5 Ways to Use Our MyPlate Adult Coloring Books

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!

See our free coloring sheet here in our nutrition month theme.

Have Some Fun with Plant Slant

There’s something about a rhyme that gets people’s attention. That’s why we love the catchy title of our newest materials for teaching the benefits of a plant-based diet—Plant Slant!

Plant Slant posters and banners use a colorful and simple illustration to proclaim the benefits of eating a plant-based dietary pattern with MORE vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds and LESS animal-based and processed foods.

Engage your audience by inviting them to come up with rhymes that go with the Plant Slant concept. Or put some blank sticky notes on the wall next to the Plant Slant poster and let passers-by write down their own rhymes. Who knows? You might get enough to put together your own Plant Slant Chant!

Here are some rhymes to get you started:

  • What can you eat instead of meat?
  • Please proceed to nuts and seeds.
  • Enjoy some soy, it’s not a ploy!
  • Meat’s okay, but can you skip a day?
  • Make a new routine with lentils and beans.
  • Add some fish if you wish!
  • Don’t be wary, you can have some dairy.

Let’s make nutrition education fun!

School’s Out!

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 day and eat 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).

Kids who participate can take home a Kids Activity and MyPlate bookmark to remind them to stay active and eat right all summer long.

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

Back to basics with the Food Diary Tearpad

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.

New Product: Menu Planning Handouts

“When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Truer words were never spoken, especially when it comes to healthy eating! In fact, research shows that planning meals is associated with healthier diets and reduced rates of obesity (1).

Menu planning also helps you:

  • Make a shopping list.
  • Stick to a grocery budget.
  • Eat more meals at home.
  • Get out of the “same old” mealtime rut.
  • Enjoy mealtimes with less stress.

There’s no doubt about it — planning sets clients up for success. Our new Menu Planning Handouts make it easy! Healthy menu items are pictured and listed at the top. Choose from these to fill out the one-week menu planning chart at the bottom.

The Menu Planning Handouts are great for a class or one-on-one counseling. They’re printed on both sides, so clients can do one side as a group or with your help, then use the other side to plan on their own at home.

I like the idea of using the Menu Planning Handout as a menu planner AND a food diary all in one. Clients can use it to plan meals and snacks for the day or the week, then check off what they eat as they go.

Adding the matching dry-erase Menu Planning Poster or Wall Decal makes this the perfect system to help your clients plan to succeed in their healthy eating goals.

  1. Ducrot P, Mejean C, Aroumougame V, et al. Meal planning is associated with food variety, diet quality and body weight status in a large sample of French adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2017 Feb 2;14(1):12. DOI: 10.1186/s12966-017-0461-7.

12 Hot Nutrition Education Topics for 2019

Are you looking for a hot topic for your next class, workshop, or client consultation? Or for Nutrition Month (R)?

As much as people want a magic bullet for their health, teachers want a magic topic that will engage, educate, and motivate their audience. Here we have assembled all of the best and hottest topics for our clients for 2019. With nutrition there is always plenty of lessons to help people learn anything from the basics, to skipping fads, to shopping and preparing meals with ease, or to making better choices when dining out!  The 2019 Nutrition Month theme is now all about reviewing the benefits of nutrition.

The hottest topics listed here are chosen from our expert writers’ recommendations, research in the news, views from our blog posts, many telephone and email inquiries with customers and readers, Amazon bestseller book lists, and over 100 food, health, and nutrition professional blogs that we follow. 

Here is the best hot topic list that you can use to find our matching resources and to plan your own presentations and classes.

