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

I Am – Motivational Health Poster

It’s almost time for New Year’s resolutions. Many people see the new year as a fresh start for diet, exercise, and health goals. Yes, this is the year we will “just do it!”

Unfortunately, we all know how long most resolutions will last.

The I Am – Motivational Health poster gives us a different way to talk about our clients’ resolutions every day, all year long. Instead of looking at the future (“I will exercise more this year”) or the past (“I did not exercise enough last year”), the focus is on the present — “I am exercising consistently.”

Focusing on the present is so important, especially for those who tend to give up after the tiniest setback. Failing to “just do it” for one day doesn’t mean you’ve blown it for the rest of the year.

Ideas on using this poster with your clients:

  • Look at the steps on the journey to better health that are depicted on the poster. Which steps are you taking? Which ones need more attention?
  • Ask yourself:  Who is in charge of taking these steps to the life I want to live? The answer: “I Am!”
  • Remember every day that success comes from taking care of yourself, being kind to yourself, and not giving up.
  • Create a journal that explains what is important to you and what you have accomplished. “I am” is a very profound statement that explains that you are a special person and you are in control of your own journey!

 

I Am – New Poster for Diet and Lifestyle Motivation

The Nutrition Education Store has a new poster! The “I Am” poster is supportive and includes great messages about staying on track and not giving up.

This motivational health poster emphasizes the steps on your journey to a life of health and well-being. Affirmations serve as gentle reminders for self-care (sleeping enough, forgiving a setback), diet (eating mindfully when hungry, loving fruits & veggies), physical activity (moving more, exercising consistently), attitude (not giving up), and intention (planning and working to success).

These key phrases call out to people, encouraging them to slow down and read the poster. They recognize which steps they’ve taken and which ones may need more attention. Above all, they’ll realize that “I Am” in charge of taking these steps to the life I want to live.

Lessons from the I Am poster:

  1. Your journey to a healthier life takes planning and work, and starts with one step.
  2. Success comes from taking care of yourself, being kind to yourself, and not giving up.
  3. Physical activity means getting into the habit of moving more.
  4. Eating well means eating mindfully and learning to love healthy foods.
  5. Be mindful
  6. Encouragement and motivation
  7. One step starts a great journey
  8. Don’t give up
  9. Be consistent
  10. Empowering

Target population: In English, for general audiences, ages 12 – 100

Great for the classroom, gym, office, health fair, hallway, employee break room and more!

This poster is great for supporting all employees, clients, students, and patients on their journey to better health. It is part of a new diet and lifestyle motivational poster collection.

Activity Idea: Teaching Food Safety

I don’t watch television cooking shows very often, because their food safety practices usually upset me.

I once watched a popular show (the hostess is a household name that I won’t mention) and spotted at least three things that I would consider food safety problems — these included unsafe recipes for food preservation and cooking temperatures that were just WRONG.

I’m not the only one who is concerned about these shows and what they are teaching (or not teaching) their audiences.  Back in 2004, a research project looked at over 60 hours of cooking shows. They spotted an unsafe handling practice every four minutes. More recent research studies have shown similar results.

It isn’t getting better.

All of the studies documented a lack of handwashing, cross-contamination between raw and ready-to-eat food, and not using a thermometer to ensure that the foods have been cooked properly.

Other unsafe practices spotted include: fly-away-hair, chipped nail polish, potential contamination with wiping cloths, not washing produce, touching ready-to-eat food with bare hands (combined with inadequate handwashing), sweating onto food, touching hair, licking fingers, double dipping with tasting spoons, and eating while cooking.

One of the studies noted that — not surprisingly — only 13% of the shows they watched mentioned any type of food safety practice.

While I know that these shows are produced primarily for entertainment, I wish they would do a better job of modeling good food safety procedures.  They have the opportunity to teach millions of viewers, but they don’t.

So I had an idea for those that teach food safety.

Have your students watch a few of these shows and note the unsafe practices. Perhaps you could watch a few together and then discuss what they saw and why they identified those items. Have them check too for any good practices or mention of food safety too.

They’ll never look at a cooking show the same way again.

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University

References:

  1. Mathiasen, L.A., Chapman, B.J., Lacroix, B.J. and Powell, D.A. 2004. Spot the mistake: Television cooking shows as a source of food safety information, Food Protection Trends 24(5): 328-334.
  2. Nancy L. Cohen, Rita Brennan Olson. Compliance With Recommended Food Safety Practices in Television Cooking Shows. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 2016.
  3. Curtis Maughan, Edgar Chambers, Sandria Godwin. Food safety behaviors observed in celebrity chefs across a variety of programs. Journal of Public Health, 2016.

And here are a few fantastic resources for National Nutrition Month!

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

Quick Display Idea: Fruit

Adding a bit more fruit to an eating pattern is a great way to squeeze in a bunch of nutrients without excess calories, but some fruits are higher in calories than others. In fact, some fruits are even processed in such a way that they come with a boatload of empty calories and added sugars.

