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

Finding Success on the Path to Wellness

Have I mentioned that I just updated all of our comprehensive wellness programs?

Because I have, and I’m really proud of what my team and I have created. The latest updates include information from the 2015-2020 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, along with a streamlined presentation platform and general improvements that will make these resources more fun for your audience.

So to celebrate that excitement, I’m sharing some slides from one of the most popular programs, The 12 Lessons of Wellness. Today’s preview comes from the show Getting Started, and the slides I’ve chosen offer advice for staying motivated and sidestepping pitfalls on the path to good health.

Let’s take a closer look!


As you embark on any path to wellness, you’ll eventually encounter a few stumbling blocks. That’s totally normal! If you plan ahead, it will be easier to overcome those obstacles and continue on your road to success.

Make sure to have a plan B for when the going gets a bit tougher. Fill your freezer with healthy meals. Prep healthy snacks and store them in the fridge or pantry. Keep some in the car in case an on-the-go craving strikes. Speaking of putting things in the car, toss a few exercise clothes in the trunk so that you’re always prepared for a workout. This will help you avoid skipping workouts because you didn’t plan ahead, and it will also ensure that you are prepared if an unexpected exercise opportunity pops up.

Remember that reaching and maintain a healthy weight is your lifetime plan. When you feel discouraged, focus on your successes and review your reasons for wanting to lose weight in the first place.


Now let’s delve into some detail. How can you stay motivated during special occasions?

One tip is to eat before the party so that you aren’t starving when you face down a festive and lavish spread. While you’re there, focus on the conversation. If you do want to indulge a bit, keep things small, exercise the next day, and eat lighter for the rest of the day or the day after.

At these parties, you may encounter a weight loss saboteur or two. Avoid people who don’t support your efforts and instead find people who share your goals. Who knows? This may be a great opportunity to get a workout buddy!


Let’s move on to another challenge. What happens when you hit a period of slow/no progress?

To start, have patience with yourself. Some days are easier than others. Revisit your goals and make sure that they’re realistic. You can always talk with your dietitian or doctor about your frustration too — they’ll have lots of great ideas for you.

RewardWhen it comes to keeping your motivation through health and fitness challenges, sometimes a reward is just the boost you need. Establish what your reward will be ahead of time, and remember, the reward shouldn’t be food!

It’s often helpful to set up rewards for milestones, not just the final goal. Plan a few rewards that you can earn along your path to fitness and weight loss — don’t just save one big reward for the end!

The show goes on in much more detail, but that’s where I’d like to stop the sample for today.

If you like what you see, consider exploring the 12 Lessons of Wellness and Weight Loss program. It’s one of the most comprehensive and effective programs for employee weight loss that my team and I have created, and it has been hugely popular.

And, as a special bonus, here are the free printable PDFs of the slides we previewed today!

Getting Started Sample Slides

And here are some of the top-selling weight loss resources from the Nutrition Education Store!

7 Simple Ways to Save Calories

Reward Chart Handout

Feel Full with Fewer Calories PowerPoint and Handout Set

Inside Look: Fabulous Fruits and Veggies

Fabulous Fruits and VeggiesYou already know that September is Fruits and Veggies More Matters Month, but have you seen our new fruit and vegetable poster?

This is one of my favorites yet, and it offers a great way to promote healthful eating patterns. Fabulous Fruits and Veggies is perfect for offices, health fair displays, cooking demonstrations, cafeterias, schools, and more!

So how did this one come to be?

Here’s a sneak peek…

After seeing all the gorgeous fruits and vegetables at the Davis farmers’ markets, I knew that I had to feature their magnificent colors and textures in a new poster. I wanted to highlight the brightness and freshness of fruits and veggies, but I wasn’t quite sure how to start.

The answer lay in a collage.

I combined images of various fruits and vegetables, arranging them into bright patterns and stripes. And that’s when it hit me — fruits and veggies can take you up, up, and away! What better way to highlight that health and energy boost than with the colorful hot air balloons that so often dot the skies by my house.

I worked with my team of artists to create a picture of people setting off on hot air balloon adventures, adjusting and tweaking the picture until I got it just right.

Fabulous Fruits and Vegetables HandoutBut what to call the poster?

That’s where my editorial team came in. We did a few rounds of brainstorming, exploring titles like “Fuel Your Adventures with Fruits and Vegetables,” “Fruit and Vegetable Explorations,” and “Get and Fruit and Vegetable Boost,” but ultimately, we decided to keep it simple with “Fabulous Fruits and Veggies.”

And here comes the best part.

The handout.

My team and I decided that we wanted the free handout that accompanies this poster to feature lots of fun ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into a healthy eating pattern. Pretty great timing for Fruits and Veggies More Matters Month, huh? The best part is that you can get this handout, today! Simply click on the picture of the handout above and you can download your very own PDF copy, for free. Hooray!