  1. Kitchen How-To Cooking Demos for Seasonal Items – this is always our most popular topic and the how-to section in Amazon Cookbooks reflects that people want science, everyday cooking, more science, family recipes, and “low-calorie, high-flavor taste”
  2. Benefits of Family Meals and using MyPlate plates to help kids eat more fruits and veggies
  3. Plant Based Diet Basics: Focus on a plant slant! How to Plan Meals, New Foods, Benefits
  4. Ethnic Food Discoveries: Asian is HOT! Vietnamese, Indian, Afghanistan, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and more! We see more ethnic foods in all grocery stores and the National Restaurant Association reports that global is the hottest and most consistent trend to date.
  5. Sugar: How to Find It, How to Consume Less
  6. Meal Planning Skill Building: Go interactive with your audience!
  7. Tests and Quizzes: What Do We Know? What Did We Learn? Quizzes, puzzles, and tests are consistently popular.
  8. Dietary Guidelines: The Dietary Guidelines are chocked full of information; review the current guidelines while waiting for the 2020 update. All of our posts regarding the guidelines are always very popular. 
  9. Fiber and Nutrient Density: a great combo lesson and way for consumers to understand nutrient quality plus fiber and gut health are always popular. One dietitian author of F-Factor has had great success using fiber education to help people lose weight.
  10. Weight Loss – a recent CDC survey found that half of all adults over the age of 20 have tried to lose weight over the past year and two thirds of all adults in the US are still overweight or obese. Check out our 12 Lessons Program!
  11. Self Control – for better habits and weight loss success – October 2018 study and there are numerous studies on sleep and weight control
  12. How Do We Define Healthy Food? Real Food! Comfort Food! This is according to one foodservice director and health educator making a difference in K-12 cafeterias. It is a more positive term and strategy for kids than health food or whole food. More examples of positive terms along these lines are real foods, slow foods, and local foods. 

All of these and more are in the new theme finder!

Check out the new products:

Or the engaging tools for Nutrition Month:

Breakfast Banners Developed for Dedicated Foodservice Director

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Here are three banners that are custom-designed for Lisa Durand, a foodservice manager who works for Thompson Public Schools. She wanted to make sure all of her students know that breakfast is free by installing very colorful banners in her cafeteria. We gave her three choices because she has 3 grades: elementary, middle, and high school ages. She chose all three so one of each will be going into her schools shortly. The oranges are from a photo we made in our studio using 9 different oranges from a farmer who was selling direct to consumers in a farmer’s market here in California. The dancing people filled plant foods. And the running figure is filled with fruits and veggies.

Students are reminded to “fuel up to play 60” so they eat well and get physical activity for 60 minutes a day!

We love custom projects! Let us know if you need one!

Egghead Quiz

Egg

Answer TRUE or FALSE to these questions to find out how much you know about the incredible edible egg.

  1. An extremely old egg will sink to the bottom of a bowl of water.
  2. You can tell if an egg is raw or cooked by spinning it on a table top.
  3. The color of the egg yolk is determined by the food the chicken has eaten.
  4. It’s best to use the freshest eggs possible for over-easy or sunny-side-up eggs because the yolk in these eggs will be less likely to break.
  5. Most of an egg’s nutrition is in the white. The yolk is only fat.
  6. Eggs are good for your eyes.
  7. Get the freshest eggs possible when making hard-cooked eggs; this will make them easier to peel.
  8. One large egg has 150 calories.
  9.  Eggs should be stored in the carton in the refrigerator.
  10. Because egg shells are hard (especially after hard cooking) they are great foods to take on a hike because they don’t need to be refrigerated and they will keep all day.
  11. The green ring or halo that is sometimes found around the yolk of a hard cooked (hard-boiled) egg is caused by overheating or overcooking.
  12. Because of the high cholesterol in the yolks all eggs should be avoided.
  13. You need to have a rooster (male chicken) to get eggs.
  14.  Brown eggs are more nutritious than white eggs.

