Reader Requests MyPlate Window Clings And Here Is Our Design

We always love when a reader requests a special material. It is fun to get new ideas and to design them from start to finish.

One such project is a cling for a glass refrigerator door in a store. The idea is to show people how to make a healthy plate using a plate and the photos from each food group.

Erika wrote to us and asked for these clear background clings that will adhere to the outside of a glass door. They are 12″ by 12″ square and filled with the foods of each section. The food group colors are used along with ample amounts of white for a fresh clean look. We have them in the store here and can make them in any size upon request.

Plant Based Glossary

The Food Navigator has a great list of food trends for 2018. One thing is for sure. There are more choices for plant-based milks, dairy products,  and meat alternatives than ever before in the store. This trend is predicted to continue. Sales of plant-based foods are estimated to be around $3.1 billion dollars.

“Plant Based” is a great educational message for the new year, too.

Plant-based is just a new way to present most of the lessons from the US Dietary Guidelines. After all, MyPlate is 3/4 plants with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And legumes are listed as both a vegetable and a protein.

Here is a handy glossary:

  • Plant based – A diet higher in plantbased foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods is more health promoting according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Whole foods – foods that are nearly in their original, whole state and have little processing; specifically they are not primarily filled with added sugar or fat or refined flour. For example, whole wheat cream of wheat is more whole than corn flakes or fruit charms. Whole wheat bread is more whole than muffins. Potatoes are more whole than potato chips. Apples are more whole than apple pop tarts. Whole foods have more fiber, fewer calories, less salt, sugar, and fat. So you get more nutrients and fiber, and fewer calories or fewer grams of artery-clogging fat or blood pressure-rising sodium. Unfortunately the trade off is that you get less convenience. But planning ahead and cooking at home and planning leftovers is a simple workaround that is better for your pocketbook and your health.
  • Non-dairy milk – a “milk-like beverage” made from a plant-based ingredient(s). Examples include almond milk, flax milk, and soy milk. There are also many others in this category with the newest being from peas (Rippl). The advantage to this type of milk is that it is not regulated by the FDA the same way dairy milk is and thus it can contain many beneficial additives such as more calcium or omega-3 fatty acids. You should still read the label to make sure that it is not a significant source of saturated fat, trans fat, or sugar. Coconut milk often contains a lot of saturated fat and flavored milk may contain a lot of sugar. Some of these milks do not contain any calcium so that is another item to check, too. Regular milk always contains about 30% of the daily value for calcium so try to stay close to that amount since dairy products are usually the most significant source of calcium in the modern diet. The benefits of this plant-based milk are that it is plant based, sweetly flavored, thicker than skim milk, and easier on the digestive system for most people. It is also an option for people who choose to be vegan or vegetarian.
  • Dietary Guidelines – a set of guidelines mandated by US law that provides an academic committee to review the most recent nutrition research and provide guidelines to Americans and their health care providers every five years.
  • MyPlate – the icon for a balanced diet from the USDA. It is based on the dietary guidelines and helps people balance their meals by providing a plate graphic with 5 proportional food group sections that include dairy, protein, fruits, vegetables, and grains.
  • Vegan – a person who does not consume any animal products or foods that contain them and who does not use any products that are the byproducts of animal slaughter
  • Vegetarian – a person who chooses not to eat any meat but who may or may not consume eggs or dairy
  • Flexitarian or semi-vegetarian – a person who is vegetarian but who might eat fish or poultry on occasion
  • Grains – the seeds of grasses that are produced for food; examples include oats, wheat, rice, barley, quinoa, teff, amaranth, and many more
  • Vegetables – The parts of herbaceous plants eaten as food by humans, whole or in part, are generally considered vegetables. This includes leaves, seeds, bulbs, stems, roots, flowers, and fruits.
  • Fruits – in botany, fruits are the seed-bearing structures of plants. In the culinary world they tend to be the sweet ones like oranges, apples, bananas, grapes, kiwis, melons, berries, peaches, pears, and more. The more savory fruits like tomatoes and avocados are used as vegetables in a kitchen.
  • Beans – seeds from a legume pod also called dried beans, legumes, or pulses are from flowering plants in the Leguminosae family. This includes the soybean, chickpea, bean, and pea, among others (Morris 365). Other lesser known members of the legume family include clover, licorice, lentils, and the peanut.
  • Aquafaba – the cooking liquid of beans and other legumes like chickpeas, which can be used to replace egg whites since it can be whipped. It is a mix of protein, starches, and other substances which leach into the water during the cooking process. FMI see aquafaba.com
  • Organic – food that is free of certain pesticides and fertilizers; using organic processes for sustainable farming.
  • Local – food that is grown and sold locally; retains biodiversity of food and diversity of local land plus keeps money in local economy
  • Conventional – food that is grown without organic certification
  • Meatless – meals made without meat, poultry, or fish
  • Meatless Monday – a tradition among vegetarians where Mondays feature meatless meals
  • Meat as flavoring component or garnish – a topic and general tenet of plant-based diets where meat becomes a flavoring agent or garnish instead of being the main entree on the plate.

