The holiday season is a danger zone for weight management. Parties, shopping trips, traveling, houseguests, candy dishes, potlucks – all of these can wreak havoc on a healthy eating plan. Help your clients keep holiday eating simple and healthy with MyPlate!
Our MyPlate Holiday Poster shows you how to make the holidays healthier one plate at a time. Get things started by asking people to think about what challenges them the most about holiday eating, then talk about how MyPlate can help:
Appetizers: Whether it’s trays of finger foods passed at a cocktail party or a buffet table of small bites, appetizers can upset your healthy eating plan. The MyPlate simple solution is to fill at least half of your appetizer plate with vegetables.
Desserts: Sweets are everywhere during the holidays. The MyPlate simple solution is to fill at least half of your dessert plate with fruit, then add a small piece or slice of the dessert offered.
Lunch or dinner: Whether you’re at home, at a restaurant, or at a party, build your meal with MyPlate in mind – that’s half fruits and vegetables, then add some protein and a whole grain item to the other half. Don’t forget a side of low-fat dairy!
Parties: When you’re not sure you’ll be able to build a healthy plate at a party, the MyPlate simple solution is to eat a snack plate of fruits and veggies before you go.
We also like these free holiday-related infographics from ChooseMyPlate.gov. Print them out or use them on social media:
MyPlate Holiday Makeover
Turkey 5 Ways and Pumpkin 5 Ways (get the most out of leftovers!)
And for those of you thinking ahead to the new year … Turn Your Resolutions into Real Solutions
We love that MyPlate makes healthy eating simple no matter what time of year. In fact, 2020 will bring a new MyPlate campaign – Start Simple with MyPlate. Click here for a sneak peek (parts of this new website are still under construction, but you can get an idea of what’s coming!).
Have you ever thought about using adult coloring books with your clients or patients? Coloring can be meditative. It takes your mind off your worries. It relaxes the brain. And with our unique MyPlate adult coloring book, you get the added benefit of being exposed to healthy messages and images of healthy foods!
We have five ideas for how you can use our MyPlate coloring book, which is geared toward adults and teens:
Color-while-you-wait. In a waiting area, set up a table with a few of our MyPlate coloring books and a mug or two filled with sharpened colored pencils. Add a sign that invites people to sit down and color, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Maybe something like this: “Stressed out? Relax with some coloring!”
Color-for-a-tough-audience. Have you ever been asked to teach a healthy eating class and the audience is restless or just not that interested? We’ve all been there! Maybe it’s a group of high school students who have other things on their minds, a lunch-and-learn with stressed out employees, or an evening class where people are tired. Flip the switch with some MyPlate coloring!
Color-to-recharge. Teaching a seminar or workshop? When you give participants a restroom break, add an extra five minutes for some MyPlate coloring.
Color-to-recover. Coloring is great for patients recovering from surgery. It gives their brains something to concentrate on besides pain, discomfort, boredom, or worry.
Color-giveaway. Use our MyPlate adult coloring books as prizes at health fairs, biometric screenings, open houses, and other events.
And don’t forget to save one for yourself — your brain deserves a break, too!
School’s out for summer, but kids can’t afford to take a break from healthy eating and staying active. Remind them to be active for 60 minutes a dayandeat the MyPlate way with our MyPlate Kids and Physical Activity materials.
The MyPlate Kids Activity poster shows the many ways to get moving for 60 minutes every day, from stretching to walking the dog to playing a sport and more. There’s bound to be something that appeals to every child and inspires them to be active.
With the MyPlate graphic front and center, our materials will also remind kids to make each meal balanced, starting with plenty of high-fiber, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables.
If you’re at a health fair, in the classroom, or anywhere with kids, try one of these activities to get them moving, having fun, and learning:
Put a colored dot on one side of small index cards, using the MyPlate colors (red, orange, green, purple, and blue). Turn the cards over so no one can see the colored dots. Let kids pick an index card to see what color they got. Then ask a series of questions, depending on their age and how much time you have. For example, if they pick red:
What foods are in the red group? Answer: Fruit.
What is your favorite fruit? Answer: Apples.
What does the word apple start with? Answer: A.
“Pretend your finger is a pencil and draw a huge A in the air.”
For older kids, do the above activity, but have them “spell” out the whole name of the food. For fun, change it up – “pretend your foot/elbow/nose/knee is a pencil and draw a huge A in the air.”
Write a variety of activities on index cards (different sports, running, jumping rope, hopping on one foot, etc). Each child picks an index card and does that activity in place (pretend to swing a bat, throw a ball, hop, etc).
I was recently stuck at the airport on the way home from a trip to New Orleans. It was lunch time and after a weekend of jambalaya, etouffee, gumbo, bananas Foster, and beignets, what I really wanted was a big healthy salad.
Lucky for me, I found a pretty nice pre-made salad at an airport shop. That’s the great thing about salad – you can get one just about anywhere. The catch? When it comes to nutrition, not all salads are created equal. Teach your clients to build a healthy salad wherever they are with our beautiful Salad Themed materials.
