Presentation Idea: Motivation Kit

Don't Wait -- Motivate!Motivation readily waxes and wanes. It’s both common and normal. We can help our clients by teaching them to nurture their motivation as they pursue their health and fitness goals. Motivation is often at its highest in the beginning of an individual’s weight loss or health management plan. This is the perfect time to create a Motivation Kit.

Have your patients gather the things that remind them of the importance of their efforts. In a box or a notebook, they can collect photos, a list of reasons to lose weight or get healthier, magazine articles, motivational sayings – anything and everything that pumps them up. When they can’t remember why they need to keep up their efforts, it’s time to dig through that Motivation Kit. Showcasing a sample motivation kit and then helping participants build their own would make a great presentation or activity.

Here are Ideas for a Personal Motivation Kit:

  • A magazine article about people in the National Weight Control Registry. You can find a sample in People magazine — look for the issue about losing half your body weight.
  • A list of reasons to lose weight, including better blood glucose control, make family proud, maybe taking less medicine for diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol, etc.
  • Wedding picture
  • Photos of children/grandchildren
  • Progress report including milestones like I can cross my legs, I sleep better, people tell me I look great, exercise is more fun, etc
  • Motivational saying such as “We can do anything we want as long as we stick to it long enough” (Helen Keller)
  • Lab reports

The above is not an actual kit, but a compilation of several. The key is that it must be personalized.

By Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDE

Here is a template you can use: Motivation Kit Template

Looking for more great motivational resources? Check out the Nutrition Education Store!

Lighten Up Your Cooking Poster

Exercise to Lose and Control Weight Presentation

Getting Started Handout and Presentation Set

Safe Cooking Demonstration Tips

While watching cooking shows is usually fun, every once in a while they just make me sick. Recently, in just one 30-minute show, I counted three food safety errors.  

What about your food demonstrations? Do you follow good food safety practices? Your audience might be there to learn how to cook or about a new food or technique… but you are also teaching food safety without even knowing it.

 Things to keep in mind:

  • Wash your hands before you cook. Make it obvious.
  • Watch your clothing and jewelry. Avoid long sleeves, watches, rings, bracelets, and earrings.
  • Avoid bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food and explain why you aren’t touching it.
  • Use separate cutting boards for ready-to-eat and raw foods. Different colors are a plus.
  • Keep foods refrigerated until you’re ready to use them.
  • Follow the two hour rule. Don’t allow folks to eat food that has been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables. Again, make it obvious.
  • Use a food thermometer. Demonstrate how to use it and encourage its use for all foods, not just meats.
  • If you’re serving samples, kept them at the proper temperature and make sure the serving utensils are clean.
  • Don’t lick the beaters.
  • Don’t put the tasting spoon in the food.
  • Don’t lick your fingers.
  • If you’re wearing gloves, use care to keep them clean.  Change the gloves when you change tasks. Wash your hands before you put your gloves on.
  • Don’t talk on your phone while you’re wearing the gloves.
  • Don’t play with your hair.
  • If you’re only partially cooking something due to time, do not allow folks to eat this food before it is thoroughly cooked.

You know the saying “do as I say?”  Well why don’t you make it “do as I do,” too?  People mimic each other and will learn healthful techniques if they see you practicing what you preach.

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

PS: We’re giving away a free guide to organizing your next cooking demonstration. Download your copy today!

Cooking Demo Checklist

That guide is excerpted from the Cooking Demo Ideas book, so if you like what you see, get the whole book today!

The Cooking Demo Book

Want more tools for great cooking demonstrations? Check out the materials at the Nutrition Education Store! More favorites are below…

Home Run Cooking Demonstration Program

Celebrate Your Inner Chef PowerPoint Presentation

Food Safety Poster

Presentation Idea: Make an Artful Display

Cooking Demo ToolsWhen you’re giving a cooking demonstration, the way you present your ingredients can really make a difference in audience engagement. If you have things haphazardly tossed into bowls and plates, or even just zip lock bags, the instructions won’t be as clear and you won’t look as professional as you could.

Gather pretty prep bowls and other items that will make your presentation ingredients look more appealing. Be sure that all your tools and ingredients are ready to go before your class arrives to view the demonstration.

Linda L. Rankin, PhD, RD, LD, FADA, Professor and Assistant Dean at Idaho State University’s Division of Health Sciences and the Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences, uses gorgeous glass containers for her cooking classes. They’re called Prodyne Spice Towers. She told Food and Health, “I bought three and am going to use them in my Healthful Cooking class – 1 for legumes, 1 for rice, and 1 for grains. They will also be great for presentations, TV spots, and individual counseling.”

We loved these towers so much that we even pinned them to our list of favorite kitchen equipment on Pinterest. Check us out at!

For more great ideas for your next cooking demonstration, check out the options below…

Home Run Cooking: Book and Demo Program

Cooking Demonstration Kit

Cooking Demonstration Guide

Nutrition Apron

Presentation Idea: Size with Your Eyes

Here is an interesting link from Lauren Swann, MS, RD, LDN, which we’ve turned into a helpful new resource for you!

Size with Your Eyes:

It seems like the portion size explosion may be beginning to change course, at least according to evidence provided by Restaurant Management magazine. In one of its articles, “A Big Year for Small Portions,” the magazine outlines a few ways that various restaurants are reducing portion size and changing the balance of their plates.

Have participants evaluate this information themselves by crafting a colorful display that compares traditional entrees to lighter fare. Look at pictures of two Applebee’s entrees, for example. How is the Cabernet Mushroom Sirloin (from the Weight Watchers section of the menu) different from the Shrimp ‘N Parmesan Sirloin (from the traditional section of the menu)? By providing opportunities to evaluate actual visual representations of the food and its arrangement on the plate, participants will have more tools to effectively weigh their options when looking at restaurant menus.

There are a few different ways to display this information. Most large restaurant chains have photos of menu items on their websites, so a little research and printing could take care of the whole shebang. You could also draw the proportions of each item and arrange pictures that way. Of course, you could go to the restaurants, order the foods, and take pictures of the actual plates, but that seems a bit expensive and labor-intensive.

Once you have the images you have decided to use, it’s time to pick a presentation style. A side-by-side comparison of heavy food alongside a smaller option can really bring the point home, but another display that features one side filled with traditional entrees and another featuring smaller portions could also be effective. Try them and let us know what works for you!

Need more portion control inspiration? Check out the options below…

Portion Control Handout

Portion Control by the Meal PowerPoint

Scale Down Your Portions Poster (English or Spanish)