Splash Into a Healthy Summer

After a challenging spring, everyone is ready for summer break. While we continue to live with the pandemic, summer can still mean the start of something new and fresh and healthy.

Whether you work with children or adults, here are some ways they can splash into a summer of healthy eating:

Fresh Herbs: Plant a few of your favorite herbs to use in summer salads and salsas. Or buy fresh herbs at the farmer’s market. For more on herbs:

Knife Skills: Practice your knife skills by cutting up summer fruits and veggies. Make it fancy or keep it simple. Even kids can be taught to use a knife safely. Chopping tips:

Plan It: Meal planning keeps healthy eating on track all summer long. Plan for a week or plan for a day … whatever works for you! Tools to use:

Cook Together: Make meal prep a group effort by giving everyone a job … even if it’s a little messy.

Buy Something New: Buy yourself something a new kitchen gadget to use with summertime fruits and veggies. Maybe a salad spinner, a special container for fresh produce, or a new vegetable brush.

Try something new:

  • Outside: Grill salmon, pizza, or a head of romaine lettuce.
  • Inside: Try salad in a jar. And make your own salad dressing.

Summer with MyPlate: Check out MyPlate Summer Resources, including this cute idea for a “mad-libs” type of activity.

 

Snapshots of the American Diet

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has held five public meetings over the past year. At each meeting, subcommittees present updates on their research. (You can get all the details here.)

A subcommittee called the Data Analysis and Food Pattern Modeling Cross-Cutting Working Group has presented some interesting snapshots of the American diet. Although the Advisory Committee’s report isn’t ready yet, this information can help you come up with relevant topics for nutrition and health education. Here are two examples:

Snacking:

  • Most Americans snack — in fact, 93% of us do, usually 2-3 times/day.
  • Snacks provide 22-23% of our total calories.
  • Late-night snacking often involves added sugars, sodium, and saturated fats.
  • Every eating occasion is a chance to make nutrient-dense food choices. Shifts in childhood and adulthood snacks could help people meet food group and nutrient recommendations.
  • Teaching ideas:
    • Fruits and vegetables make great snacks. They’re unprocessed and lower in calories, added sugar, sodium, and fat. For tips, check out our Snack Smart poster and color handout download.
    • Portion control can make snacks healthier. Look at 100 calorie snack portions and plan to keep some on hand for easy access. See our 100 Calorie Snacks handout download.
    • Consider snacks as mini-meals, not treats. MyPlate can help people visualize this.

Burgers & sandwiches: This food category causes many Americans problems. Here’s how —

  • Most Americans eat too many calories from solid fats.
    • The main sources of solid fats include burgers & sandwiches and desserts & sweet snacks.
  • Most Americans consume too much sodium.
    • The category of burgers and sandwiches is the largest contributor to sodium intake.
  • Teaching ideas: We obviously need to help people choose alternatives to high-fat burgers and sandwiches!
    • Salad is the first thing that comes to mind:
    • Encourage folks to plan their meals, make a shopping list, and eat more meals at home. Our Menu Planning tools are a great place to start.
    • Sandwiches don’t have to be high in fat and sodium. Show clients how to build a healthier sandwich with lean meats and lots of veggies.

If you’ve signed up to get updates about the 2020 Dietary Guidelines, you should have received an email letting you know that the fifth meeting of the Advisory Committee has taken place and you have until June 1, 2020 to submit comments (revised on April 9, 2020).

NOTE:

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s schedule has been extended by one month, in consideration of new demands on Committee members’ schedules due to COVID-19. USDA and HHS continue to plan for the release of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans by the end of the year.

To stay connected and receive updates as the Committee’s work progresses, please check DietaryGuidelines.gov.

Have You Seen Our Salad Mandala?!

Have you seen our Salad Mandalas? Yes, you read that right – but you have to see it to believe it, so take a look at the bottom of this page and then read on!

We know you’ll love these beautiful works of art as much as we do! Eye-catching and discussion-generating, they will brighten up any area and remind people to eat their fruits and vegetables every day.

Not sure what to do with our Salad Mandalas? Whether you choose the floor or wall decal, they’ll stick to most clean, smooth surfaces and are removable. Here are some ideas on where to put them:

  • In a hospital… A Salad Mandala on the floor or wall is the perfect way to identify dietitians’ offices, the nutrition department, kitchen, or cafeteria – wherever you want people to know that healthy eating is a priority here!
  • In a nursing home… Hang one up the dining area or other common room where residents and visitors can enjoy the beautiful colors.
  • In a school… Students and staff will get a kick out of seeing Salad Mandalas on the wall or floor of the cafeteria or gym, the nurse’s office, food service director’s office, health classrooms, and hallways.
  • In a fitness center… Brighten up the locker rooms or aerobics studio.
  • In a doctor’s office… Patients will appreciate having something unique to look at while they wait, making the Salad Mandala a good choice for exam rooms.
  • In a library… Use one as part of a display for nutrition month in March, salad month in May, or farmer’s market week in August, along with selected cookbooks or children’s books that feature fruits and veggies.
  • At a health fair… Attract a crowd with the Salad Mandala decal – on the floor in front of your booth or on the wall behind it.
  • In a vending machine area… Remind everyone about the healthiest snacks of all!