Help your audience navigate the fruit landscape with this quick and pretty display of fruit.

Arrange the following items in a highly-visible part of your space and make cards that list the calorie content of each item. For an activity, have people match the cards to the fruit. For a non-interactive display, simply place each card by the fruit it describes.

  • 1 fresh apple: 71 calories
  • 1 cup apple juice: 116 calories
  • 1 cup canned peaches in juice: 160 calories
  • 1/2 cup raisins: 216 calories
  • 1 cup canned peaches in heavy syrup: 251 calories

This display will show participants that dried fruit and canned fruit in heavy syrup are much higher in calories than their less-processed counterparts.

Variations and Additions:

  • To add more depth to the display, note the fiber content of each item. This is especially useful when comparing the apple and its juice, since a whole apple contains almost 3.5 grams of fiber, while the juice does not contain any fiber at all.
  • For a temporary display or discussion, place actual servings of all the fruit in this list in glass containers on a table. For a more lasting display, use images, food models, or empty packages instead. This can be done on a table or a bulletin board.
  • Instead of comparing total calories or calories per serving, you could also compare sugars, highlighting hidden sources of added sugars in each food.

For other great fruit activity and display ideas, don’t miss these amazing materials!

12 Little Goals

I’m still thinking about New Year’s resolutions.

The idea in my last post was to approach resolutions like you would a pyramid: start with the basics and build. Instead of making large and broad resolutions, make 12 little changes to your lifestyle. Basically, you can try one new approach per month and then keep adding on to your project for tho entire  year.

And the best part is that it’s not too late for this month!

So, what would you like to do to make your eating pattern a little more healthful? Remember, these small goals don’t always need to be taking something away or stopping doing something; they could be adding things, too.

Only you know what you’re doing now and what you would like to change.

To help get you started, I came up with a list of 20 little goals.

Use this list however you’d like — add to it, choose your favorites, pat yourself on the back for what you’re already doing, etc. Do whatever works for you. Seriously.

  1. Eat one more vegetable every day.
  2. Eat one more fruit every day.
  3. Plan one meatless meal every week.
  4. Buy a refillable water bottle and use it.
  5. Walk an extra 15 minutes each day.
  6. Try a new vegetable this month.
  7. Experiment with an exotic fruit that you’ve never tried before.
  8. Add healthful nuts to your shopping list.
  9. Use more olive oil. Swap out solid fats like butter or margarine for olive oil.
  10. Make your own salad dressings.
  11. Pack your lunch two days a week.
  12. Eat dinner at home at least three nights a week.
  13. Experiment with a “new” whole grain and eat it four different ways.
  14. Wash your hands before eating (even in restaurants).
  15. Experiment with a new spice or herb.
  16. Eat more beans.
  17. Drink less juice.
  18. Eat fish twice a week
  19. Buy old-fashioned oatmeal instead of packaged cereal so that you can eat more oatmeal.
  20. Try one new recipe each month — at the end of the year you will have increased your repertoire of healthy dishes.

I think we all know that eating and being healthful needs to become a lifestyle, not just something you do for a few weeks. Why not try it this year? Small changes at a time. Just think of where you can be 12 months from now.

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

Resolutions for 2017

Early each year every website, television newscast, and magazine at the grocery checkout offers advice on New Year’s resolutions. Most of these involve eating a better diet and getting or staying healthy. It’s almost obligatory that I post about making a new start to a healthier lifestyle in the New Year.

But, do you really want to read more about what you should or shouldn’t do, eat or drink?

Most people already know, or they won’t be making those resolutions. Our local newspaper projected that only 8% of all resolutions are kept.

The real key to resolutions is how to make them stick. If I ask in a month, will you still be “working on them?”

The experts say that in order to turn good intentions into long-term actions, you need to set small goals that you can keep. These small changes can add up. Other suggestions include making the goals specific. Don’t choose vague goals like “eat more fruits and vegetables” but instead choose something that is measurable and concrete, “cook one vegetable each night for dinner.” Another key to keeping resolutions is to write them down.

It may also be useful to change the title.

Instead of “New Year’s resolutions,” make them “Resolutions for the Year.” Think about of doing one new thing each month. Then, at the end of the year you’ll have 12 new habits and a more healthful lifestyle. Develop achievable goals based on the changes you’d like to make for yourself.

Here’s another tip: instead of making one long list, write a goal on the first day of each month on your new calendar or in your phone. That way, you’ll see it at the beginning of each month. Do something new each month, but don’t forget to keep going on the goal from the previous month(s).  You’ll just keep “adding on” each month.

Simple changes and goals can go a long way to making a big difference in your health.

Next year at this time, if someone asks whether you kept your resolutions from last year you’ll be able to say, “yes, 12 of them.”

