A Different Kind of Freedom

Independence Day will be here before we know it. As we celebrate freedom in the United States, we have some unique materials that prompt your clients, students, or employees to consider a different kind of freedom.

Our Freedom from Chronic Disease materials inspire folks to think about their health and realize that good health can bring them freedom, now and in the future.

What kind of freedom are we talking about? Here are some examples and ideas you can use to discuss Freedom from Chronic Disease:

  1. Freedom from worry. Someone who has a long family history of heart disease may spend lots of time worrying about it. Would making a diet or lifestyle change now, even if it’s small, help to alleviate this worry? Maybe feeling more in control will lead them to make more healthy changes.
  2. Freedom from medications. Think about the money you can save by not having to take cholesterol-lowering drugs, for example. All meds have side effects, so not having to worry about that is another form of freedom that people may not consider.
  3. Freedom from expensive healthcare. Chronic disease means seeing specialists, undergoing tests and procedures, paying for prescriptions, and more doctor visits in general. These things are costly in dollars as well as your time.
  4. Freedom from high food costs. People think that healthy food costs more, but a little education can go a long way when it comes to healthy eating on a budget. Healthy food doesn’t have to be organic or gourmet!
  5. Freedom to do what you want to do. This is important as you get older. When you’re healthy, it’s easier to travel, play with your grandkids (or great-grandkids!), and stay independent.

Spread the word about the benefits of Freedom from Chronic Disease with posters, banners, bookmarks, and stickers!

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

 

Board the Train to Healthy Holidays

Keeping up positive eating and exercise habits can be tough for everyone during the holiday season. Taking time to reflect and plan can help us stay on a healthy track:

  1. Reflect … How have I handled the holidays in the past? What’s hampered my healthy eating and exercise habits?
  2. Plan … How will I handle these holiday challenges differently this year?

Help your students, clients, or employees reflect and plan their way through a healthier holiday season with our Holiday Train Game. This fun, interactive PowerPoint game is all about riding through the holidays without derailing healthy habits.

As the conductor, you’ll take your audience on a ride through a typical holiday season, making stops at potential challenges like holiday buffets, cocktail parties, baking, travel, holiday stress, and more. 

Each holiday train stop has a question. If passengers answer correctly, they earn points and lose a pound. If they’re wrong, they gain a pound. 

But more important than keeping score, the train stops will generate discussion and encourage your passengers to share their experiences.

By the time the holiday train returns to the station, everyone will disembark with a plan for making it through the season with healthy habits intact.

All aboard for a healthy holiday season!

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Building Blocks for a Healthy Body

Are you looking for a poster that teaches an important message and brings a smile to everyone’s face? We have a brand-new poster that fits the bill – check out the Healthy Diet Means Stronger Body-Building Blocks poster.

This poster features building blocks (like the wooden blocks kids play with) stacked in the shape of a body. The building blocks are covered in real photos of a variety of healthy foods.

The message? When you have the right building blocks, you can build yourself a healthy and strong body.

We’ve also run a series on the Food and Health blog that takes a look at each individual building block. Check it out!

Here are some talking points to go along with this eye-catching poster:

  1. The building blocks needed for a strong body are healthy foods and beverages, plus adequate sleep and exercise.
  2. The building blocks of a healthy diet include the five MyPlate food groups:
    • fruits
    • vegetables
    • whole grains
    • protein
    • dairy/calcium
  3. The building blocks of a healthy diet are made up of real food, not fast food or highly processed foods.
    • Can your students identify all the healthy foods depicted on the blocks?
  4. The text on the poster reminds us to get enough sleep and exercise, and to drink water instead of sugary beverages.
  5. If you remove one of the building blocks, the body in the poster will topple.
    • Think about fad diets that cut out an entire food group!

The new Healthy Diet Means Stronger Body-Building Blocks poster is perfect for classrooms, gyms, cafeterias, bulletin boards, offices, and waiting areas.

