‘Tis the Season for a Healthy Mindset

The holidays can be a stressful season of overindulging and overspending. Or they can be an enjoyable time filled with fun, family, and friends.

The difference might just be a healthy mindset.

Our Healthy Mindset poster reminds your students, employees, or clients to focus on the everyday simple habits that add up to a healthier life.

During the holiday season, you can help them tailor their healthy mindsets to account for the challenges they’ll face.

Here’s what a healthy holiday mindset might look like:

  • Drink Water: Make it your policy at holiday parties to ask for water with a twist of lemon or lime.
  • Sugar Be Scarce: Make a plan and stick to it. When will you indulge in a treat? How much will you have?
  • I Can Do It: Make this your mantra throughout the season. If staying healthy over the holidays is your priority, say it out loud every day.
  • Make a Healthy Plate: Keep MyPlate in mind whenever you eat. Fill your plate or bowl accordingly, with lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Sleep Enough: Sticking to your sleep schedule will help you keep your healthy holiday mindset!
  • Never Quit: If you overindulge (it happens!), get back on track right away.
  • Try New Foods: Balance out special holiday foods with some things you wouldn’t normally choose, like extra salad, more vegetables, or fruit for dessert.
  • Move More: Fit exercise in wherever you can. Take an extra lap around the mall, walk after dinner, do crunches during TV commercials.

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

PDF Handout: Healthy Holiday Mindset

Be SMART About Goals

Behavior change is tough. It’s uncomfortable. Staying in our comfort zones is easy and feels safer.

But, like it says on our Comfort Zone poster, the comfort zone might be a beautiful place … but nothing changes there!

Help your clients or students get off the comfy couch and on track for a healthier life by teaching them about SMART goals. Here are some ideas to get started:

  • SMART goals are Specific: keep them small and simple.
    • Eat at least one vegetable for lunch every day.
    • Meditate for one minute while your coffee is brewing.
  • SMART goals are Measurable: you can’t change what you don’t measure.
    • Keep track of your progress with an app on your phone, a calendar, or a pen-and-paper log.
  • SMART goals are Attainable: that’s why making them small and simple is such a good idea.
    • Remember, small changes add up over time!
  • SMART goals are Relevant: set goals that mean something to you.
    • Do yoga because you want to be able to play on the floor with your grandchildren.
    • Walk daily because you want to hike with your family on an upcoming vacation.
  • SMART goals are Time-Bound: decide when your goal will be completed so you can celebrate your success.
    • Eat fruit at breakfast every day for one week.
    • Take a walk after dinner three times per week for one month.

New Year’s resolutions will be here before we know it. SMART goals give your students or clients a chance to keep those resolutions for a change!

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Free Handout: SMART Goals

MyPlate Coloring Page

Today is your lucky day!

To celebrate the release of the brand-new MyPlate Coloring Book, I want to share a page from that book with you, for free!

You see, coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. Emerging studies indicate that coloring could help reduce stress in adults as well as children. Plus, it’s just plain fun!

Of course, I couldn’t leave things there. As soon as I learned about the possible health benefits of coloring, I began to brainstorm ways to sneak a few lessons about wellness and healthy eating patterns into my coloring pages. Before I knew it, the MyPlate Coloring Book was born. With patterns intricate enough to be fun to color, and an added dash of simple and memorable health lessons on each page, this book is sure to be fun for all ages!

And now, without further ado, here is the free page from the MyPlate coloring book! How will you use your copy?

MyPlate Coloring Page

Remember, there’s always more in the Nutrition Education Store! Check out these fantastic MyPlate resources…

My Plate Coloring Book

MyPlate PowerPoint and Handout Set

My Plate Banner and Stand

Behind the Scenes: New Cooking and Prediabetes Posters

Hey, do you remember that Chop Test article you saw a while back? How about that Prediabetes Guide?

If you do, then you’re not alone. Lots of people reached out and told me that those were two of their favorite posts. So many, in fact, that I decided to take those posts to the next level and turn them into nutrition education materials.

The Chop Test offers a simple and memorable guide to cooking with vegetables, so I decided that the key points would make a marvelous poster that could be hung in a commercial kitchen, posted in a health fair booth, propped up for a cooking demonstration, or incorporated into a nutrition display.