 

Plates Have Arrived for 2018

The new plates are here!

Portion control – while MyPlate is a fascinating and effective way to teach food groups and a balanced diet some people want a lesson that is more geared to portion control and weight loss. The new portion control plates were designed to follow the principle of using food groups so that the right sized portion of protein is used and half the plate is fruits and vegetables or vegetables. An emphasis on whole grains is used. PLUS there are reminders about beverages and physical activity. We used warm colors in an elegant design that will make everyone feel special and enlightened.

Compartment plate – this plate is flying off of our shelves and everyone tells us they love having a compartment plate so that each group has its own measured space.

Diabetes – we had a leading diabetes educator dietitian help us with the strategy for this plate. The idea is to provide a real line about how much of each food to put on the plate and to make half the plate non-starchy vegetables. One quarter of the plate is starch and the other quarter is lean protein. The design is meant to be very elegant so the patient does not feel like they are getting some alarming or degrading lecture.

Of course we still have our custom designed MyPlate Plate, too.

Check them out – and see the special early 2018 pricing that won’t last long. The 50 packs are an excellent deal and their price includes shipping to the 48 states.

 

Holiday MyPlate

As a special holiday bonus, I want to offer you the wonderful MyPlate handout that accompanies the Holiday MyPlate poster. If you like what you see, it’s not too late to pick up some last minute-holiday resources in the Nutrition Education Store — now’s the perfect time to prepare for those New Year’s resolutions…

Holiday times are here! This means a lot more activity and disruption to regular meal and exercise patterns. The good news is that you can remember MyPlate’s most important message to lower calories and eat healthier! Make half your plate fruits and veggies.

Here is how to adopt that message during the crazy holiday rush:

#1. Fill appetizer plates halfway with vegetables.

Look at the savings:

Plate 1: 546 calories

  • 4 mini quiche: 240
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese: 226
  • 5 crackers: 80 calories

Plate 2: 145 calories

  • 1 cup carrots and celery 25
  • 2 mini quiche: 120

Visualize a plate before you eat snacks (and bring your snacks!).

Are you zooming through the mall and tempted by large pretzels, cookies, and cinnamon rolls? They smell great and offer holiday spirit except they are really bad news for your waist. We have become oblivious to lare sizes because they are everywhere. Picture that item on a dinner plate. Does a cinnamon roll or pretzel likely take up a whole plate? That is too much! Bring an apple in your bag or choose a healthier item from the food court.

#2. Fill dessert plates halfway with fruit.

Instead of filling up your plate with pie, cake, brownies, and cookies, fill it up with fruit and leave room for a small slice or piece of one favorite treat.

Consider the savings:

Plate 1: 900 calories

  • Pecan pie slice: 500
  • 1 butter cookie: 200
  • Peppermint brownie: 200

Plate 2: 145 calories

  • 1 cup fresh fruit: 90
  • 1 cookie or 1/2 of a pie slice: 200 calories

Hint: bring a beautiful fresh fruit salad or bowl of fruit so you can have this option.

#3. Make a healthy plate for lunch and dinner.

No matter where you eat, using the MyPlate method of portion control can help you lower calories.

  • 1 big bowl of pasta with meatballs: 900 calories
  • MyPlate method: 1/4 pasta, 1/4 meatball, and 1/2 veggies = 400 calories

Make MyPlate at home, when you eat out, and when you are a guest somewhere else. It works in the cafeteria, the food court, the drive through and office parties!