Vacation Right, Vacation Light

It seems like everyone in America is taking or planning a vacation – or at the very least, talking about how much they want to get away!

Whether it’s a road trip or a cross-country flight, vacations tend to interfere with healthy eating and exercise habits.

Our Vacation Light materials are just what you need to help people keep their vacations as healthy as possible. In a light-hearted way, they show the difference between an Eat a Lot/Sleep a Lot vacation and an Eat Smart/Exercise Your Heart vacation.

Here’s a 3-step plan to teach students, clients, or employees about taking a healthy vacation:

  1. Create a bulletin board display using our Vacation Light poster.
  2. Plan a series of social media posts with Eat Smart/Exercise Your Heart vacation tips.
    • Use these posts to promote step 3.
    • Ask your followers to leave a comment about how they keep their vacations healthy.
  3. Teach a webinar using our Vacation Light PowerPoint show.
    • Have attendees set one goal for their vacation (eat a healthy breakfast daily, track my steps, snack on raw veggies, etc).
    • Invite attendees to report back when they return from vacation.

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

 

Picture Healthy Eating

We’re seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic. People have been stressed out since March and now face a winter warning of coronavirus and flu.

Our clients, students, and employees are probably tired of being told what to do and what not to do. Do they have the capacity to follow a new diet or make big dietary changes? Maybe not.

That means we need to be creative and sneak in our message where we can. Instead of ramming diet restrictions down their throats, think about being more subtle.

How about using beautiful photographs of real food to convey the healthy eating message? Check out these items:

  • What’s on Your Fork? According to this poster, it’s mouth-watering bites of fresh, nutrient-dense foods.
  • Fork Photo Walloons. These wall decals shaped like balloons feature eye-catching photos of asparagus, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, whole wheat pasta, salmon, and a strawberry. When a picture says it all, no words are necessary!
  • Fork Stickers. Let people take home a little reminder of what healthy food looks like. Again, no words needed.
  • Choose Wisely Poster. More beautiful color photos of fruits and veggies, with the message: “You need fuel. Choose wisely.”

Everyday, people see pictures of fake food on billboards, online, and on TV. Let’s fight back by posting beautiful photos of healthy food on the walls of our offices, hallways, and cafeterias, on our social media pages, and in our classrooms.

These positive, subliminal messages might be the gentle reminder everyone needs to get back on track with healthy eating.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Change it Up, Little by Little

This phrase recently caught my attention: Little by little, a little becomes a lot. I even wrote it on a sticky note and put it on my refrigerator. It reminds me that small things count. They add up.

Meditating for just one minute; adding a baby spinach salad to a meal; walking around the block; cleaning one kitchen counter. Doing small things may not seem important at the moment, but over time they mean a lot. A healthier diet, more exercise, a cleaner house.

You probably have clients or patients who are all-or-nothing thinkers – they really need to hear this message! Especially now, when the pandemic disrupts our routines, and sometimes even the tiniest change feels overwhelming.

Our Change It Up theme goes well with this concept. Little by little, diet and exercise changes will add up to transform your life. It’s how you go from being the worn out fast-food caterpillar to the vibrant, beautiful butterfly.

Use the Change It Up concept to teach your clients, patients, or students that …

  • The transformation isn’t instant, but the good feeling you get from one small change takes you one baby step closer.
    • Get the good feeling by celebrating (yay, me!) when you make the choice to have an apple instead of chips.
  • Change can be overwhelming, so start small by concentrating on doing something different for just one meal.
    • Once a healthy breakfast becomes a daily habit, move on to lunch, dinner, or snacks.
  • You can’t go from the couch to a 5K overnight.
    • Going to the end of your driveway counts. Remember, small is good!
  • Nobody is perfect. You’ll mess up and that’s okay.
    • It’s easier to get back on track one small change at a time.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

What’s Your Word for the Rest of 2020?

Back in January, we talked about setting a word for the year in lieu of new year’s resolutions. So much has happened since then – those words (and any resolutions) have probably been forgotten.

