Nutrition at a Glance

Here’s a fun new way to help your clients learn and remember key nutrition lessons.

A brand-new poster!

Everyone gets so confused about how to eat healthfully. In today’s society, proper nutrition comes from following MyPlate, reading food labels, and eating the best options from each of the food groups. The Nutrition at a Glance poster shows key nutrition lessons in three easy steps. Plus, each step has an exciting visual of food!

  • Step 1: Let macronutrients put their best food forward! Think lean, high fiber, and nutrient dense!
  • Step 2: Get your vitamins and minerals from food! Follow MyPlate and get a varied diet with all of the food groups.
  • Step 3: Learn how to read food labels so you can make the best choices that are lower in added fat, sugar, and salt (sodium).

This poster makes a fun visual for any room or event! It is even perfect for Nutrition Month celebrations!

at a glance

To celebrate this fun new resource, I want to give you the handout that comes with it, for free!

Here you go!

Let’s Talk Nutrients:

There are 3 different types of macronutrients — the nutrients in your eating pattern that make up the bulk of what you consume each day. Those 3 macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Protein is important for the creation and maintenance of your bones, skin, and muscles. Carbohydrates are the source of most of your energy. Fat helps your body absorb nutrients and also provides energy.

Choose high-fiber carbohydrates, lean protein, and heart-healthy fats (you can find them in plants and fish). This will help you get the 3 major macronutrients from healthful food sources.

Get Your Vitamins and Minerals from Food:

Balance your meals using MyPlate and its 5 food groups: vegetables, fruit, protein, grains, and dairy.

That way, you will eat a varied diet with adequate nutrients in the calories allotted.

Avoid Extra Processed Food Dangers by Reading Food Labels:

Added sugars, excess sodium, and both trans and saturated fat have been linked to elevated risk of chronic disease.

Minimizing these will help you keep your body in tip-top shape!

Here’s a printable PDF copy of the handout!

nutritionataglance-copy

And here are a few fun nutrition resources from the Nutrition Education Store!

 

Spotlight on Breakfast

My team and I just updated the Breakfast Poster that comes with the 12 Lessons of Wellness and Weight Management program, so today I want to preview the free PDF handout that comes with it!

Take a look!

Breakfast: Start Your Day with a Healthy Meal

Make Healthy Choices!

Eating breakfast is a good way to get the energy you need to face the day, while also making sure that you get some key nutrients that will boost your health and help you feel full until lunchtime.

Many participants in the National Weight Control Registry, a large investigation of long-term successful weight management, begin each day with breakfast.

Make healthy choices, building a breakfast that is nutrient-dense and low in empty calories.

Kids and Breakfast: Fun Facts

Did you know that, according to the Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA, “Children who eat breakfast are more likely to behave better in school and get along with their peers than those who do not.” They continue, “Breakfast helps children pay attention, perform problem-solving tasks, and improves memory.”

Breakfast is also a great opportunity to help kids get the nutrients they need to stay healthy. These include…

  • Calcium
  • Fiber
  • Folate
  • Protein

Multiple studies also indicate that breakfast can help kids manage their weight successfully, reducing their risk of becoming overweight or obese.

Here’s the printable handout — how will you use your copy?

breakfastposterhandout-copy

Want more breakfast resources? Check out these options…

Activity Idea: Making MyPlate Plates

MyPlate is an excellent tool to encourage balanced eating.

For visual learners, having an image of MyPlate is a great starting point on the road to healthful eating habits. You can take this image even farther in an interactive project. Not only will this project help cement the basics of MyPlate in the minds of your visual learners, but it will also draw in your kinetic learners as well. Almost everyone can benefit from learning by doing!

So, what’s the project? Making a physical MyPlate plate.

There are a bunch of ways to approach this, but I want to point you toward a few of my favorite styles…

Color a Paper PlateApproach #1: Color a Paper Plate

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Display an image of MyPlate and walk your clients through the basics of how and why the plate is divided. After that, you can distribute paper plates to each of your participants and let them create their own MyPlate plates with crayons or markers. They can draw their designs right on the plate!