And here are some activities to go with our Salad Mandala decals:

  • Preschool/early elementary class… Use the Salad Mandala to teach colors, practice counting, or learn the names of fruits and vegetables. Have a special Salad Mandala Snack – everyone can make their own mandala on a paper plate with cut up fruits and veggies.
  • Caught eating healthy… Put the Salad Mandala on a wall in the school cafeteria. Ask parent volunteers to come in during lunchtime once a week to snap pictures of kids who are eating a fruit or vegetable that day. Then post the pictures around the mandala. Watch the circle grow bigger every week!
  • Salad day selfies… Let adults in on the fun in your workplace or hospital cafeteria! Build a salad from the salad bar, then take a selfie in front of the Salad Mandala decal and post it to your social media page.
  • Salad Mandala search… Put the mandala in a different classroom, hallway, office, or other location every week to generate interest.

Be sure to let us know what YOU do with our Salad Mandala decals!

 

Fall in Love with Salad

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?

Summer Salad Coloring Page

It’s time for another fun and relaxing coloring page. This one highlights the joys of salad!

What do you think?

Our artist has also made a simpler one for kids…

These pages are perfect icebreakers! They’re also great as activities people can do while they’re waiting for class to start or if they’ve finished an assignment ahead of a group. They’re also fun prizes and take-home activities! How will these coloring sheets make your life easier?

Here are the printable PDFs!

Boost Spring Fruit and Vegetable Consumption with Greens!

Recently I presented my spring portfolio to my photography class, and it got me thinking about helping your audience eat more spring fruits and vegetables.

After all, what could be more enticing than spring produce?

Here’s the artist statement that I submitted for my photos.

Spring beckons flora to burst forth from the earth. In the context of California farmers’ markets, spring brings new and bright greens, fresh young tubers, and juicy citrus fruits.

This photography exhibition celebrates the unique season that transitions us from winter to summer. The produce you see in the photos comes from local farmers who sell in community markets, and the pictures are designed to inspire people to choose locally-grown fruits and vegetables.

In the farmers’ markets, farmers become entrepreneurs while buyers gain access to fresh and nutritious foods — a community comes together. Accompanying the artistic representation of spring’s seasonal produce is a tribute to the farmers who grew it.

The offerings of a farmers’ market change each week and month as the seasons ebb and flow. This is but a moment in time during one season’s passage, and I hope you enjoy the beauty of spring.

And here’s a collection of engaging images of tasty spring foods.

These images would be fantastic in a display or email blast, or even as decoration for a spring vegetable cooking demonstration.

And speaking of cooking, to help inspire your audience to eat more spring produce, I’d like to share this recipe for a bright kale salad. This is a great way to present spring to your clients and help them focus on fresh and tender greens.

Kale is the Star Salad
Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch lacinato kale
  • 6 cups raw baby kale
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup shredded radishes
  • 1 cup diced apples
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons light poppy seed dressing

Directions:

  1. Remove the stems from the lacinato kale and rinse well. Place the undried lacinato kale in a covered container and steam lightly in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. The color will intensify and the leaves will be crisp tender.
  2. Place the lacinato leaves on the plate as pictured.
  3. Toss the baby kale with the olive oil and lemon juice. Put it on a plate and top with the radishes and apples.
  4. Drizzle a thin ribbon of poppy seed dressing over the greens and add the black sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information:

  • Serves 4. Each serving contains 157 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 213 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 5 g dietary fiber, 9 g sugar, and 6 g protein.
  • Each serving has 464% DV vitamin A, 320% DV vitamin C, 23% DV calcium, and 16% DV iron.

Did You Know?

  • Kale is high in many different nutrients. It has tons of antioxidants, which protect your cells from free radical damage.
  • One cup of chopped kale has more vitamin C than an orange. A single serving of this salad has 320% of your daily value of vitamin C.
  • Kale plants don’t die after the first frost — they get sweeter! Kale is one of the heartiest leafy greens around and is grown all over the world.
  • Kale is a good source of fiber, manganese, and copper, all of which are key to good health!

And here’s a PDF copy of the recipe handout that you can use however you’d like!

Sneak Peek from the Member Site: Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Today I want to share one of my favorite articles from the member-exclusive October edition of the Communicating Food for Health Newsletter.

In this handout, Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD and Lisa Andrews, RD team up to offer fun ways to help your clients improve their eating patterns and eat more fruits and vegetables. Check it out!

Are you in a fruit and vegetable slump? It’s easy to get stuck eating the same things over and over. Green salad, tomatoes, carrots. Apples, bananas, grapes. Sound familiar? It may be time to mix things up!

Make your own salad bar. Buy at least two kinds of salad greens (baby spinach and romaine, for example) and an assortment of other raw veggies. If time is an issue, go with pre-washed, pre-cut items. Every night at dinner, bring out the assortment of greens and veggies and let everyone make their own salad.

Roast and grill. The pickiest of eaters become veggie-lovers when they try something like oven-roasted Brussels sprouts or grilled fresh asparagus. Roasting and grilling bring out flavors and textures that raw or steamed vegetables just don’t offer.