Answers:

  1. FALSE an extremely old egg will float to the top. As an egg gets older moisture evaporates through the porous egg shell. As this happens an air pocket develops inside the shell as the air pocket gets bigger the egg will float. However, this is not always a reliable tool to tell the age of an egg. A newly laid egg may also float, as occasionally a hen will lay an egg with a larger air cell.
  1. TRUE A raw egg will wobble due to the moving liquid inside the shell.  A cooked egg will easily spin.
  1. TRUE The yolk color depends upon the plant pigment in the hen’s feed.  Natural yellow-orange substances such as marigolds petals may be added to light-colored feed to enhance the yolk’s color. Artificial colors are not permitted to be added to the food.
  1. TRUE The fresher the egg the stronger the membrane surrounding the yolk.  A sign that an egg is older is when the white gets thinner and the yolk gets flatter.  When the yolk membrane gets weaker the more likely it will break during cooking.
  1. FALSE Most of an egg’s nutrients are in the yolk. The yolk has a high percentage of an egg’s vitamins. Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D. Egg yolks also contain choline which is an essential nutrient for fetal development during pregnancy and aids in the brain function of adults. However, there is more protein in the white (3.6 grams) than in the yolk (2.7 grams). There is no fat in the white and 4.5 grams in the yolk.
  1. TRUE This is especially true as you get older. It is specifically the substances in the plant pigments that cause the yolks to be yellow that have been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
  1. FALSE Older eggs peel more easily.  Eggs are easier to peel when they are a week to 10 days old.  Evaporation through the shell weakens the membrane holding the white to the shell allowing the shells to come off easier after cooking.
  1. FALSE Eggs have a high nutrient density.  One egg provides many nutrients in proportion to its calorie contents.  Nutrient dense foods help you get nutrition without excess calories.  There are 13 essential nutrients in one egg with only 72 calories in one large egg.
  1. TRUE They will age more in one day at room temperature than they will one week in the refrigerator.  Eggs will keep up to three weeks after you bring them home from the store. Another reason to store eggs in the carton in the refrigerator is so they won’t absorb refrigerator odors.
  1. FALSE The egg shells are very porous (17,000 tiny pores in the shell of one large egg).  These pores allow moisture to move in and out of the shell both when the egg is raw or cooked.) Once cooked eggs need to be refrigerated. Hard-cooked (hard-boiled) eggs should only be kept unrefrigerated for no longer than two hours.  So if you’re taking them on a hike or picnic keep them in a cooler.
  1. TRUE   The greenish “halo” is caused by the reaction of the sulfur in the egg white with the iron in the yolk.  This happens when the eggs have been cooked too long or at too high a temperature. Cooking eggs in hot water, not boiling water and then cooling immediately minimizes the green. While this green ring might be unsightly it is harmless and safe to eat.
  1. FALSE  Dietary cholesterol has long been a hot topic surrounded by confusion. There is less dietary cholesterol in eggs than people have thought over the years. There are 186 milligrams of cholesterol in one egg. This cholesterol is found in the yolk. The US Dietary Guidelines recommend Americans recommend eating less than 300 mg dietary cholesterol per day and consuming less than 200 mg per day can further help people at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
  1. FALSE You only need to have hens (female chickens) to get eggs. But you do need to have a rooster to get fertilized eggs. It takes 24-26 hours for a hen to produce an egg. After an egg is laid the hen starts over again about 30 minutes later.  Most eggs are laid between 7 and 11 in the morning.
  1. FALSE The color of the shell is not related to the quality, flavor, nutritional content or cooking properties of an egg.  The difference in shell color is due to difference in hen breeds.  Hens that lay brown eggs are larger and require more feed than hens that lay white eggs. For that reason, eggs with brown shells usually cost more.

How’d you do?

  • If you got 11-14 You’re an EGGHEAD!  Good job!
  • 8-10  EGG-cellent! You know your eggs!
  • 4-7 You’re a little hard boiled when it comes to eggs.
  • 3 or less Don’t look now but you have egg-on-your-face!

Source:  Egg Nutrition Center (www.eggnutritioncenter.org) and the American Egg Board (www.incredibleegg.org)

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

Check out all of our fruit and veggie posters for spring