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!

Glove Story

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I like to teach with stories.  I think people learn best when they can visualize or relate to a situation. Here’s a story I tell my restaurant manager food safety classes about glove use…

I was at a grocery store with my aunt after church one Sunday morning. This store had ready-to-eat foods and several small tables that allow people to order food, then sit and eat within the store.

We observed a worker serving a breakfast pizza. Here’s how it went: the customer ordered a slice of pizza, then the clerk carefully put gloves on — using one hand to make sure the glove was on the other. She picked up the pizza slice with her gloved hand and put it in the microwave. While it was heating, she rang the sale up on a cash register and took the customer’s money… with her gloved hands! Then she removed the slice from the oven, put it on a paper tray, and handed it to the customer. As she handed it to the customer, her thumb was firmly touching the pizza slice.

This is a real story — not changed or embellished for the sake of education.

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What did she do wrong? Did she do anything right?

First, she should have washed her hands before putting on the gloves. She may have contaminated the gloves when she touched them with her bare unwashed hands and then potentially transferred a pathogen to the pizza.

Using the cash register and taking money with gloved hands is just wrong. She could have then transferred pathogens from the cash register and money to the pizza.

All of this was happening with someone who thought she was doing the right thing.

I think sometimes people think that once they have gloves on, they can do anything and be “safe.” Contaminated gloves can be just as bad as unwashed hands and bare hand contact with food. In this case, perhaps the cleanest surfaces in this place were her hands inside the gloves. Then again, I didn’t see her wash them, so maybe not.

Unfortunately, this person was not trained well in glove use. In this situation, she may not have even needed gloves in the first place. She could have picked up that pizza with tongs or a deli sheet and put on the tray.

If you’re teaching food service workers about glove use, here are the basic tips to remember from my story…

  • Wash your hands before putting on gloves for food-related jobs
  • Change your gloves when changing tasks
  • Change your gloves after they become dirty or when they are ripped.

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

Check out this free food safety handout!

fourstepsfoodsafety

And don’t miss these other great resources…

Tabletop Flip Charts

Here’s a collection of tabletop flip charts that can be used for student, patient, and client education!

Use them in employee wellness fairs, health fairs, exam rooms, offices, and classrooms. They fit on a table and flip easily to teach people important lessons about a variety of topics including MyPlate, diabetes, and cholesterol.

Take a look!

chart1

chart2

myplatechart

Best of all, these charts are very portable and can be used without electricity. They are hands-on because clients can read them and flip them at their own pace.

After all, pictures and infographics speak a thousand words!

Speaking of MyPlate, here’s a free copy of one of our most popular MyPlate handouts, just in case you missed it!

holidaymyplate-nes

And here are a few more MyPlate resources that you might like!

 

New Activity Ideas!

I love coming up with new activities that promote a balanced lifestyle and healthful choices! Today I want to share a few activities that make the most of the brand-new Steps of Health floor decals that just made their debut in the Nutrition Education Store.

These decals feature eight different steps that people can take to improve their health, including…

  • Move more
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Protein
  • Dairy
  • Sleep
  • Limit screen time

Their possible uses are endless, and these brand-new floor decals also come with a handout that details how those eight elements can help improve health. There’s even another handout that highlights some fun activities that are perfect for these materials, and that’s the handout I’d like to share today.

Enjoy!

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The Path to Health:

Arrange the feet so that they appear to be a trail across the front of the room, leading from the door into the classroom.

As people enter your classroom, have them walk the trail and note what is on each footprint.

Once everyone has walked the trail and then found a seat, explain that each person can now brainstorm a few ways to implement each element of the path to good health in their own lives.

Have all the participants use a piece of paper and a pen, then divide their page into eight sections, one for each footprint. Let them give each section a title (“Move More,” “Fruit,” “Vegetables,” etc), then allow everyone some time to brainstorm while you re-create the grid of eight footprints on a whiteboard or large piece of paper that you have posted at the front of the room.

Once everyone appears to be done brainstorming on their own, bring the class back together and have people share what they wrote. Write the ideas down on your own board and encourage everyone to add ideas to their own sheets if the new options resonate with them.