Embrace the exotic. While we usually recommend that you buy local produce that’s in season, there’s a world of produce out there (like cardoon!). Trying something more exotic once in awhile won’t hurt. Ask the produce manager where you shop to point you toward unique items. Stop by ethnic grocery stores to see what they offer. Where I live, there’s a huge grocery store that carries an endless array of fruits and vegetables from all over the world. Take a short “field trip” and bring home something new to try.

Find fancier frozen veggies. If your freezer is full of peas, carrots, and corn, branch out to other vegetables! Again, this is where an ethnic grocery store comes in handy. They might have things you don’t usually serve. Some specialty stores, like Trader Joe’s, have items like frozen grilled cauliflower. Give these new tastes a try!

Get out of your fruit and veggie slump today by trying something new!

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

BONUS: Kids in a Slump? Getting Your Kids to Eat More Fruits & Veggies

We asked Lisa Andrews, a registered dietitian and mother of two, how she gets kids to eat more produce. Here are a few of her tips:

1. Take your kids when you buy food. While most parents cringe at the idea, it’s important for kids to know where their food comes from. Take them to farmer’s markets and have them help select beans, tomatoes, corn, peaches and other seasonal fruits and vegetables. They may be more likely to try it if they picked it themselves.

2. Invite your kids to help you cook. Kids can clean and snap beans or rinse fruit to be served. This may help them become more confident in the kitchen and more likely to eat food they have prepared themselves.

3. Don’t force food. Encourage your child to try one bite to see if he/she likes it. Don’t reward with treats as it may set up emotional eating later, or your child may feel obligated to eat the new food just to get to dessert.

You can find more from Lisa at www.SoundBitesNutrition.com. Look for her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/soundbitesnutritionllc) and Twitter (@nutrigirl).

Here’s a free PDF handout of this article that you can use however you’d like!

fruitvegetable

There are lots of great materials that would work in tandem with this article. For example, check out this Rainbow Salad Health Fair Display Kit — it’s a perfect way to capitalize on this lesson and get your clients to make healthful choices!

Here are a few items from that kit…

Nutrition Posters for the Workplace

My team and I have created tons of posters over the years, and some of my very favorite ones teach lessons that are important to showcase in the workplace.

We have posters that are designed to bring “better numbers like blood pressure, cholesterol, and BMI” or to motivate in a fun way like the food art posters. There are also ones that teach great nutrition lessons and promote positive reinforcement and education.

Let’s take a tour through some of the best options, shall we?

Top Heart Posters:

Top BMI Poster:

Best Nutrition Lessons:

Favorite Motivational Posters:

And of course there is our entire collection of over 150 posters. Which ones will best brighten up your workspace?

And, as a special bonus because I love ya, here’s a free copy of the printable PDF handout that accompanies the Fabulous Fruits and Vegetables poster.

fruitsandvegetablesposter

Make Your Salad a Rainbow!

Did you know that four final rules for implementing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) were just announced?

In a nutshell, the USDA finalized its rules for nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools, including breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

According to a press release sent out by the USDA, “As a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to raise a healthier generation, the rules will ensure that children have access to healthy snacks and that nutrition standards for the foods marketed and served in schools are consistent. The rules will also promote integrity across the school meals programs.”

Want to help communicate the key nutrition lessons that are central to these new rules?

Check out this fantastic new salad bar sign!

After all, making healthful food available is only half the battle. We need to make it appealing to kids too.

 

This new salad bar sign is a better design and at a lower price than the previous version, and the video above offers some great inspiration on how to use it.

And that’s just the beginning. Here are some other “eat from the rainbow” resources that can help make healthful foods appealing to kids of all ages…

And here’s a free printable handout about eating a variety of healthful foods…

Rainbow Salad Handout

Fill Your Plate with Color!

As a special treat today, I’d like to share the handout that is usually only available to people who’ve already bought the Rainbow Salad Floor Sticker! This handout is perfect for email blasts, displays, wellness fairs, and more! How will you use your copy?

Strategies for Adding Color to Your Meals:

Make colorful fruits and vegetables part of every meal! If you do, you’ll get more nutrients, feel fuller for a longer period of time, and give your body the things it needs to stay healthy!

MyPlate asserts that people should fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables at each meal. That’s a tall order, but if you start by adding a salad to each meal and snack on fruits and vegetables instead of chips and crackers, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy eating pattern!

Variety is key too. Don’t just eat broccoli at every meal, every day! Mix things up by choosing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Make your plate as colorful as you can, choosing a variety of foods at each meal.

Health Benefits of Colorful Meals :

When you make your plate colorful, you wind up eating lots of different fruits and vegetables, and that’s great for your health!

MyPlate asserts, “Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.”

That same eating plan may help protect against certain types of cancers.

Plus, fruits and vegetables are loaded with fiber! According to MyPlate, a diet rich in fiber “may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.”

How will you fill your plate in order to maximize these benefits?

Here’s a printable copy of the handout that you can use however you’d like!

Rainbow Salad Floor Sticker Handout

And here are other great rainbow salad resources…