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

Quick Quiz: What is This?

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Quick Quiz: What food is blue/grey and bumpy on the outside, bright orange in the middle, and full of vitamin A?

On a recent visit to a local farmers’ market, I found this item in an outside bin with lots of others of various sizes.  It was on sale for half its regular price and it seemed that there weren’t many people buying whatever it was.

I carried one around while I was shopping and several people asked me what it was. Others asked if it was blue on the inside and what was I planning on doing with it.

Quiz Answer: This mystery veggie is a Blue Hubbard Squash!

It turned out that my mystery gourd was a Blue Hubbard Squash. However, when I asked the clerk what people do with it and how to cook it, she said she didn’t know.

Always inquisitive about food,  I bought it.

(Fortunately it was sold by the piece and not by the pound because the one I picked up weighed 13 pounds)!

When I got home, the squash remained a curiosity. My husband had fun asking about the “monster Smurf gourd,” while visiting neighbors were quick to google it. This veggie was definitely a conversation starter!

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So now let’s talk about the Blue Hubbard Squash. This winter squash is known for its ability to be stored in a cool, dry place for long time. Seed catalogs describe it as sweet, dry, and fine-grain. Some people consider this one of the “heirloom” varieties of winter squash, since it was first introduced in the early 1900s.

I admit that the hardest part was cutting into the hard outer shell of the squash.  I “cheated” a little by washing it completely on the outside and putting it whole in the microwave for 10 minutes. This softened the outside enough to allow me to cut into it.  After cutting it in half and cleaning out the seeds and strings, I experimented by baking part of it in the oven and then putting another part in the microwave. Both were equally good, though baking allowed for more caramelization of the natural sugars in the squash.

Hubbard is just one of many winter squash varieties that are readily available now. These vegetables contain fiber and are low in fat. Plus, squash with yellow-orange flesh are rich in vitamin A, which in turn is vital for healthy eyes, skin, and fighting infections. Diets rich in vitamin A may even help reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.

Winter squash are also a good source of vitamin C. These squash get their name from their ability to last through the winter in a cool dry place (not the refrigerator). Other varieties of winter squash include banana, delicata, turban, butternut, spaghetti, and acorn.

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We’ve gotten several meals from this huge Blue Hubbard. At first we just ate it as a vegetable on the side. Then I made some into a soup with apples (it was so sweet, no added sugar was needed). Finally, I added some to brown rice for a risotto-like meal and also put three packs of cooked squash into the freezer for use later.

Don’t want to bother with the cutting and cleaning? Many companies are now doing the work for you by selling raw winter squash already cut and ready-to-use. Here’s a food safety tip: once cut, the squash they should be kept refrigerated and used within a week.

Technically — or should I say botanically — squash are fruits, since the fruit is the part of the plant that develops from the flower and contains seeds. But we usually consider squash a vegetable because it’s more savory in flavor.

Finding a new (or old in this case) variety of squash can increase interest and perhaps add a few more items onto that list of foods you like. How will you incorporate new fruits and vegetables into your eating pattern?

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University

As a bonus, here’s a free handout that features fun facts about the Blue Hubbard Squash!

blue-hubbard-squash

And here are a few great fruit and vegetable resources…

Presentation Idea: Motivation Kit

Don't Wait -- Motivate!Motivation readily waxes and wanes. It’s both common and normal. We can help our clients by teaching them to nurture their motivation as they pursue their health and fitness goals. Motivation is often at its highest in the beginning of an individual’s weight loss or health management plan. This is the perfect time to create a Motivation Kit.

Have your patients gather the things that remind them of the importance of their efforts. In a box or a notebook, they can collect photos, a list of reasons to lose weight or get healthier, magazine articles, motivational sayings – anything and everything that pumps them up. When they can’t remember why they need to keep up their efforts, it’s time to dig through that Motivation Kit. Showcasing a sample motivation kit and then helping participants build their own would make a great presentation or activity.

Here are Ideas for a Personal Motivation Kit:

  • A magazine article about people in the National Weight Control Registry. You can find a sample in People magazine — look for the issue about losing half your body weight.
  • A list of reasons to lose weight, including better blood glucose control, make family proud, maybe taking less medicine for diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol, etc.
  • Wedding picture
  • Photos of children/grandchildren
  • Progress report including milestones like I can cross my legs, I sleep better, people tell me I look great, exercise is more fun, etc
  • Motivational saying such as “We can do anything we want as long as we stick to it long enough” (Helen Keller)
  • Lab reports

The above is not an actual kit, but a compilation of several. The key is that it must be personalized.

By Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDE

Here is a template you can use: Motivation Kit Template

Looking for more great motivational resources? Check out the Nutrition Education Store!

Lighten Up Your Cooking Poster

Exercise to Lose and Control Weight Presentation

Getting Started Handout and Presentation Set