Be sure to choose crayons or markers that are safe for kids — these won’t have harmful chemicals that could be dangerous to ingest. Not that a lot of anything would transfer from the plate to the food placed on it, but it’s best to play it safe.

If you’re distributing food as part of the activity, have people use their plates to portion out what they eat. They may want to make several MyPlate plates so that they can use the guide a few times. After all, paper plates don’t last past one meal.

Materials needed: A MyPlate image example, paper plates, and markers or crayons

Use the Plates Again and AgainApproach #2: Create Melamine Plates

To help your clients make MyPlate plates that they can use again and again, create melamine plates. These plates are embedded with the images that people draw, and they’re reusable. In fact, they can be treated just like regular plates — without fear of flaking, fading, or general destruction.

To create these plates, you’ll need a Make-A-Plate Kit with specialized markers. Hand out the plate papers from the kit to your clients after your discussion of MyPlate, and then let them use the markers to create their own MyPlate images.

This is a relatively inexpensive project that produces long-lasting results.

There is one thing to be aware of, however, and that is production delays. It often takes 2-3 weeks to return the MyPlate drawings as physical plates, so be sure to plan for this holdup.

Materials needed: A MyPlate image example, melamine plate kits, melamine plate markers, materials for shipping the plates

Approach #3: Paint Potted Plates

For more immediate results and a long-lasting plate, there’s always painting pottery. Yes, this is a generally more expensive and involved approach than the other two, but it also often produces beautiful results. You can turn the project into a festive outing or party, and it makes a great end-of-session finale.

Hanging a MyPlate poster or enlarged drawing in the studio can help inspire your participants as they work. It also offers a great example to guide their painting.

Materials needed: MyPlate image example, a pottery studio, potted plates, paints and brushes

Try Word ArtDetails: Creating the Plates

Now that we’ve discussed a few general ways for your clients to make their own MyPlate plates, let’s get into the specifics of plate creation.

Make sure that there is an image of MyPlate available for your participants to look at as they create their plates. After all, the goal is to have an accurate guide to balanced eating available for their reference. A MyPlate with the wrong proportions on it is not helpful.

Now, when it comes to drawing the plate within the guidelines set forth by the USDA, there is plenty of room for innovation.

Yes, clients could copy the MyPlate image exactly “as is” from the USDA website, but they could also innovate when it comes to decorating the plates. For example, some participants could use pictures to highlight what goes in each section, drawing images of their favorite foods from each food group. Or each section of MyPlate could become a word cloud (as pictured here). This word cloud can also feature the foods that fit into each food group.

The possibilities are endless!

Examples, Giveaways, Prizes, Shortcuts, or Take-Home Ideas for Clients

Of course, if you’re looking for examples, giveaways, prizes, shortcuts, or take-home ideas for clients, then you need look no further than the Nutrition Education Store. At the store, you can purchase…

These are wonderful examples that people can pass around while they create their own MyPlate plates. The plates also make perfect prizes for giveaways and can be distributed as take-home ideas for clients. Plus, if you don’t have the time, budget, or resources to have participants make their own plates, these plates offer a fantastic shortcut.

So. There you have it. A bunch of ideas for a great MyPlate project. Enjoy!

By Judy Doherty, PC II and Founder of Food and Health Communications, Inc

There’s always more in the store. Check out these fantastic MyPlate resources!

MyPlate Poster

MyPlate Wristbands

MyPlate PowerPoint Presentation

MyPlate Handout for Kids

MyPlate Apron

Portion Control Activity Ideas

Portion control is often key to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic disease.

We’ve all heard about the many benefits of a healthful eating pattern that incorporates proper portion control.

Making portion control something that is accessible and appealing to your clients, on the other hand, can be more of a challenge.

That’s why my team and I created these beautiful portion control plates!

Portion Control Plate

We designed these plates to help consumers stay on track when it comes to maintaining a healthful diet, practicing portion control, getting regular exercise, and staying hydrated.

By using this plate to dish up their meals, people can save up to 60% of their daily calories per meal (compared to just loading a plate by eye like most people do). This plate keeps foods in the proper proportions and portion sizes, as recommended by MyPlate.