That’s ok, because September is much like the new year. Even if you don’t have children, there’s something about back-to-school time that feels like a fresh start.

Don’t miss this opportunity to engage your clients and students in choosing a new word or theme for the rest of the 2020. Be sure to set the right tone for the time we’re living in now:

  • Don’t dwell on what you have or haven’t done during the pandemic – this is your chance for a do-over!
  • Be realistic about what the rest of the year might bring, and how it may affect your goals.
  • Focus on positive affirmations, like the ones on our I Am motivational poster. These gentle reminders can get you back on track to a life of health and well-being:
    • Self-care: get enough sleep, forgive yourself for setbacks.
    • Diet: eat mindfully when you’re hungry, love fruits & veggies.
    • Physical activity: move more, be consistent.
    • Attitude: don’t give up!
    • Intention: make a plan and work toward success.
  • Now is the time for your 2020 re-start! Like our Change It Up theme says:
    • Eat healthier food + Be more active = You will feel transformed!

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Food, Fears & COVID-19

COVID-19 has put us all into uncharted territory. Everyone has their own way of dealing with this uncertain time, but it’s safe to say that at some point we all have fears. And many of these fears involve food.

As nutrition and health educators, how can we help? Here are some ideas to get you thinking about how to address some of the common fears so many of us are facing:

Financial fears: Many people are worried about money. They may have lost their job, had hours decreased, or taken a pay cut. We can help by sharing information about healthy eating on a budget:

  • Shop smart: Stretching food dollars is a priority when money is tight. Our Healthy Shopping on a Budget PowerPoint show covers it all.
  • Shop for produce in season to stay safe: Remind folks to buy what’s in “season” for the lowest price. Some items like cabbage, carrots, and potatoes are always in season and very low in cost. Remember to keep potatoes in a paper bag at room temperature for optimum storage life. If items look like they are losing freshness you can cook them and freeze them so you don’t lose them.
  • Pantry raid: Give tips to use up everything in your cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer.
  • Protein pro: Talk about more economical protein sources like beans, nuts, seeds, nut butter, low-fat dairy, vegetables, and less-expensive cuts of meat. Beans and lentils are always lower in cost than meat. Chicken thighs are 2.29 per pound while dried beans are $3.49 per pound. BUT one pound of beans will yield 5-6 cups of cooked beans or about 3 pounds. So the beans are a better deal. They are also high in fiber.
  • MyPlate: Focus on filling the plate with budget-friendly choices for each food group. Check out our MyPlate on a Budget tearpad.
  • COVID-19 twist: Acknowledge that some people are wary of buying fresh produce. Try to alleviate these fears by talking about basic food safety, but also provide tips on healthy canned and frozen options. Keep up to date with the FDA news feed on food and COVID-19. Currently, there is no evidence of COVID-19 being transmitted via food. Local news and health departments have all the updates on local laws for shelter in place and using masks. Many stores require masks and for people to stay 6 feet apart. Seniors and those with compromised immune systems can follow special shopping hours or use a delivery service like Instacart.

Weight gain fears: Some folks are worried about gaining weight. They’re working at home and the kitchen is a constant temptation. Stress eating is also an issue. We can help by sharing strategies that promote healthy eating:

  • Shop smart: If you buy the right foods at the supermarket, you’ll have the right foods at home. Our Shopping Smart for Weight Loss PowerPoint show is a great start.
  • Steady is good: Help people realize that even if they’re overweight, it might be smarter to focus on maintaining rather than losing weight during this time.
  • Small is smart: Talk about making small changes that will add up to a healthier diet. And for those who are trying to lose weight, remind them that losing just 5-10% of their body weight is enough to make a difference.
  • Think about drinks: Warn people about sipping on sugary beverages while binge-watching. Some folks might be drinking more alcohol, too, so it can’t hurt to remind them about lower-calorie choices and watching portion sizes.
  • Home chefs: People have more time on their hands, restaurants are closed, and they’re craving comfort foods. Our 25 Ingredients, 15 Meals PowerPoint show can help them get cooking the healthy way, while also saving money!
  • Eating your worries: It happens to the best of us. Our Stress Eating PowerPoint show is full of strategies to help.
  • COVID-19 twist: Some people are highly motivated to make healthy changes during this time. For others, it’s just too overwhelming to add diet to everything else they’re dealing with (kids, work, aging parents at risk). We have to be there for both and for everyone who’s in between.