Health Fair Decorations:

These decals make excellent decorations for a health fair booth. Consider using these little feet to create a path to your booth from the entrance, or arrange them in an arc around your booth so that people can make a full circuit of what you offer.

These creative materials are sure to help your booth stand out from the crowd at the next wellness fair.

Display the Path to Health:

These stickers don’t have to stay on the floor! Put together a colorful bulletin board and use these feet to join the ideas of good nutrition and regular physical activity.

You can use a grid format à la the “Path to Health” activity, or you can build a path along the center of the board and write out details/illustrate each key point along the sides of each foot.

Here’s a printable handout of these activity ideas. How will you use yours?

stepsofhealthfloordecalsactivityLooking for other fun additions to the Nutrition Education Store? There are lots! Here are a few of my favorites…

Display of the Month: Sodium Math

Can you believe that it’s already time for a brand-new display of the month?

Before we get to the new stuff, let’s take a quick look back at the previous displays of the month. Are you caught up?

All right, let’s dive into this month’s display…

Low Sodium Choices

Your Materials:

The Activities:

September Sodium Math

The Details:

Mix and match your materials into a visually-appealing display.

For the Guess the Salt Content interactive activity, you’ll need to do a little research beforehand. Grab a couple of grocery store staples (including some sources of shockingly high sodium levels, like prepared meals or frozen foods) and write down how many milligrams of sodium are in each one. You can take pictures of them or bring their packages into your display area for a bonus visual.

When your participants arrive, hold up (or otherwise introduce) the first item and ask people to guess how much sodium is in a serving. How much sodium is in the package? Offer Change It Up Stickers and Change It Up Bookmarks as incentives for participation and/or correct answers and use the Mini Salt Shakers from the Salt Display Kit to illustrate how much sodium is in each food.

After discussing a couple items, ask how people feel about the salt content. Is it roughly what they thought? Surprisingly high? Finish the discussion, then demonstrate how to find sodium content on the Nutrition Facts label by using the Food Label Floor Sticker. How much sodium is in one serving of the sample food? How about in the whole container?

Sodium Math

For the Make a Low-Sodium Shopping List activity, begin by brainstorming typical foods on a shopping list. Then discuss which of those foods are high in sodium. How can people remember to check the label for certain foods, comparing different versions and selecting the option with the lowest sodium? Review a few strategies with the group, exploring the pros and cons of each one.

For the Presentations, grab your laptop and projector and set up either the Salt DVD or the Sodium Education PowerPoint Show. For the latter, introduce the handouts that come with the show first and answer any initial questions people may have. After the presentation, discuss the key points. What was surprising? Why?

And here are a few materials that may come in handy for this month’s display!

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?

The Trials We Face as Educators

It’s time for a little venting session.

My family thinks that I’m obsessive when it comes to food safety. They get upset when I get up from a dinner table and start to put food into the refrigerator and I always hear them say things like, “it’s OK to leave those beans out,” or “this is still hot, let’s let it set out for a while.”

Here are a few examples.

The Family Reunion: For a recent gathering, my cousin made his favorite baked beans recipe. It included sausage, hamburger and hot peppers, and he prepared it the day before and put it in the refrigerator. The day of the reunion, at about 1 p.m. he brought a small slow cooker, overflowing (at the point that the lid didn’t even close) with these cold baked beans and turned it on. We were going to eat at about 3 p.m!

First off, leftovers shouldn’t be re-heated in a slow cooker.

Second, this was way too full.

To make things a bit safer, I took action. When everyone else was outside, I took the baked beans out of the slow cooker and heated them on the stove to 165 degrees F. After that, I washed out the slow cooler and then put the beans back in on low.

Last Thanksgiving: For our celebration last year, we went to a friends’ home with my mother for the holiday weekend. The plan was for them to get the turkey, then I would cook it.  Unfortunately, we arrived Wednesday evening to find the frozen bird in a cooler. Yikes!

As I was looking a little upset about this turkey situation, my mother said “It’s alright, honey.”

It isn’t alright.