#4. Eat a healthy snack plate with fruits and veggies before going to a party.

Okay so we realize it is not always easy to eat MyPlate at someone else’s house or the office party. So here is one more strategy. Eat your MyPlate fruits and veggies before you go out. Eat a small salad and a piece of fruit — that way when you go somewhere you can have a smaller serving of what they are offering and you won’t arrive starved only to fill up on a whole plate of fried chicken or fatty roast beef and fritters.

Will this be helpful for you or your clients? If so, don’t miss the free PDF handout available below. Normally it’s exclusive for people who buy the Holiday MyPlate poster, but I want to make an exception today…

Holiday MyPlate

Key Messages from MyPlate

It’s time for another sneak peek, this time into the Food and Health Online Classes!

Today’s sneak peek comes from the increasingly popular MyPlate for Educators Course. After you’ve finished this 2-hour CPE class, you will be able to…

  1. Discuss the history of MyPlate and its connection to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  2. Understand the foods and food groups that make up MyPlate, along with the food elements that should be reduced/consumed in moderation.
  3. Articulate MyPlate’s advice about portions and proportions.
  4. Know the serving sizes for each food group as recommended for different ages, sexes, and activity levels.
  5. Explore and provide makeovers to dishes in order to bring them into alignment with MyPlate.
  6. Discuss shifts in eating patterns that will bring about a healthier eating style.
  7. Understand the health impact associated with a variety of foods in each food group.
  8. Successfully navigate the MyPlate website and know where to look for further resources.

In this little preview, you’ll get a glimpse of a few key messages from MyPlate.

Are you ready? Here we go!

One of the themes that you will see over and over in MyPlate’s educational materials is the importance of variety. Yes, there are 5 main food groups, but there are lots of different foods in each one. Just because the proportions don’t change doesn’t mean that the content shouldn’t. Be sure to keep the choices nutrient dense and in reasonable portions and you’ll be building a healthy plate.

Another key to MyPlate is bringing all the pieces together to form a healthy eating style. This means choosing proper portions of nutritious foods in enough variety to meet your nutrient needs. A healthy eating style is also low in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars.

Why?

Well, according to the USDA, “Eating fewer calories from foods high in saturated fat and added sugars can help you manage your calories and prevent overweight and obesity. Most of us eat too many foods that are high in saturated fat and added sugar. Eating foods with less sodium can reduce your risk of high blood pressure.” Plus, these empty calories and sodium have been linked to an increased risk of chronic disease.

Yet another key message from MyPlate is the importance of making small shifts in order to create a healthier eating style. This is very closely in line with the recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as are most of MyPlate’s messages.

You don’t have to upend all your eating habits in order to start building a healthy eating pattern. Instead, make small changes that you know you can sustain over time and build from there.

This presentation goes on for a total of 45 slides, but I think we need to stop here. I hope you liked the sneak peek! For more great information about MyPlate, check out the MyPlate for Educators Course.

And here are some other MyPlate resources that I thought you might enjoy!

Increase Engagement with a Healthful Eating Pattern Game

We’re all familiar with the benefits of building a healthful eating pattern, but sometimes actually executing on that plan is easier said than done.

Make a healthful eating pattern more compelling with this fun game that kids and adults alike will enjoy!

Food Group Tag!

Here’s how you play…

Game Setup:

Divide your group into two separate teams. One team needs to have five people. These are the taggers, who will work together to tag everyone in the other group. Assign each tagger one of the following food groups…

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Protein
  • Dairy

Everyone who is not a tagger is an empty serving. Each empty serving can work as a free agent. Their goal is to avoid the taggers.

Explain that the taggers are seeking food groups to make a healthful plate. If an empty serving gets tagged, he or she must freeze in place and announce their new food group (determined by the tagger, who represents one of the 5 food groups), and then think of a healthful food that fits that group, which they then announce as well.

The taggers must work together to create a balanced plate (so don’t let one tagger go crazy and tag all the empty servings, claiming them for a single food group).

Game Play:

Set a timer for four minutes and move your group to a location that’s conducive to running around.

Taggers must line up shoulder-to-shoulder. Arrange the empty servings five feet in front of the tagger line. Once “go” is called, the empty servings must evade the taggers for four minutes.

Once the game time is finished, “stop” must be called. At that point, everyone freezes.

