charts that can be used for student, patient, and client education!

Use them in employee wellness fairs, health fairs, exam rooms, offices, and classrooms. They fit on a table and flip easily to teach people important lessons about a variety of topics including MyPlate, diabetes, and cholesterol.

Take a look!

chart1

chart2

myplatechart

Best of all, these charts are very portable and can be used without electricity. They are hands-on because clients can read them and flip them at their own pace.

After all, pictures and infographics speak a thousand words!

Speaking of MyPlate, here’s a free copy of one of our most popular MyPlate handouts, just in case you missed it!

holidaymyplate-nes

And here are a few more MyPlate resources that you might like!