This guide to properly preparing vegetables is as versatile as it is useful. With a simple test to tell which kind of vegetable is best for which cooking style, this bright and informative poster will help your audience gain kitchen confidence while introducing new vegetables into their eating plans.

Will this poster make your life easier? Learn more about it!

Now let’s change gears and take a closer look at the new Prediabetes poster.

The statistics on prediabetes are astounding. My hope is that we can help our practitioners help people avoid diabetes entirely — heading it off before prediabetes turns into full-blown diabetes. This poster offers an excellent screening tool that is done in an engaging infographic style. With information on what prediabetes is, how it affects the body, what symptoms it displays, and what the average consumer can do to reduce his or her risk of prediabetes (or treat the condition itself), this poster offers a bright and simple way to educate your audience. Throw it in a display, use it to pep up a shared space, add it to a wellness fair booth, or hang it in your office — it will be a great educational resource for whatever you need.

This poster uses colorful graphics, simple sentences, and clear diagrams to appeal to a wide range of learning styles, promoting participant engagement while boosting information retention. It draws its information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), so you know that the research that backs it is supported by the latest peer-reviewed science.

Intrigued by this poster? Get the details today!

And, because I love ya, I want to share the handout that accompanies the Chop Test poster. Here it is, in all it’s glory! Download the free PDF today!

Chop Test Handout

We’re here to help you look your very best, right now! So which resource will make your life easier?

Nutrition Bootcamp: PowerPoint and Handout Set

Chop Test Poster

Elementary Nutrition Workbook

Healthy Habit Handout

Sometimes you just need a reminder or two when it comes to building healthy habits.

Other times, you need a brand-new system.

What are your clients looking for?

If it’s a reminder or two, check out this brand-new handout: Healthy Habit Handout

If your clients need a more thorough habit reset, check out this post from Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD: Habit Wheel Keeps on Rolling.

Compassionate Health Messages

Do you see your students, clients, or employees struggling in these post-pandemic days? Or perhaps you are stressed out yourself trying to get back to ‘normal.’

As healthcare professionals, we’re quick to point out how healthy eating and regular physical activity can help. We want to share all our knowledge. But for some folks, this isn’t the help they need right now.

The nurse who’s exhausted, the teacher who’s overwhelmed, the older adult who’s lonely, the teenager who’s anxious – they need our compassion, shown through messages like those depicted on our I Am… motivational poster.

Messages that emphasize that health and well-being is a journey. Every step you take counts, even those you take backwards!

The I Am… motivational poster gives gentle reminders that may resonate more with your students, clients, or employees:

  1. Self-care (sleeping enough, forgiving a setback)
  2. Healthy eating (eating mindfully when hungry, loving fruits & veggies)
  3. Physical activity (moving more, exercising consistently)
  4. Hope and positivity (not giving up)
  5. Intention (planning and working to success)

Don’t forget to be compassionate with yourself, too!

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

 

Plant-Based Beats Processed

It seems like processed and ultra-processed foods have been in the news a lot lately.

While some people get mired in conversations about what foods should be considered processed (canned beans? whole grain bread?), you can’t go wrong by promoting a plant-based eating pattern that’s centered on vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, and fruits.

We have some great ways to get your students, clients, or employees off the processed food track and on the road to a plant-based eating pattern.

1. One of our newest posters uses pictures to encourage nutrient-dense foods over ultra-processed ones:

2. One look at this poster (which also comes as a banner, stickers, and bookmarks) kind of says it all:

3. If there’s a health fair in your future, create an eye-catching display with our Real Food Grows theme materials. You’ll really get their attention when you wear our fruit and veggie mask!

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Free Handout: Nutrient-Dense vs Ultra-Processed

Eating Disorders 101

Food and Health Communications aims to educate, empower, and inspire health practitioners around the globe to help their clients make the best food choices for optimal health. Through the use of blog posts, fact sheets, posters and other educational materials, we hope we’re helping your clients and not being harmful in any way.

We recently encountered a disturbing use of one of our calorie-counting posters. Like many of our other products, we aim to educate and not shame our clients about their food choices. Similar to nutrition information being posted in fast food restaurants, the poster was created to bring awareness to the amount of exercise needed to use up calories consumed from various foods. Unfortunately, the posters were “stolen” at one facility by clients trying to further limit their calorie intake, who may have been suffering from eating disorders.