The inside of the plate guides people to balancing their plates with:

  • 3 ounces of lean protein
  • 1/2 cup of cooked grains
  • 1 cup of vegetables
  • 1 cup of fruits

Meanwhile, the rim of the plate is full of reminders to sip the right kind of beverage and get moving from time to time!

The beautiful color pattern of the plates makes them attractive for home, picnics, the office, and parties. Plus, they work beautifully in wellness fairs, cooking demos, classrooms, and one-on-one consultations.

Load up that plate

To celebrate the release of these wonderful nutrition education materials, I want to share two activities that you can do with these plates today!

Activity #1: Fill the Portion Plate

What you’ll need:

  • Enough portion control plates for everyone
  • Magazines
  • Scissors

What you’ll do:

  1. Assemble your group, pass out the plates, and make sure everyone has access to scissors and magazines. Explain that they are going to cut out pictures of food and then sort them into the appropriate areas of the portion control plate.
  2. Offer your participants some time to cut out their selections, then explain the next part of the activity.
  3. Pick a food group and call it out. The participants must find a food that fits into that group (from their collection of magazine images) and place it on the correct section of the plate, holding up both the picture and the plate so that you can see it. Award points for speed and accuracy, correcting any misconceptions that may crop up.
  4. After the game is over, you discuss the results and let the class go or add a twist. For the latter, see who can find the healthiest food to fit in a food group the fastest. Discuss. What makes each food a good fit for its food group? What nutrients does it contain? How much saturated fat, added sugars, or sodium is in the food?

Portion Control Planning:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 portion control plate per person
  • Paper
  • Pens or pencils

What you’ll do:

  1. Pass out the plates to each participant. Give everyone pens and pieces of paper too.
  2. Have everyone examine the food groups on the plate. What are the portion sizes like? How do the proportions work? Discuss what they notice.
  3. Have people list the days of the week across the tops of their papers. Using the plates, have them plan meals that would fill the plates in the proper portions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on each day of the week.
  4. Once everyone has their ideas mapped out, ask for volunteers to share their plans. What inspired them? Why? Which ideas are the best for a healthful eating pattern? What makes them healthful?
  5. Once your discussion is finished, let your participants keep their plates, and, if you’ll see them again, check in on their progress. Do they like using these new plates? Why or why not?

I hope you liked this resource spotlight!

Here are some other great portion control materials — which will make your life easier?

MyPlate 9 Food Photos FREE plus 7 Lessons Learned During Our Shoot

Here is a sample gallery of our best MyPlate images. Use them in your blog or other project. You can link to them directly or download for your site – just link back to this page and indicate they are copyrighted by Food and Health Communications, Inc. Click contact us below to make inquiries, comments or requests. We love to hear from you!!

If you are looking for more healthy food photos, check out our new photo store: http://healthyfoodphotos.com

7  fun lessons were learned about MyPlate and its food groups during our photography project:

