Rainbow Chard Poster Story

Rainbow chard is not always the most common vegetable on every table but when you read about what WebMD has to say about it you might make it a weekly staple in your dining room or kitchen.

They offer 9 reasons to eat it and the best one is their summary of its nutritional benefits, “Swiss chard is a nutritional powerhouse — an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C, as well as a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber.”

But we put it in a poster because we loved this image and the way the leaves reached up to the sky with luminous colors and shapes:

This rainbow chard came from a farmer’s market here in the Bay Area. The Huffington Post has the best list of benefits of farmer’s markets we have ever seen. They list 15 of them, which include better flavor and nutrients, better financial support for local farmers, and lower impact on the environment due to lower miles needed to get them to market, on average. I find that the best thing about visiting a farmer’s market is to be more aware of what is in season here locally PLUS it is inspiration for new recipes because you always see something new coming into season.

Here is a photo of one of my local markets and you can see the farmers and the customers are all engaged in the buying and selling process.

The rainbow chard that I photographed on the poster was picked early in the morning and secured into a big loose bunch by the farmer who grew it. The leaves were so beautiful with their bright green colors and deep red veins and stems. There were only a few bunches left so I quickly bought one and then I brought it home to my studio and took many shots to get the composition and exposure just right. It became part of my portfolio for an academic project and it was edited many times to make the cropping and light just right.

Many of the best lessons in nutrition are about colors because the pigments in fruits and vegetables are very beneficial. North Carolina State University has an online project about pigments and they summarize their importance with this note, “They are also important for humans, attracting our attention and providing us with nutrients. Major plant pigments include carotenoids, anthocyanins and other flavonoids, betalains, and chlorophylls.”

To make the poster photo I wanted to add a little more color to the chard to illustrate my message, which is to be brighter every day with good nutrition. This is not a statement but an important fact that is scientifically proven for all ages. Eating more fruits and vegetables was shown to slow down cognitive decline from aging for older individuals. Another study published in the Journal of School Health found that children who had a higher quality diet with enough fruits and vegetables were less likely to fail an academic test.

Judy Doherty, BS, PCII

References:

  1. Swiss Chard 9 Healthy Facts, WebMD, October 2010, Accessed October 2018.
  2. doi:  10.1212/01.wnl.0000240224.38978.d8

  3. Veugelers, Paul, et al, Diet Quality and Academic Performance, Journal of School Health, April 2008,

8 Things We Learned About Sugar

Sugar Math PosterWhen the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) released their recommendations about sugar intake, we thought they made a lot of sense. After all, the World Health Organization has been recommending a 10% calorie limit on added sugars for over a decade. The DGA committee now recognizes that sugar makes up about 30% of daily calories in our country, so changes are needed to cut down on sugary beverages, snacks, and desserts with added sugars. Treat foods and beverages are no longer treats but daily staples, which in turn is a significant cause of obesity when people are not getting enough physical activity and when high-sugar foods are replacing high-fiber foods that can help people feel more satiated.

Yet if you tell people to keep their sugar intake to 10% of their daily calories, this advice doesn’t necessarily have much real-world meaning.

People would have to do a bit of math to figure out how much sugar that that recommendation is allowing for each day. To calculate it, they would first need to land on a daily calorie intake. A 2,000-calorie-per-day eating pattern is pretty typical, so in our example let’s use that as a base number. 10% of 2,000 calories is 200 calories each day. There’s the maximum in an easier format to apply to day-to-day life.

Of course, some people prefer to calculate their sugar needs in grams. To do that, divide the daily total calories from sugar by 4 (calories per gram). For a 2,000-calorie diet, the max is 50 grams.

Just for kicks, let’s set that out in teaspoons too. There are 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon. That means that the daily cap is set at roughly 12 teaspoons of added sugars per day.

I hope those mathematical measurements can help your clients apply the DGA’s sugar recommendations to their daily lives. You can find all these measurements in the Sugar Math poster, which is what started this entire mathematical exercise.

Of course, the importance of sugar math isn’t the only thing we learned as we were putting the poster together. Here are the top 8 lessons that really made us think as we created that resource…

  1. One 12-ounce soda can have about 40 grams of sugar. That’s almost a full day’s supply of added sugar. Kid-sized sodas at most fast food places are 12 ounces — the same amount as that can of soda!
  2. Regular and large sodas at fast food places are usually equivalent to 2 or more cans of soda.
  3. Sweetened iced tea contains a surprising amount of sugar, roughly 22 grams per cup. Most bottles contain a couple cups or more, which in turn makes it easy to consume a day’s supply of sugar in one bottle of iced tea.
  4. Sweet treats are not only high in sugar but they are also high in calories. The average large cookie contains over 400 calories and a day’s supply of added sugars.
  5. Coffee drinks, tea, sodas, snacks, sweetened yogurt, and dessert can easily supply three days or more’s worth of sugar. It all adds up.
  6. A surprise to our team was that a can of soda is equivalent to a serving of candy!
  7. 50 grams can add up quickly, but if we could get to dinner without putting sweetened beverages in our day, then we had a little of our sugar budget left over for a half cup of frozen yogurt. In a typical day, I used the rest of my budget on a cereal bar and jam for a sandwich. Overall, the guideline helped us lower our calories, especially in beverage calories.
  8. It’s a great idea to track what you eat and drink in a day so you can make better choices.

And there you have it! 8 things we learned while putting together the Sugar Math poster. I’m really proud of this poster — it’s a great resource for nutrition and health educators because it lays out key lessons about added sugars in a fun and memorable way.

