Shellfish Safety

There’s an old saying that you shouldn’t eat oysters in months that don’t have an “R” in them? That would be May, June, July and August.

The idea behind this may have originally been sound.  These months are summer months when coastal waters where shellfish are harvested are warmer and the risk for bacterial growth might be higher.

The concern behind this warning is Vibrio. This bacterium is a natural inhabitant of unpolluted coastal marine waters that is more prevalent in warmer water. People can get sick from this bacteria and the resulting illness is called vibriosis. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/vibrio/index.html estimates that vibriosis causes 80,000 illnesses with 500 hospitalizations and 100 deaths a year. About 52,000 of these illnesses are estimated to be the result of eating contaminated food and the rest are caused by exposing open wounds to brackish or salt water containing the bacteria.

About 80% of Vibrio infections occur between May and October…oops…September and October has “Rs” in them….so there goes that myth.

The reason for the concern is that many people like eating raw or undercooked seafood and shellfish and this can make people sick. Thorough cooking of shellfish will kill these bacteria.

Healthy people exposed to Vibrio may experience nausea, stomach pain, abdominal cramps, vomiting and/or diarrhea. For most healthy people a mild case of vibriosis will recover in about 3 days.

Caution needs to be taken by those with chronic illnesses. At highest risk are those with diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, stomach or blood disorders. People with alcoholism and liver disease are at extremely high risk.  These people should NOT eat raw shellfish.  Cooked seafood and shellfish is safe for these at-risk people. 

Oysters seem to be the food most commonly linked to Vibrio. An oyster that contains harmful bacteria doesn’t look, smell or taste different from any other oyster. To protect yourself and family members:

  • Oysters should be purchased from approved sources that are inspected and regulated. Oysters harvested from approved waters, packed under sanitary conditions and properly refrigerated are usually safe for raw consumption by healthy individuals
  • If purchasing shellfish to serve raw make sure they are alive. Shells of live oysters will be tightly closed or slightly open. If the shell is gaping open or does not close after tapping it, the animal is dead and may harbor high number of bacteria. Discard any shellfish with open shells. After cooking, only eat shellfish that have opened during the cooking process.
  • Don’t eat shellfish raw that has been shucked or removed from the shell and sold as “shucked” products. These previously shucked products are intended to be cooked before serving.
  • Follow standard food safety precautions of washing hands before handling raw shellfish and avoid cross contamination with raw seafood and cooked foods.
  • Properly cooking shellfish reduces the risk of illness. Oysters, clams, and mussels should be cooked in small batches so that those in the middle are cooked thoroughly. When steaming, cook for 4 to 9 minutes after the start of steaming. When boiling, after the shells open boil for another 3 to 5 minutes. Shucked products should be boiled for 3 minutes, or fried at 375°F for at least 3 minutes or baked at 450°F for 10 minutes. Shellfish should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. They can also be cooked on a barbecue grill to the proper temperature.

Hog Island Oyster Company's finest

You know how these “old sayings” go… so don’t believe the one about hot sauce or lemon juice either—they DO NOT kill the Vibrio bacteria. Neither does drinking alcohol while eating raw oysters.

If you’re an educator, the folks at Sea Grant http://www.safeoysters.org/ emphasize the importance of education and not frightening the consumers when teaching about seafood.  Remember seafood can be a part of a healthy diet and is good source of low fat protein and Omega 3-faty acids with lots of positive health benefits.  But we do need to remind consumers that eating raw shellfish can be risky and teach ways consumers can protect themselves and specifically those at the most risk.

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS

Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

It is time for holiday education

 

Displays for High School

It’s been a while since I shared a reader request in this space, so today let’s talk high school.

Sucu reached out to me recently, and here’s what she wanted to know…

Hello: Do you have any resources or suggestions for a nutrition message for a high school bulletin board you can share asap. Thanks.
Healthy Regards,
Sucu

What fun!

I initially pointed Sucu to a few things we’d already made. There’s a fantastic high school poster set in the store, and a whole 12 lessons for teens program that is chock-full of display ideas for a bulletin board. My team and I have been polishing a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) collection that could come in handy too.

But then I thought I’d get more specific.

So, here’s a how-to for two different bulletin board displays for high schools.

Display #1: Skip Sugary Drinks

Teens are drinking a lot of sugary drinks these days, and that can be bad news for their health, both in terms of displacing more nutritious calories and adding excess empty calories to their eating patterns. To help educate teens about what they’re drinking, start with a bright, eye-catching poster that can make up the center of your display. This Are You Drinking Candy? poster is a particularly compelling one, and Beverage Better and Sugar Math are two other good choices, so go with whatever best fits your aesthetic.