Have the untagged empty servings move to one side of the game area, then arrange the tagged empty servings into their food groups. Did the taggers craft a balanced plate? Why or why not?

If the taggers managed to create a balanced plate, then they win. If the empty servings threw off the balance, then they win instead.

This active game offers a fun way to visualize a healthful eating pattern while providing an opportunity for some light physical activity as well.

Game created by Sean Tuohy

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…

Sugar Math Misconceptions

Recently, a dietitian reader reached out to us with some old information about people’s recommended intake of added sugars. This interaction made me realize how much misinformation is still out there about sugar, so I want to set the record straight right now.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that people “Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars.”

That recommendation can be hard for people to apply in their daily lives if they struggle with calculating their total calorie intake and then what 10% of that number would be, so my team and I did a little math to  make the guidelines’ recommendation clearer to consumers.

Here’s what we did…

  • We found that the average daily calorie intake for most Americans is roughly 2,000 calories per day.
  • We calculated how many calories make up 10% of that daily intake.
  • We converted the number of calories to grams of added sugars so that people could easily calculate how much a food would impact this upper limit by using the Nutrition Facts label.
  • Just for fun, we also converted that amount to teaspoons of sugar. That way, people would have one more strategy for applying these numbers to their own lives.

All that math revealed that people should get no more than 200 calories per day from added sugars. That’s only 50 grams of added sugars per day! Since there are 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon, that comes out to only 12.5 daily teaspoons.

We put all that information into our eye-catching Sugar Math poster and a tearpad to match. Take a look!

The information on which we based all these calculations has been supported by MyPlate, which is a publication of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, also known as the USDA.

And of course, the fun doesn’t stop there!

We then delved into the sources of added sugars in the American diet, figuring that knowing the top sources of hidden sugars in an eating pattern would be useful for consumers who are looking to follow the new sugar limits. We poured a lot of that knowledge into the Sugar Math poster and tearpad, along with the Are You Drinking Candy? poster and handout set. The lollipops in the latter really highlight how many added sugars are in a variety of common drinks. See for yourself!

Anyway, I just wanted to shine a light on some of the latest information about added sugars and empty calories. Misconceptions can lurk where you least expect them, but they sure are great teaching opportunities!

Oh, and here is a closer look at some sugar resources that my team and I have made…

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

MyPlate Meal Makeover Handout

Check out this amazing MyPlate meal makeover! I originally kept this handout as an exclusive part of the soon-to-be-released My Plate activity book, but my resolve has crumbled and I can’t wait to share it with you today! If you like what you see, be sure to keep an eye out for the free printable MyPlate handout at the bottom of the post…

Meal Makeover: Use MyPlate to Rearrange This Plate of Fried Chicken

MyPlate Meal MakeoverRevise Fried Chicken:

A typical plate filled with fried chicken and macaroni and cheese weighs in at over 850 calories! That’s way too huge for a single meal. Plus, the plate is full of solid fats and processed grains, with very few nutrients in sight. This is where MyPlate comes in handy. Use MyPlate to rebalance the plate and make the meal more nutritious!

Since filling half the plate with fruits and vegetables is key to MyPlate, start there, replacing half of the chicken and macaroni with steamed corn and green beans. Then keep protein to a quarter of the plate, choosing white meat to cut down on saturated fat. This leaves the dairy and grain groups, which are represented by the macaroni and cheese. Look at the new plate! It’s got only 333 calories, and it looks just as full as the other plate!

Dinner Meal Makeover Details:

Using MyPlate to make over this meal saves you 517 calories!

This new meal is far higher in nutrients, especially fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also lower in empty calories than the first plate.

You could make this meal even better by replacing the refined grain macaroni with a whole grain pasta like whole wheat pasta or quinoa pasta. If you replaced the full-fat cheese with low-fat cheese, you’d take the improvements even further!

The green beans add 30% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin C and 20% of your DV of vitamin K.

The corn adds 17% of your DV of fiber and 21% of your DV of thiamin.

Like what you see? Here’s a free (and printable!) My Plate handout:

MyPlate Meal Makeover

And don’t miss these other engaging MyPlate materials from the Nutrition Education Store!

MyPlate Coloring Book

MyPlate DVD

MyPlate Floor Sticker