Start with our Fall In Love With Salad poster. It’s a bestseller and the content is aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, MyPlate, and the Offer Versus Serve Program. And it comes with handouts, including salad fact sheets, fun puzzles, and recipes.
Use the poster’s key healthy salad messages for individual counseling or group sessions:
6 Salad Lover Tips, like choosing darker greens, piling on colorful veggies and fruits, watching out for high fat toppings, adding protein, and using a healthy but tasty dressing.
3 Reasons to Love Salad: it’s a great way to fit more veggies into your day, eat fewer calories, and get more nutrients and fiber.
How to spice up your salad with different ingredients, like Mandarin oranges, water chestnuts, or arugula.
Play “what should it be?”. Create a virtual salad using the audience’s favorite vegetables and writing these down on a dry erase board. Calculate the calories quickly by googling “calories for x” with x being the vegetable and let everyone in the audience help. Add them up. Most salads are less than 100 calories. Then go to the fast food websites and check out the calories for popular salads and check out those calories, which often go above the sandwiches and burgers. Why is there a greater difference? See if the audience can guess. By putting the dressing on the side and making smarter choices they can ensure that their salad is a low-calorie choice! Check out a visual comparison here.
To remind people to eat a healthy salad every day, give them one of our I Love Salad wristbands. What’s not to love about salad?
The Nutrition Facts label is a valuable tool, but many people don’t use it. Maybe they’re in a hurry and don’t take time to read it. Or maybe they see a bunch of numbers and unfamiliar terms and turn the package right back over.
Tufts Researchers estimate that the new food label, showing added sugars, could save up to $31 billion dollars in health care expenses over 20 years. The amount saved for societal costs is about double that amount.
Our Food Label theme has lots of options for helping your clients make sense of the Nutrition Facts panel. A good place to start – our simpleFood Labelhandouts, poster, and banner. This version breaks it all down to the basics, making the Nutrition Facts label easier for everyone to understand and use.
Take a look at our simple Food Label Handout Tearpad. One side has an easy-to-read Nutrition Facts panel with three basic tips on how to read it:
Step 1 is to Count Calories – check the serving size, calories per serving, and number of servings per package.
Step 2 is to Check These for Heart Health – choose foods that are lower in saturated fat and sodium; keep trans fat to zero.
Step 3 is to ask Is This Nutritionally Valuable? – select foods that are nutrient dense and a good source of fiber.
The other side is a very handy MyPlate Healthy Shopping List featuring healthy choices:
Low fat and low sugar dairy products
Other foods (like condiments and seasonings)
As you are shopping, why not create a small bookshelf of interesting packages that have good lessons? Some examples include bottles of beverages that look like one serving but are 3. Or healthful sounding rice mix packages that have a full day’s supply of sodium in a small 160 calorie serving. Or the soup that says reduced sodium that is still high in sodium for the calories it contains? And of course there is the “all natural food” that is filled with saturated fat. I am sure you have a lot of examples. These can make great ice breakers for classes, counseling sessions, and health fairs. And it can make for a fun, find the best label contest if you offer a variety of choices for the same food like a tomato soup or can of beans or packages of frozen entrees.
These handouts are the perfect start to learning to shop for healthier food. If you want a more in-depth approach, check out our Food Label Mathbanner, poster, and tearpad.
Did you know that 90 percent of adults don’t eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables?* Maybe if we saw MyPlate billboards as often as we see signs for fast food or soda, this number wouldn’t be so high. Since that’s not going to happen, it’s up to us to plant the MyPlate image into everyone’s minds.
The MyPlate Start Simple poster is a great discussion-starter for helping people find simple ways to fill half of their plate with fruits and veggies, whether they’re eating at home, at a restaurant, at work, or at school.
At home – this should be the easiest because you’re in charge. Keep lots of fruits and veggies on hand to fill up half of your plate. Bags of pre-washed baby spinach and spring mix make it easy to fix a salad every day. Stock your freezer with a variety of frozen vegetables to steam, microwave, or roast in the oven.
At restaurants – you don’t have as much control, but checking out the menu online ahead of time can help. Look for vegetable sides and order an extra serving. If you’re getting subs or burritos, visually deconstruct them to see how they would look on a plate, then decide if you need to add an extra veggie or fruit, choose a salad instead of sandwich, or go easy on the rice.
Packing lunch – keep that plate in mind as you put your lunch together. Pile all the veggies you can onto sandwiches. Add sides of raw veggies like baby carrots and cherry tomatoes, and a piece of fruit. Or pack lunch the easy way – leftovers from a MyPlate-friendly dinner make the perfect MyPlate lunch.
Your clients are busy. They hear conflicting nutrition advice every day. When it’s time to shop for food, they’re overwhelmed by thousands of choices at the supermarket. But we know healthy eating doesn’t have to be so complicated. That’s why we’re excited about the new MyPlate campaign and theme coming in 2020 with the new Dietary Guidelines – Start Simple with MyPlate.