From there, take a look at the sodas, energy drinks, and sport beverages that are available at school. Take photos of the Nutrition Facts labels on each one if you can, or print off some labels for equivalent products and highlight the sugar content of each one, along with the serving size. Scatter these images around the poster. You could also measure out the equivalent amount of sugar into these great test tubes and attach the tubes to the board near photos of each drink and its Nutrition Facts.

Fill in the remaining space with more information about the impact of sugary drinks on health. This tearpad has great handouts, and this blog post about energy drinks comes with a free printable handout that would be a good fit for this theme too.

Take a look at our collection of prizes for other resources to make your bulletin board display as engaging and memorable as possible.

Display #2: Nutrition Facts Panel

The Nutrition Facts label is changing, and there’s no reason for teens to stay in the dark. To help them learn what they need to know to use this resource to improve their eating patterns, put together a Nutrition Facts bulletin board!

You can pull a lot of inspiration from the New Nutrition Facts Label Display post that we put together in the spring of 2016.

Combine this Nutrition Facts Poster with a Food Label Handout to center your bulletin board display. Or, if you have more space, this 48-inch by 36-inch Nutrition Label Vinyl Banner would be a great way to draw people over to your display. Add a few different Nutrition Facts labels to the bulletin board, highlighting elements that are either good or bad for the kids’ health (perhaps color-coding would come in handy). Highlight only one or two aspects of each label so that they don’t get overwhelming.

Finish off the board with a few Nutrition Facts Stickers and Nutrition Facts Bookmarks to fill any empty spaces.

I hope this comes in handy for you! Keep those requests coming!

 

Bulletin Board Idea for Spring

Spring is kicking into high gear, and what better time is there to put together a bright seasonal bulletin board with helpful health messages?

I created this Spring Bulletin Board Banner to highlight key foods that make their debut in the spring, and as I was looking at it the other day, I decided to outline how to use it to anchor a bulletin board display!

Here are the details…

Put the Spring Bulletin Board Banner in the upper right hand corner of your bulletin board area. Print out the recipe for the healthy spring dinner plate featured on the poster and arrange it next to your banner. Note that this recipe is only available to Food and Health members, so if you haven’t already signed up, take a look at the benefits of membership today!

If you have room for another handout, print out the free PDF that accompanies the Spring Bulletin Board Banner and arrange it on your board too.

Fill the remaining space with images of healthful spring produce. You can print these from the internet, cut them out of magazines, or draw them. You could also add some fun MyPlate stickers, which coordinate well with the color scheme featured on the banner.

What kinds of displays are you making for spring?

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…

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

 

Nutrition Month Display Ideas

It’s not too late to set up an engaging display for National Nutrition Month!

The best displays feature information in a variety of formats, presented in an eye-catching and memorable manner. Here are a few strategies that you can use to put together your best display yet…

Bulletin Board:

It’s usually a good idea to center a bulletin board around a banner or poster. For Nutrition Month, I would recommend any of the following, depending on the space you have available.

Once you’ve picked a poster/banner or two to center your display, it’s just a matter of filling in the details. One way to vary the view while imparting key information is to add a few relevant handouts, like these!

You can also print out pictures that support your main point (people being active for an exercise board, healthful foods/meals for a nutrition board etc) and fill in a few gaps with assorted stickers or wall decals.

Tabletop Display:

Tabletop displays offer a better chance for interaction than a bulletin board display, but they also take up more room.

The key to a good tabletop display is having something that will draw people to the table. Banners on stands offer a great way to stand out from the crowd, and these options are perfect for Nutrition Month:

Floor stickers are also creative (and intriguing) eye-catchers here. My personal favorites include:

Then you want to fill your table with resources that will help your audience learn and remember key Nutrition Month lessons. Posters like the ones featured in the bulletin board section above are great options, and you can prop them up on a tabletop easel or two. Handouts are useful take-home resources too, as are stickers/bookmarks/other fun prizes.

If you’re talking about sugar, salt, or fat content in your display, I’d highly recommend test tubes, which you can use to display the average amount of your featured element in a variety of foods.

These materials offer a great visual way to compare and contrast different options, and the test tubes have gotten wonderful feedback in the past. In fact, they’re one of our most popular resources for health fairs!

And there you have it! A little Nutrition Month display inspiration!