  1. LOTS of choices are given for each food group.
    • For vegetables you can have whole, chopped, cooked, frozen, canned, dried, raw, mashed or leafy.
    • For fruits you can have whole, chopped, cooked, frozen or pureed. 100% juice counts, too.
    • Protein lists meat, poultry, seafood, soy alternatives, nuts, seeds, nut butters and eggs.
    • And milk specifies fluid milk, dairy desserts, yogurt, hard cheese and processed cheese.
    • Grain choices are very delicious: wheat, oats, corn, barley, rice and others. Quinoa is a great “other” that cooks quickly and looks like cous cous on a plate.
  2. The serving sizes are easy to follow but they don’t always match what manufacturers put in packages and on food labels.
    • For example, 1 cup of yogurt is a serving but most containers of yogurt are only 5 to 6 ounces. Some of them contain a significant amount of sugar so if you double them to get to a cup, you might eat too many calories. It is better to buy plain yogurt and add real fruit
    • It takes 3 slices of processed cheese to make 2 ounces. We always thought it was 2.
    • It takes 2 slices of hard cheese to make 1.5 ounces.
    • Some protein items weigh close to 5 ounces so you would not get variety if you ate one of them as your daily requirement. A full sized chicken breast or steak will often weigh more than 5 ounces if eaten as packaged. Save money and cut them up! We love our photo showing one serving of each type of protein. It looks like a tapas bar.
    • Peanut butter jars list 2 tablespoons but you only need 1 to make a serving for the MyPlate protein group recommendations.
  3. 5 ounces of protein doesn’t look like much. It is the amount recommended for one day for most people. If you weigh an ounce of meat, fish or poultry on a scale it is about the size of a big gum ball. 3 ounces is about the size of a smart phone (who uses a deck of cards anymore anyway?) and one ounce of nuts covers a bread and butter plate.
  4. The whole grains are really beautiful when you assemble them side by side. The photo above can be used for a fun guessing game and lesson about grains.
  5. The dairy group specifically says that butter, cream and cream cheese are not considered a dairy serving because they don’t have a lot of calcium. We note that whipped cream in the can is a great accompaniment to fruit instead of ice cream. Although frozen desserts are allowed in the calcium group. You can’t get too excited too quickly about that, though, because deeper in the recommendations you will find that discretionary calories for most people are around 100 to 150 calories which is just about a half cup of ice cream and all added sugars must be fit into that amount.
  6. Soy milk is now allowed but the market is zooming faster than the USDA can keep up with it. You can also use calcium fortified almond milk, rice milk or flax milk and get the same nutrients. The alternative milks are not as high in protein although they are often lower in calories, sugar and sodium. And they are higher in calcium and B12.
  7. Don’t be afraid to play with your food! This “make half the plate fruits and veggies” photo is our favorite:

DSC_5003

These photos are being used in a new upcoming video and a current CD.

If you are looking for more healthy food photos, check out our new photo store: http://healthyfoodphotos.com

Display of the Month: Eating Pattern Shifts

Shifting to a healthier eating pattern is — hands down — a great idea.

After all, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans assert, “most Americans urgently need to shift intakes to achieve […] healthy eating patterns.” MyPlate echoes this advice, urging people to “Focus on making healthy food and beverage choices from all five food groups including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy […] Make small changes to create a healthier eating style.”

That’s why this month’s display is all about encouraging manageable shifts to improve eating patterns.

You may remember the myriad displays of the month leading up to this point, and I have to confess that this one is one of my very favorites. If you’d like to catch up before proceeding to the newest edition, simply follow the links below…

And now for the new stuff! Here’s a guide to everything you need to put together July’s Display of the Month…

Set Up Your Booth

The Materials:

The Activities:

  • Game: Make the Shift!
  • Discussion: What Makes Eating Pattern Shifts Sustainable?

The Details:

Start by setting up your space. Grab a big table and hang the Change It Up Banner in front of it. On top of the table, arrange a Healthier Choices 1-2-3 Poster on a Tabletop Easel, flanked by some Make Healthy Choices a Snap Handouts. Circle the whole thing with your prizes — a mix of Change It Up Bookmarks and Butterfly Stickers. Now, where do you have a little extra space? Where else would you like to draw the eye? Wherever that is, set up your banner: Change It Up or Healthier Choices 1-2-3 or both!

Survey your arrangement. What works? What doesn’t? Adjust accordingly, then get ready for your participants to arrive.

Engage Your Audience

For the Make the Shift! Game, write down some common meals and snack foods that aren’t ideal for good health. On the back of each card, draft a few ideas for ways to shift that food/meal into a healthier element of a balanced eating pattern. Check out MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for some inspiration.

Once your participants arrive, announce the game and offer prizes for fantastic answers. Decide whether you’re going to have people play individually or in teams, then hold up your first card. What isn’t healthy about that meal/food? What can people do to help shift it into a healthier choice? How sustainable is that shift? Offer extra points for creativity. Once you’ve run out of cards, tally points and award prizes to the winners (alternatively, you can toss out prizes for participation and engagement as everyone plays the game).

For your discussion of What Makes Eating Pattern Shifts Sustainable? simply pose the question to the group. What kind of changes are easier to sustain over time? Why? Which are unsustainable? Why? What have people had success with in the past? What stumbling blocks have they overcome?