And of course, if you like what you see, consider getting a print of this wonderful poster. It’s as engaging as it is versatile, and is sure to brighten up any space!

There are lots of great new resources in the Nutrition Education Store these days! Which one will make your life easier?

Fruit and Veggie Pens

Diabetes 101 Presentation

Exercise Poster

We’re here to help you look your very best, right now.


Perspective on Portions and Budgets


I grew up with a grandmother who knew how to pinch pennies. She bought dented cans, washed aluminum foil and cut the ends off toothpaste tubes to get the last little bit. So as my husband says, “I come by it naturally”. I’m always looking for ways to save money.

But sometimes I forget that there are different ways to look at things. We as teachers need to remember to look at our students’ perspective, especially when talking about food.

I was reminded of this by a good friend. We were recently at her house and she had small 100-calorie packs of nuts. I was surprised at the idea that she would buy these items. Not that nuts wouldn’t be a good snack, but the thought of the cost and the excess packaging made me question her decision making.

She probably saw the puzzled look on my face and quickly explained why she bought them. She said she knew they were expensive but she liked their convenience for a quick pick-me-up snack when she works late. The other thing that she likes about these prepackaged snacks is that she doesn’t have to spend extra time in the kitchen. She admits she doesn’t like to cook and says any extra time spent in the kitchen encourages her to overeat. She also commented that she’s been on weight control programs in the past that had her measuring and packaging food. She hated this, saying that being around food this much caused her to think about food and want to eat more. She says she does better if she’s just not in the kitchen.

For some this really does make sense.

Another perspective. Maybe you don’t want to have those big bags of chips hanging around. Small bags of snacks force portion control and don’t tempt over eating. I don’t know if I could re-package some foods without eating about 300 calories in the process. If you just want chips as a snack now and again, small bags are more practical and you save money by not throwing away stale chips that don’t get eaten. This is especially critical with children and teens who tend to want to open a new bag before finishing the old bag!

When teaching wellness courses I’ve been guilty of encouraging students to make their own 100-calorie packs. Part the reasoning here is to have healthy ready-to go snacks available, but also (at least in my mind) to save a little money over purchased packaged snacks or vending machine snacks. But, the next time I teach the class, I may add a little more discussion and a different perspective on this do-it-yourself concept. The process of making these bags drives home the reality of the portion size with these foods.

Speaking of money. I did some quick calculations on the nuts. You get seven .63 ounces packets of dry roasted nuts for $2.68. That makes each of the little packets about .40 cents each. Calculated out, the price comes to about $9.50 a pound. Not as bad as I though it would be compared to $9 a pound for bulk almonds. But there’s more to this picture than just little packets of nuts.

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

Surrender to the ice cream temptation

Summer time and the living isn’t always easy.  Hot weather seems to cry out “time to stop at the ice cream shop.”  Ice cream is a great treat, but it can also be a dilemma for those that are mindful about a healthful diet.

The number of calories in that ice cream treat can vary widely and range from about 100 calories to over  500 depending on portion size and what goes in and on your ice cream.

Here are 10 ways to make trade-offs that keep you in the fun without the guilt or blowing your calorie or fat budgets:

  1. Pick a cake cone instead of a waffle cone (this could save you about 100 calories). Have your ice cream in a cup and avoid the cone all together.
  2. Go for a child’s size, one scoop or a small cone instead of a “regular”  which is frequently 2 or more large scoops.
  3. Watch the flavors you pick. Plain flavors such as vanilla and strawberry usually have less calories than the fancier choices.
  4. Limit the add-ins. Obviously those with added chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, cookie crumbs and candies have more calories.
  5. Select ices or sherbets instead of ice cream.  These usually have less or no fat. Greek yogurt bars are pre-portioned and a great treat, too.
  6. Look for light, reduced fat or fat-free  ice cream, since they generally have less fat (and calories) than regular ice cream.
  7. Many soft-serv cones are lower in fat and calories than the hand-dipped ice cream varieties.
  8. Don’t assume that a frozen yogurt is more healthful or contains less fat or calories—be a good consumer and read labels or ask for nutritional information.
  9. Instead of going out, make ice cream or sorbet at home.  It is a fun family project if you have an ice cream maker. Plus you won’t be tempted to keep gallons on hand. Consider that a gallon of ice cream can be over 5000 calories! Peach Berry Crush Frozen Fruit Pop Cups
  10. How about substituting frozen fruit instead?  I posted about the Yonanna machine  a while back that takes frozen fruit and turns it into an ice cream-like product.

It isn’t always easy when the gang is screaming for ice cream.  As we all know healthful eating is a matter of moderation.   I have a friend who says that once or twice a summer she goes out and  gets a super cone with all the frills, but it’s not a daily or weekly practice.

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