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:
Here are some tips for using this MyPlate-based poster to educate older adults – and their caregivers – about healthy and affordable food:
Protein priority: With sky-high meat and poultry prices, seniors need to learn about less expensive sources of protein. Proper portion sizes can also help – filling just one quarter of your plate with healthy protein is a simple way to stretch food dollars.
Going for the (whole) grain: The cheapest loaf of white bread isn’t the healthiest choice for older adults. Teach them to look for 100% whole grain bread, pasta, and cereal at a decent price.
Fruit and veggie steals: Buying in season makes filling half your plate with healthy fruits and veggies more affordable. Education about choosing and preparing canned and frozen fruits and vegetables can help as well.
Dairy deals: Skipping that cup of low-fat milk may be an effective cost-cutting measure for some older adults, but they need the nutrients supplied by dairy foods. Teach them to choose budget-friendly, healthy dairy products in the right portion size.
Stay home for sodium: Restaurant meals are typically higher in sodium – and more expensive – than home-cooked meals.
You can spread the word about healthy sleep with our Sleep Right poster, which provides an introduction to the importance of sleep and how to get a good night’s sleep.
Whether you’re working with students in the classroom, educating your followers on social media, or counseling individuals, here are some ways to slip in some sleep education:
It’s never too early: incorporate healthy sleep tips when you’re talking to new parents, teachers, and kids.
What you do during the day counts: emphasize that a good night’s sleep doesn’t just happen. What you eat and drink and your activity level can help or hinder your sleep.
Measure your sleep: an activity tracker on your phone or watch isn’t reliable enough to diagnose sleep issues, but it can give you a general idea of how you’re sleeping. (A pen and paper sleep diary will do the job, too!)
You can get too much: we talk a lot about getting enough sleep, but excessive sleep is also related to heart disease and other health problems.
We’re big fans of the Mediterranean-style eating pattern, so it’s not surprising to see it recommended in this this article from the Cleveland Clinic to help people fight stress.
Vegetables, legumes, nuts, fruit, whole grains, fish, lean protein, and healthy fats are foods that can help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Why not offer some nutrition education to help your clients, students, or employees manage their stress? An added bonus of teaching the Mediterranean eating pattern is its positive impact on heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and overall health.
We have all the materials you need to spread the word about the anti-stress Mediterranean way of eating:
Start with our Mediterranean Diet PowerPoint show. With 100+ slides, handouts, and a leader guide, this has everything you need to put on a webinar series or a lunch-and-learn session. It’s also useful for individual consultations.
Are you looking for a beautiful way to advertise healthy, fresh food? Our food art posters are the answer!
These one-of-a-kind masterpieces combine professional photography with motivational messages that will make you want to drop everything and go to the nearest fresh produce market.
Here are a few of my current favorites:
Shine a Light on Veggies features a stunning still-life of asparagus spears. Asparagus is in season in many parts of the country, so what better time to increase its exposure with this gorgeous poster?
Brighten Your Basket reminds you to fill your supermarket cart or farmer’s market basket with fresh produce like those pictured: onions, avocados, Meyer lemons, radishes, and baby bok choy.
Nature’s Fast Food’s juicy peaches and bright red cherries will have your mouth watering for these summer tree fruits!
Grown, Not Processed is the ultimate advertisement for choosing a variety of colorful, fresh fruits and veggies. It promotes beets, garlic, peaches, fennel, radishes, carrots, greens (kale, lettuce, parsley), portabella mushrooms, and oyster mushrooms.
Framing these food art posters will give your office or waiting room an upscale feeling. But they’re also affordable enough to be used (framed or unframed) in cafeterias, hallways, and classrooms.
As I mentioned in last week’s blog, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released Actions on Nutrition Security, a report on the agency’s commitment to ensuring both nutrition security and food security to support optimal health and well-being for all Americans.
Food security is having enough calories.
Nutrition security is having the right calories.