For additional resources to help with your National Nutrition Month celebrations, don’t miss these amazing materials…

Nutrition Month at the Worksite: Activity, Display, and Presentation Ideas

Want to celebrate Nutrition Month at your worksite? Check out these inspirational ideas, and let us know your plans by tweeting us @foodandhealth or writing on our Facebook wall

  • Create a Nutrition Education Display board and display it in the lobby. It’s a great resource for employees and community members who are seeking services.
  • Make Nutrition Education bulletin boards available for all clinic sites to display.
  • Set up a 5 for 5 Challenge. This challenge will encourage employees to eat at least 5 servings of fruits or vegetables every day. It can also include an exercise component, calling for everyone to exercise for at least 30 minutes on each of the 5 workdays during the week. Employees will have a tracking form to keep up with their progress towards the challenge. If they complete the form, then that person’s name will be entered into a drawing at the end of the month’s activities. Feel free to offer prizes that you think would work best for your site.
  • Have a smoothie and healthful snack taste testing week. Make healthful snacks and smoothies will available for a one hour period at your workplace. Offer recipes and supporting materials to anyone who stops by to taste test the treats. Employees that participate could also enter their names into the drawings to be held at the end of the month’s activities.
  • Hold a healthful cooking demonstration. We had success with a 1-hour nutrition education session, which included the preparation of multiple recipes to encourage healthful eating and vegetable consumption. RSVPs were be requested for the session. Employees that participated could also be entered into the drawings to be held at the end of the month’s activities.
  • At the end of the month, drawings will be held for the people that participated in at least one of the month’s activities. Drawing prizes could include the following… MyPlate magnetsa professional apronMyPlate wristbandsassorted kitchen tools, or even a cookbook. You could also work with the HR department to give work-related prizes like an extra vacation day.

By Kelly Whipker, RD, LDN

The Nutrition Education Store has everything you need for fantastic worksite wellness programs or fun Nutrition Month activities…

 

MyPlate Coloring Page

Today is your lucky day!

To celebrate the release of the brand-new MyPlate Coloring Book, I want to share a page from that book with you, for free!

You see, coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. Emerging studies indicate that coloring could help reduce stress in adults as well as children. Plus, it’s just plain fun!

Of course, I couldn’t leave things there. As soon as I learned about the possible health benefits of coloring, I began to brainstorm ways to sneak a few lessons about wellness and healthy eating patterns into my coloring pages. Before I knew it, the MyPlate Coloring Book was born. With patterns intricate enough to be fun to color, and an added dash of simple and memorable health lessons on each page, this book is sure to be fun for all ages!

And now, without further ado, here is the free page from the MyPlate coloring book! How will you use your copy?

MyPlate Coloring Page

Remember, there’s always more in the Nutrition Education Store! Check out these fantastic MyPlate resources…

My Plate Coloring Book

MyPlate PowerPoint and Handout Set

My Plate Banner and Stand

Quick Display Idea: Fruit

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

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

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

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

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

Variations and Additions:

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

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

Eat More Vegetables: 3 Activity Ideas

Help your clients improve their eating pattern with these 3 great activity ideas…

Inspire Together! Have participants look up their daily vegetable needs at www.choosemyplate.gov. Divide everyone into groups based on how many vegetables they need each day, then have each member of the group share his or her favorite way to eat vegetables with the rest of the group. Have each group elect a spokesman who can write down the most popular suggestions. Once the groups have finished sharing, come back together as a class and have each spokesman share the most appealing ways to serve vegetables from his/her group.

With this activity, your participants will all get a few fun new ideas about ways to eat more vegetables each day.

Team Transformations! As a class, brainstorm some traditional meals that are generally low in vegetables. Divide your audience into groups of 3-4 people and give each group a different meal to make over. How can vegetables be added to the meal in an appealing way? After their discussions, have each group pick their top three ideas and share them with the rest of the class.

Now a few staple meals can be transformed into vehicles for more veggies.

Get on Board! Have your participants think about their favorite vegetable snacks. Ask each person to find a photo or draw a picture of these snacks at home or on their own, then reconvene as a group to post those images on a blank bulletin board that you’ve set up. Title the board Healthful Vegetable Snacks.

With this activity, you will get an engaging and unique display, made by your own students. Plus, this board will offer fun ways to try new vegetable snacks, which in turn can help your participants improve their eating patterns.

What do you think? What are your favorite activities to promote eating more vegetables?

Don’t miss these top vegetable resources from the store!