With over 70% of the US population being overweight or obese, our goal is to help reduce and manage chronic health conditions, several of which are weight-related. We recognize that eating disorders are also chronic health conditions that need to be addressed. These conditions are serious and can be life-threatening. Below are ways to spot them and refer clients to resources for more help.

Anorexia Nervosa:

The literal meaning of anorexia is “loss of appetite.” The term is frequently used in hospitals or nursing home settings to describe a person’s lack of appetite and could be related to depression, pain, nausea, or other conditions.

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a completely different animal.

AN is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Volume 4 (DSM-IV) as a psychological condition characterized by a “refusal to maintain a bodyweight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height, weight loss that leads to a weight below 85% of ideal and failure to gain expected weight during a period of growth leading to a weight below 8%% of expected weight.”

In addition, AN can affect someone who is fearful of gaining weight or becoming fat, despite being too thin. Body dysmorphia is also common in AN cases. Body dysmorphia happens when a person sees themselves as heavy when they’re actually underweight.

There are two sub-types of AN:

  1. Restricting type
  2. Binge-eating/purging type

A restricting person with anorexia will skip meals or eat very minimal amounts of food while a binge-eating/purging individual may binge/overeat then engage in purging behaviors such as vomiting, laxative use, or excessive exercise. 1

In addition to being malnourished, individuals with AN are at risk for bone loss, fractures, cardiac arrhythmias, amenorrhea and infertility. Individuals with purging behavior may develop esophageal and gastric damage, electrolyte abnormalities, dehydration, and damage to their colon if laxatives are abused.

Bulimia Nervosa:

Bulimia nervosa (BN) is also a mental and physical disease and is listed in both the DSM IV and V. Similar to anorexia, there is a binge-purge component where a person may overeat (binge) then compensate for the calories consumed through the use of vomiting, laxatives, diuretics, or excessive exercise.

In individuals with BN, these behaviors are observed: “repeated occurrence of binge eating which include both “eating within any 2-hour period, an amount of food that is definitively larger than what most individuals would eat in a similar time period under similar circumstances that includes a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much they are eating”.

In people with BN, this type of behavior can occur about twice a week for three months or even more frequently. Self-evaluation is critical and impacted by body shape and weight. The behavior can exist on its own and does not need to be coupled with anorexia nervosa.

A non-purging type of BN occurs when the person restricts food intake or fasts, but does not use self-induce vomiting or other purging behavior. Individuals with BN are at risk for the same physical damage that those with binge-purge anorexia may experience.

Binge Eating Disorder:

Binge-eating disorder is also considered an eating disorder, but it’s less physically damaging than AN or BN. Those with binge eating disorder tend to eat, in a discrete period of time (i.e.., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is much larger than most people would eat in a similar time frame under similar circumstances. They also feel a lack of control over eating (e.g., a feeling that they can’t stop eating or control what or how much they eat). 3

Binge eating occurrences have at least three of the following characteristics:

  1. Eating much more rapidly than normal
  2. Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
  3. Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
  4. Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating
  5. Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating

The disordered eating happens at least 2 days of the week for 6 months and isn’t associated with purging behavior as mentioned above. Severity of the condition is dependent on the frequency of binge eating occurrences. Mild cases occur with 1 to 3 episodes weekly, while severe cases can include go up to 14 or more episodes in a week.

Individuals suffering from BN or binge-eating disorder may be normal weight, overweight, or obese. Risk for obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes are more common in binge eating disorder.  Depression, anxiety, risk for suicide, and/or substance abuse may accompany any or all eating disorders. 4

OSFED

Other Specified Feeding/Eating Disorders (OSFED) are atypical and may include people who are overweight and not diagnosed. This website, sent by a reader, has more information.

How to Help Your Clients:

If your clients are suffering from any type of eating disorder, they need help from a team of professionals, including a medical doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist, and a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians can specialize in eating disorders and may carry the credential CDES (certified disordered eating specialist).5

To find an RDN who specializes in eating disorders, use this link: https://www.eatright.org/find-a-nutrition-expert-details

Eating disorders may be treated with medication, individual counseling, and/or group therapy. Family or other social support is critical in recovery.