Healthy Eating on a Budget Poster
Our Healthy Eating on a Budget poster conveys a simple, yet effective, four-step approach to help your students, employees, or clients make healthy, budget-conscious decisions at the supermarket.
Step 1: Buy on sale and in season
Step 2: Buy less processed food
Step 3: Buy only what you need, avoid food waste
Step 4: Skip the royalties (high fat/high sugar foods and beverages, like chips, candy, and soda)
Go a step further by combining the Healthy Eating on a Budget poster with USDA’s free Shop Simple with MyPlate mobile or desktop app.
Create an eye-catching and informative bulletin board. Put the Healthy Eating on a Budget poster in the middle, surrounded with color printouts of key screenshots from the app, OR
Hold a lunch-and-learn session to introduce the four steps to eating healthy on a budget. Use the Shop Simple with MyPlate app to engage your audience in real-life scenarios.
Using MyPlate App with Healthy Eating on a Budget steps
How to find seasonal fresh produce or the most affordable canned/frozen fruits and veggies using the Shop Simple with MyPlate app:
Click on Ways to Save -> Shop Smart -> Fruits and Vegetables. From here you’ll find a link to the Seasonal Produce Guide from SNAP-Ed Connection, as well as tips on choosing canned and frozen fruits and veggies.
You can also Browse Budget-Friendly Fruits and Browse Budget-Friendly Vegetables.
To locate the nearest farmers market, click on Farmers Markets in your area. Enter your zip code, then click on Find Farmers Markets. You’ll get a list of farmers markets in the area. Click on the market to get directions.
How to choose less-processed protein foods when meat, poultry, and fish prices are so high, using the Shop Simple with MyPlate app:
Click on Browse by MyPlate Food Groups -> Protein Foods. You’ll find a list of budget-friendly protein foods, along with tips, serving ideas, recipes, and nutrition information.
For example, under chicken drumsticks or thighs, there’s information on freezing chicken when it’s on sale, and how to make baked chicken nuggets at home.
How to cut down on food waste using the Shop Simple with MyPlate app:
For each budget-friendly food, the app gives tips that can help limit food waste.
For example, the app tells you how long milk stays fresh after opening, and how to freeze and thaw milk. It also provides ideas on how to use up foods that are about to go bad or are over-ripe.
How to avoid impulse purchases of junk food using the Shop Simple with MyPlate app: Even when junk food isn’t on your shopping list, it can end up in your cart when you shop while hungry or give in to a screaming child. One way to deal with this is to order online for curbside pickup.
Not all grocery stores accept SNAP/EBT for online orders, but the Shop Simple with MyPlate app can help you find ones that do.
On the home page, click on SNAP EBT Savings. Enter your zip code and click Find Stores. Choose Online SNAP Stores. Click on the name of the store and you’ll be directed to the retailer’s website page that explains how to use your SNAP/EBT card for online orders.
Did you know?
One final tip: You can use SNAP benefits to purchase fresh herbs for cooking, as well as fruit, vegetable, and herb plants for gardening.
A school nurse recently bought our See Food Diet Poster. She says she is trying to get all the kids on a good schedule with eating right, sleeping, and learning after all the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, she loves this poster so much that we made it into a banner for her – yes, all our posters are also available as banners!
The See Food poster features a beautiful fish swimming along in the sea. The fish is tempted by hook after hook baited with not-so-healthy food choices like soda, chili dogs, cake, and candy.
But if the fish takes its eyes off the junk food, it will find a treasure chest spilling over with healthier food choices.
The message? Don’t eat everything you see. Don’t get hooked!
Kids (and adults!) will love this colorful and fun poster. You can use it to generate discussions about:
The food industry and how junk food and fast food are formulated to tempt your tastebuds.
Mindful eating and how to pause instead of automatically taking the bait of unhealthy food.
Planning ahead so you always have healthy foods handy.
Using portion control so you can have occasional treats without overdoing it.
Healthier options at restaurants and convenience stores, for those times when you find yourself hungry and away from home.