Oh, and here’s the free printable Make Healthy Choices a Snap handout for your display too!

Healthy Choices 123

Before we end this post, don’t miss these other great resources for eating pattern shifts…

Make a Healthy Plate!

MyPlate Plate for KidsMyPlate Plate

I’ve just launched a few new MyPlate plates, and I couldn’t wait another moment for you to see them!

These MyPlate plates have been favorites of health and nutrition educators since I first came up with the idea a few years ago. After all, who wouldn’t want an actual plate to use while learning and teaching the key lessons of MyPlate?

These new designs for portion control and kids highlight the importance of balancing eating patterns with physical activity, and there are great options for both adults and kids. In addition to being wonderful teaching tools, these plates are also perfect for prizes, cooking demonstrations, displays, presentations, and much more!

As a treat today, I’d like to share a MyPlate activity that you could do with any of these plates or even a paper plate. Are you ready?

MyPlate Activity: Fill the Plate

What you’ll need:

  • Physical MyPlate Plates
  • Magazines
  • Scissors

What you’ll do:

Assemble your group, pass out the plates, and make sure everyone has access to the scissors and magazines. Explain that they are going to cut out pictures of food and then sort them into the appropriate areas of MyPlate.

Offer your participants some time to cut out their selections, then explain the next part of the activity.

Pick a food group and call it out. The participants must find a food that fits into that group (from their collection of magazine images) and place it on the correct section of the plate, holding up both the picture and the plate so that you can see it. Award points for speed and accuracy, correcting any misconceptions that may crop up.

After the game is over, you discuss the results and let the class go or add a twist. For the latter, see who can find the healthiest food to fit in a food group the fastest. Discuss. What makes each food a good fit for its food group? What nutrients does it contain? How much saturated fat, added sugars, or sodium is in the food?

I hope you liked this glimpse of the MyPlate activity that can go with the new MyPlate plates. Don’t miss some of the other wonderful MyPlate resources that are available now in the Nutrition Education Store

MyPlate Basics: A Handout

I’ve been having so much fun designing new floor stickers for the Nutrition Education Store!

As you know, every floor sticker comes with a free printable handout, and today I’d like to share one of the most popular ones with you.

How great is that?

These floor stickers are perfect for cafeterias, break rooms, wellness fair booths, and even presentations. And handouts are as versatile as they come. The combination of both is one of my favorites because it appeals to a variety of learning styles and presentation formats. This can help make lessons more meaningful and easier to remember.

Anyway, back to today’s free handout.

This handout covers the basics of MyPlate and was designed to go with the MyPlate Floor Sticker. I’ll copy the text of the handout below so that you can preview it, then, if you like what you see, keep scrolling for your very own PDF copy.

MyPlate
Meet the USDA’s guide to balanced eating!

MyPlate’s 5 Food Groups:

  • Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed. Fruit and 100% juice both count, though whole fruit has more fiber than juice.
  • Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. They may be whole, sliced, or mashed.
  • Grain foods are made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain. Choose whole grains instead of refined grains whenever you can.
  • Foods like meat, poultry, seafood, beans, peas, eggs, soy, nuts, and seeds are all part of the protein group.
  • Dairy foods include yogurt, milk, cheese, and calcium-fortified foods. Choose skim when possible and limit options with added sugar.

Food Group Tips:

MyPlate advises people to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables at each meal.

Make at least half of all the grains you eat whole grains, every day.

Variety is the key to the protein food group. Choose options that are low in saturated fat whenever you can.

For the most nutrients with the fewest empty calories, choose fat-free and low-fat dairy foods.

The balance of foods on MyPlate will help people get all the nutrients that they need in a day. How can you make your plate look more like MyPlate?

For more information, visit MyPlate’s home website, http://www.choosemyplate.gov.

What do you think? Will this handout be good for your clients? Here’s a printable copy of the free MyPlate handout!

MyPlate Floor Sticker Handout

And here are some more MyPlate resources, fresh from the Nutrition Education Store!