When to refer clients for more help:

  • Intentional weight loss with weight being under 85% of ideal or BMI of under 18.5.
  • Persistent anxiety or depression surrounding eating
  • Body dysmorphic syndrome
  • Preoccupation with weight
  • Intense fear of weight gain
  • Binge-purge behavior or self-induced vomiting
  • Refusal to eat
  • Fasting or overly restricting food intake as a means of weight control
  • Overtly thin appearance
  • Excessive exercise
  • Abuse of laxatives
  • Extreme distress about binge eating
  • Lack of control over eating behavior

By Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD

Free Handout: Eating Disorder Handout

 

References:

  1. What is the DSM IV Diagnostic Criteria for Anorexia Nervosa – Eating Disorders
  2. O’Brien KM, Whelan DR, Sandler DP, Hall JE, Weinberg CR. Predictors and long-term health outcomes of eating disorders. PLoS One. 2017 Jul 10;12(7):e0181104.
  3. Table 21, DSM-IV to DSM-5 Binge Eating Disorder Comparison – DSM-5 Changes – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)
  4. Claudat K, Brown TA, Anderson L, Bongiorno G, Berner LA, Reilly E, Luo T, Orloff N, Kaye WH. Correlates of co-occurring eating disorders and substance use disorders: a case for dialectical behavior therapy. Eat Disord. 2020 Mar-Apr;28(2):142-156.
  5. Klein DA, Sylvester JE, Schvey NA. Eating Disorders in Primary Care: Diagnosis and Management. Am Fam Physician. 2021 Jan 1;103(1):22-32. Erratum in: Am Fam Physician. 2021 Mar 1;103(5):263.

Strategies for Better Sleep

Who doesn’t want to get a better night’s sleep? Between screen time, busy days, crazy schedules, nightly worries, and unhealthful eating, getting a good night’s sleep can be tougher than we think!

But help is on the way!

Here’s a new tool to help your clients get more high-quality sleep: the Diet and Sleep Poster!

This poster comes at sleep from a bunch of different angles, so you’re sure to find a way that will appeal to your audience. Take a look and see for yourself!

This poster covers:

  • The myriad of health benefits of sleep
  • Ways to improve the quality of nightly sleep
  • Strategies to prioritize enough sleep
  • Sneaky things that undermine efforts to get better sleep

You can save 15% off of this poster or any other item in the Nutrition Education Store with the code FALLSAVE15, but hurry! This offer won’t last long!

Sleep Right for Health

Healthy eating and exercise go hand in hand. It’s hard to discuss one without touching on the other. The topics are interwoven.

Sleep is another thread to weave into your education sessions. In fact, sleep, nutrition, and exercise are often called the pillars of health.

Start spreading the news about sleep with our Sleep Right poster! This poster will catch people’s attention. It will get them to think more about their sleep habits and realize that sleep is just as important as healthy eating and exercise.

How can you incorporate the topic of sleep into your counseling sessions or classes?

1. Get information about sleep from a reliable source, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website. Check out the section on sleep deprivation and deficiency.

2. Find out if your clients are getting enough sleep. According to the NIH, you probably aren’t getting enough sleep if you often feel like you could doze off while …

  • Sitting and reading or watching TV.
  • Sitting still in a public place, such as a movie theater, meeting, or classroom.
  • Riding in a car for an hour without stopping.
  • Sitting and talking to someone.
  • Sitting quietly after lunch.
  • Sitting in traffic for a few minutes.

3. For people who are really motivated to change their sleep habits, suggest that they start by keeping a sleep diary (here’s one from NIH).

4. Offer a class on nutrition and sleep geared toward occupations where people often struggle with sleep issues, such as:

  • Shift workers
  • Truck drivers
  • Pilots
  • Factory workers
  • First responders
  • Health care workers

5. Provide diet and sleep education for these audiences:

  • Parents
  • Teachers & coaches
  • Teens
  • College students

Sleep fits right in when you’re talking about weight management, heart disease, diabetes, food and mood, healthy aging, mental performance, sports nutrition, and healthy eating in general. So start spreading the word about the importance of sleep!