Could I save the turkey? My first thought was about the temperature, so I put a thermometer into the cooler. Luckily, my friend had added some ice packs. The temperature was below 40 degrees F, and the turkey was still mostly frozen. I put it into the refrigerator ASAP and no, we didn’t have to cancel Thanksgiving.

At the same Thanksgiving, the daughter-in-law of the host brought homemade pumpkin pie, at room temperature. I heard her say: “I just make it last night, it doesn’t need to be in the fridge.”

In my opinion, there was no saving it. It may have been safe because of the amount of sugar added, but how can you be sure with a homemade custard pie? I whispered to my husband, “don’t eat the pie.”

Maybe I should have been more forceful with the rest of the family. After all my mother was there.  She and our friend are both over 80 years old and more susceptible to foodborne illness. The last thing they need is to get sick.

If this were a class, I’d call it a teachable moment. However, being the educator at a family event can be hard. How do you not be the “Grinch that ruined the special occasion with your family?”

Well, look at the consequences. Diarrhea or barfing all night would definitely spoil a holiday.

I’ve heard other food safety educators talk about this topic. Some don’t eat at their mother-in-law’s. Others won’t go to pot luck dinners.  Many of their spouses also know that “I-wouldn’t-eat-that-if-I-were-you” look.

I just wanted to share with other educators… it’s not just you! 

I’m not sure that I have any good advice on this topic. I guess we just have to keep trying to be good role models and do the best we can to educate, even educating those that are the closest to us.

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

To help you teach about food safety, I’ve also made a new printable food safety handout with lots of tips and “dos and don’ts.” I hope you like it!

Food Safety TipsheetAnd here are some other educator resources that can make your work easier…

Free Nutrition Handout Program

Could you use a few more nutrition education handouts in your repertoire? Are you looking for ways to help your clients learn how to cook healthfully? Would you like to take a fresh look at key health topics? If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above (and honestly, even if you didn’t), then you’ll love this post! Why? Because today we’re announcing the start of a new free nutrition handout program. For absolutely no cost, you can download 10 brand-new handouts and distribute them as you see fit!

The first 5 handouts cover key cooking lessons for healthful meal preparation. Sometimes the hardest thing about making lifestyle changes to improve health can be figuring out where to start. These handouts address that issue by offering fun and accessible ways to prepare healthful meals. The 5 free cooking handouts cover…

  • Brown Rice
  • Easy Grilled Dinner
  • Fresh Pasta Sauce
  • Oatmeal
  • Steamed Vegetables

Each handout divides the preparation process into 3 easy steps and offers a discussion about why these foods are good for health. Free Handout Header Of course, that’s not all! There are 5 other free handouts that you can download in the same program. The first of the remaining nutrition handouts is all about MyPlate. It covers all 5 food groups, as well as the reasons why people can use MyPlate for good health. It even reviews strategies for getting started with MyPlate. This free MyPlate handout is versatile, colorful, and packed with great advice. MyPlate Handout There’s also a free version of our popular 7 Simple Steps handout. This great guide offers 7 ways that people can reduce their calorie intake. Each step is simple and supported by calculations of just how many calories a person would save/burn by following that advice over the course of a year. Last Free Handout   That’s not all! We made a guide to healthful shopping too! This handout has a list of key foods for good health and a balanced diet. Then it takes things to the next level with a list of 10 simple meal ideas. Your clients will love this one! Shopping List Of course, we don’t stop there! Check out this wonderful nutrition handout that’s just for kids! This page simplifies the key messages of MyPlate and uses fun games and word scrambles to make key points. What a great way to make learning fun! Kids NutritionAnd finally, last but certainly not least, is a free diabetes handout. Communicate the key messages of successfully managing diabetes with a single simple handout. This page covers A1C levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, and a guide to living healthfully with diabetes. What’s not to love? Free Diabetes Handout So, 10 great handouts, all for free! What do you say? Get more information or download the handouts today! Plus, there are tons of great handouts in the Nutrition Education Store. Check out these popular options!

MyPlate Handout Tearpad

Scale Down Your Portions Handout

Way to Eat with Diabetes Guide

How Much Fat is in That? Handouts