Keeping things simple is what we had in mind when we created our new Two Tools poster. Healthy eating is simple when you use the Dynamic Duo of MyPlate and the Nutrition Facts label.
Here are five lessons taught by the Two Tools: MyPlate and Nutrition Facts Label poster:
Use MyPlate as a guide when shopping for food and you’ll take home the building blocks for healthy meals.
You know you’re on the right track when half of your shopping cart is filled with fruits and vegetables and half is filled with whole grains and lean protein. And don’t forget some low-fat dairy!
Beware of misleading claims on the front of food packages.
Check the Nutrition Facts label for the information you need to make the healthy choice. Look at calories, portion size, saturated fat, sodium, added sugars, and fiber.
With MyPlate and the Nutrition Facts label, it’s simple to build a more balanced eating pattern that will promote good health.
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?
Keeping a food diary is a great way for clients to become aware of what, when, and how much they eat. There are plenty of apps for online tracking, but sometimes technology makes this simple task too complicated. Get back to the basics with our Food Diary Tearpad!
The Food Diary Tearpad is user-friendly and self-explanatory, making it perfect for health fairs or classes where you’re unable to provide in-depth individual attention. People can write down what they eat in a day, then use the checklist of MyPlate recommendations to “grade” themselves. There’s also space to check off water intake, exercise, movement (cleaning, chores, playing), sleep, and screen time. That’s a lot of information collected on one page!
Lessons to use with the Food Diary Tearpad:
Tracking food intake makes you more aware of the choices you’re making. This awareness helps you make better choices.
Knowing you have to write down what you’re about to eat is often enough to keep you from over-indulging. If you don’t want to see it on paper, you might decide not to eat it!
You can’t change what you don’t track. Whether it’s screen time, drinking enough water, or eating more vegetables, keeping track lets you compare what you are doing with what you want to do.
People use food diaries differently, and that’s ok. Some simply want to jot down the foods they eat to get a general view of food groups they are missing or overeating. Others are more detail-oriented and can learn even more by recording portion sizes, time, place, and calories.
Compare your food diary to your individualized MyPlate Plan, which you can get at ChooseMyPlate.gov/MyPlatePlan. How are you doing on calories? Portion sizes?
Look at when and where you eat each meal and snack. Do you eat most meals away from home? Do you skip meals during the day then snack all evening? How long do you usually go between meals?
Get a handle on emotional eating by writing down how you feel whenever you eat.
Keeping a daily food diary helps people lose weight. But even using our Food Diary for just one day provides a lot of information on your diet and lifestyle. Use this to choose a goal to work on.
Americans spend $41.2 billion a year on dietary supplements. The multivitamin/mineral is most popular, taken by one-third of adults and nearly one-quarter of children (1). But we know that most people can get the nutrients they need from real food!
Besides wasting money, supplements can give people a false sense of security. Sure, one pill may provide 100 percent of the Daily Value for a long list of vitamins and minerals, but what about fiber, phytonutrients, healthy fats, and protein? And no supplement makes up for a high fat, high sugar diet.
We have two posters to help you get this point across to adults and children.
The Eat Your Vitamins poster shows the nutrients provided by each food group, making it clear that a varied diet means no supplement required! Activities based on this beautiful poster:
Use the vegetable sub-categories on the poster to discuss the importance of eating a wide variety of veggies. Which sub-category provides the most vitamins? The most minerals? What vegetables do you regularly eat? Are you getting some from each sub-category?
In a group setting, use the PDF handout “What’s in YOUR Food?” that comes with the poster. Assign each person or small group one or two nutrients. Have them explain to the class: 1) the function of the nutrient; 2) which food groups provide the nutrient; 3) examples of foods in the food group(s).
Ask who takes a multivitamin/mineral daily. Why do you take it? What’s in it? Looking at the poster, which nutrients are in food but not in the supplement? Talk about the benefits of eating real food.
Our Make New Friends Food Groups poster is a fun way to teach kids how to build a healthy lunch that provides the nutrients (or friends!) they need AND meets federal school lunch guidelines. Of course, fruits and veggies are their best friends, so why not have both at every lunch? Activities to go with this poster:
Ask kids to identify the “new friends” pictured on the poster. What food group does each “friend” represent? What other foods are in that food group? Use the “My Plate Strategy Guide” PDF that comes with the poster to discuss the food groups in more detail.
Have kids write down what they had for lunch. Ask them to write the name of the food group next to each item they ate. How many food groups did you eat from? Was there a fruit, a veggie, or both? If you didn’t eat from at least three food groups, how could you change it?
Talk about how some people take a multivitamin/mineral supplement every day, but most of us can get the nutrients we need from real food. What would you miss if you only took a pill, but didn’t eat real food? Does it sound like more fun to “make new friends” with the food groups?