 

Change It Up in 2020

Many people see the new year as a chance to turn over a new leaf, to get a fresh start. While we know that most new year’s resolutions fail, January can be a time of change if you’re realistic and take things one step at a time. Help your clients keep the new year simple and positive with our Change It Up materials featuring a fast-food caterpillar transformed into a beautiful butterfly.

While going from a caterpillar to a butterfly is a big transformation, encourage your clients to transform their eating and exercise habits in simple, small ways that will add up over time. Here are some questions to ask, but remember to focus only on one or two small changes at a time:

  • How can you transform breakfast? Examples:
    • If you’re a breakfast skipper, eat something small in the morning to start a new habit.
    • Add some peanut butter or avocado to your whole-grain toast.
    • Is sugary cereal your go-to? Mix in some whole grain, low sugar cereal.
  • How can you transform lunch? Examples:
    • If you usually eat out, pack lunch once per week.
    • Use mustard instead of mayo, or skip the cheese.
    • Add a side salad to your meal, and eat it first.
  • How can you transform snacks? Examples:
    • Skip the vending machine — bring something from home.
    • Cut up fruits and veggies to take on the go.
    • Add some protein — spread peanut butter on apple slices or dip carrots in low-fat Greek yogurt.
  • How can you transform dinner? Examples:
    • Use a smaller plate.
    • Buy healthy convenience foods like rotisserie chicken and salad bar veggies.
    • Go meatless once per week.
  • How can you transform your exercise routine? Examples:
    • Meet a friend once per week.
    • Use a pedometer to track your steps.
    • Take 5-10 minute walks around the office or outside throughout the day.

Give clients one of our Change It Up stickers or bookmarks as a reminder to eat healthier food and be active every day so that they can feel transformed!

Use this link to get 15% off this collection and all of our hot topic items for 2020. Offer good this week only through January 15, 2020.

Using STEM to teach HEPA

If you teach or work with kids, you probably know about STEM. It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and we hear about it a lot in terms of preparing students for the jobs of the future. But did you also know that we can use STEM to teach HEPA?

If HEPA makes you think of filters and allergies, think again! It’s a handy way to say Healthy Eating and Physical Activity. HEPA-focused STEM activities give kids the skills they need to make healthy choices. That’s why STEM is on our list of hot topics for 2020.

There are many ways to incorporate HEPA into STEM programs. Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Use food for hands-on nutrition activities that engage students, like this simple activity from the Children’s Museum of Houston about fat in food: https://www.cmhouston.org/experiment-fat.
  2. Teach cooking. Learning how to cook healthy food is a skill that will last a lifetime. Check out our Learn to Cook Workbook. Students will learn STEM-related concepts like food safety, cooking methods, and how to follow a recipe. There are even cooking-related math problems!
  3. Sharpen math skills with nutrition and physical activity lessons. We have the all the materials you need to combine math with HEPA:
    1. Math of Fiber
    2. Sugar Math
    3. Sodium Math
    4. Food Label Math
    5. Math of Movement
    6. Calorie Math
  4. Talk to students about HEPA-related STEM careers. Find information on these jobs at StemJobs.com:
    1. Nutritionist/dietitian
    2. Chef
    3. Professional food forager
    4. Food scientist
    5. Health teacher

Be sure to check out our entire collection of STEM-related materials. Use nutrition science and math to teach students of all ages (including adults) to make healthy choices!