 

 

 

Shopping with MyPlate: Activity Guide

MyPlate is more than a fantastic guide to healthy dining! Much of its advice can also be applied to healthy shopping. You may remember the post Shopping with MyPlate: A Handout. The leader guide that goes with that handout is too good not to share, so here it is! How will you use your copy?

Shopping with MyPlate: Activity Ideas

Make a List! (Kids) Explain that, in order to have meals like MyPlate, people have to fill their shopping carts like MyPlate too. Find out who has gone to the grocery store with their parents. What was the experience like? Have each child pretend that they are in charge of meals for the week and plan a grocery list. What do they need to do in order to get food for healthful meals? Feel free to use the shopping list handout included in this lesson. Come back together as a group and discuss the lists.

Grocery Tour: (Adults) Take a field trip to the grocery store. Discuss the layout of the store and how to find foods that match MyPlate’s advice. Spend some time on Nutrition Facts labels, demonstrating how to evaluate sodium content, added sugars, saturated fat ratios, etc. Offer participants a chance to get groceries, and discuss what they found. Why did they pick what they picked?

MyPlate Shopping Display:

A display can help flesh out this lesson. Consider some of the following ideas…

Interactive Display: Put up a large, blank MyPlate image inside a picture of a shopping cart. Have adults write down healthful foods that would fit in each group. Kids can also draw pictures of those foods.

Shopping Tips: Center a picture of MyPlate on your board, then surround it with word bubbles full of shopping tips that will make grocery trips easier and result in more healthful purchases.

Shopping List Samples: Write out a list of healthful foods, dividing them into MyPlate categories. This can serve as shopping inspiration.

This post is excerpted from the MyPlate Workbook. If you like what you see, don’t miss this free printable leader guide!

MyPlate Shopping Leader Guide

We’re here to help you look your very best right now, so here are some other amazing MyPlate resources from the Nutrition Education Store

Display of the Month: Nutrition Month

It’s National Nutrition Month, and to celebrate, I couldn’t resist making a Nutrition Month display for the Nutrition Education Store’s March Display of the Month! Can you blame me? Here’s what you need to make your own display…

Display for Nutrition MonthThe Materials:

The Activities:

  • Nutrition Month ABCs
  • Brainstorming: Ways to Savor the Flavor of Eating Right

The Details:

To set up your booth, grab a table and drape the front with the Nutrition Month Banner. Top it with the posters you like best from the Quality Nutrition Poster Set. They’re all great for Nutrition Month, but I especially like the Wise Choices and Portion Control posters for this particular display. Put each poster on a Tabletop Easel in order to make it easy to see. Intersperse the educational posters with some Nutrition from A to Z Handouts and MyPlate Brochure Cards, then line the front of your table with Nutrition Month Bookmarks and Nutrition Month Stickers. Toss a whiteboard up on a stand near your display and grab a few dry erase markers if you’re going to do the activities outlined below.

Display and ActivitiesFor the Nutrition Month ABCs activity, ask people to think up words that start with each letter of the alphabet, focusing on key health and nutrition information. For example, the letter “A” could feature words like “antioxidants,” “activity,” “anthocyanins,” and even “vitamin A” if the group is flexible. Discuss each word as it is offered and give prizes to the people who choose to participate. Pass out copies of the Nutrition from A to Z Handout to conclude the activity.

When it comes the the second activity, Brainstorming Ways to Savor the Flavor of Eating Right, your white board can come in handy again. Discuss this year’s theme for Nutrition Month. What are some healthy ways that people can follow that theme and “savor the flavor of eating right” in a manner that is balanced and fun? Record people’s answers on your whiteboard. If they need inspiration, point them to the MyPlate Brochure Cards and Nutrition Posters in your display.

Additional Resources:

If you’re looking for even more materials that you can use for Nutrition Month, don’t miss these additional nutrition education resources…

And here’s another installment of my free printable nutrition education materials — a PDF handout that covers the basics of nutrition

Nutrition Basics for Nutrition Month

More Displays of the Month:

Finally, here are some other fun materials from the Nutrition Education Store!

10,000 Steps Floor Sticker

Digital MyPlate Poster and Resource Collection

MyPlate Stress Relief Coloring Book