Want to share these lessons with your clients? From our collection of free printable nutrition education materials comes a new PDF handout all about added sugars!

Free Added Sugars Handout

And here are some other fantastic sugar education resources, straight from the Nutrition Education Store!

New Presentation Tips

I’m so excited because I’ve finally gotten the tools I need to share an amazing new resource with you…

A Sauce Painting Kit!

This kit features the 3 tools that you need to arrange beautiful plates at your next cooking demonstration or presentation. It includes…

  • Stainless steel sauce spoon – This special spoon makes it easy to arrange sauce on a plate.
  • 4 ounce squeeze bottle – Put a sauce that you want drizzled on a plate into this bottle and see how beautiful your presentation will look. Plus, you can wash and reuse the bottle as many times as you want!
  • Silicone pastry brush – The is perfect for brushing thick sauces on a plate so that your food presentation looks like it was done by a professional chef!

Now I want to share a few fun ways that you can use the tools in this kit to create amazing presentations for different dishes. Know that you don’t have to actually buy this kit to make the most of these tips — the kit will just make it easier. Feel free to improvise with resources that you already have!

  1. Add a sauce to an entree plate by drizzling the sauce over the top of your food with the sauce bottle. You can also use the spoon to smear a colorful and flavorful sauce on the plate before adding a protein item, or you could even use the brush to put a highly-flavored sauce on the plate in a beautiful, artistic pattern.
  2. Use the spoon to add a beautiful dessert sauce and then drizzle a design into it.
  3. Use the brush to brush a sauce across the plate before placing food on top of it.
  4. Use the bottle to create dots in the white space around the food you’ve plated.
  5. Use the bottle to drizzle a sauce on top of anything.
  6. Use the spoon to pull a sauce or dressing across the plate before adding your food items.

With this trio of tools, anything is possible! Plus, with this kit, you will be taking your cooking skills and presentations to the next level for you and your family and clients!

And here are a few other resources that would be great for your next cooking demonstration or presentation…

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!

 

Resource Spotlight: Walloons

walloon_tomato_1024x1024

Here are some new educational resources that just happen to be both creative and engaging.

Walloons!

What are walloons, you ask?

They’re wall decals shaped like balloons. You can use them as decorations and teaching tools.

These wall decals come in handy when you want to add a little pizzazz to your walls. They’re great anywhere that you might want to fill in the space between posters, and they are spectacular in cafeterias, exam rooms, classrooms, offices, and more! I created them after I got a request from our dietitian customer Sonya Angelone, MS, RD, who wanted to perk up her children’s school cafeteria. They have been hanging on the walls there ever since. Sonya said the walls looked bare and she wanted to have some fun and positive decals that matched our fruit and vegetable balloons. We had these drawn up by our artist and Sonya fell in love with them so we made a special order of these wall decals for her. We figured everyone else might want some. They are perfect for walls that cannot hang posters or walls that need sprucing up or small places. You can even stick them on bulletin boards. See below for our directions for how you can make your own, too!

walloon_aspargus_1024x1024

There are several varieties of walloons to choose from. Which best match your style?

The What’s on Your Fork? Walloons are the newest additions to the Nutrition Education Store and are perfect for National Nutrition Month. After all, the theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.”

Of course you can also make your own walloons. Draw a balloon with a black magic marker on a large white piece of paper. Copy it on a copy machine. Allow everyone to cut and paste their favorite food photos on the balloons. Then adhere the balloons to the wall using a 3d removable poster tape. This allows them to stick to the wall but keeps them removable, too. Of course you can also have everyone take pictures of their forks for your social media channel. Be sure to use a hashtag that reflects your name so you can post them with ease.

And, in case you missed it, here’s another Nutrition Month resource: the printable handout that comes with the What’s on Your Fork Bulletin Board Banner

whatsonyourforkhandout-copy

And here’s a peek at these walloons from the Nutrition Education Store

Inside Look: What’s On Your Fork?

Have you ever gotten a bit carried away on a new project?

I know I have.

But that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.

In fact, getting carried away on a wave on enthusiasm and creativity often leads to the creation of some of my favorite materials!

Take these fork photo resources, for example.

Forks!

I was experimenting with forks holding different foods and I… well… got carried away. I had just made a new photo studio with strobe lights and all kinds of props. As I played with each one, I saw styrofoam and stuck a fork in it.

The rest is history.

The timing was extra fortuitous for this particular round of inspiration because it turns out that the theme for National Nutrition Month 2017 is “Put Your Best Fork Forward!” These materials — which I have been creating since this summer when I was working on my food photo portfolio — will be perfect for that celebration.

Lettuce

Here’s a collection of the fork lessons in different formats. Which will appeal most to your clients?

Display Resources:

Prizes:

And here’s a closer look at my artist’s statement, which captures why and how I do what I do…

The concept of my work is that I create art with food and then photograph it in an evocative and dramatic manner. I am drawn to working with fruits and vegetables. The first reason is because my business is dedicated to nutrition education and the promotion of foods that are nutrient dense, high in fiber and low in added fat, sugar, and salt (three evils of processed food in the Western world). The second reason is because I love finding fruits and vegetables in farmers’ markets and coming home with them and exploring new and creative ways to photograph them. My experience as a pastry chef leads me to want to arrange my subjects in a very artistic manner and to create salads and many other types of dishes that appear decadent even though they are healthful.

The materials that I use consist of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein foods that are fresh, in season, and available in local markets. I have a variety of props and backdrops as well as a light table. I have a full sensor Nikon D800 camera, strobe lights, and a natural light studio, also known as my dining room, which has a taller table for my shoots.

My process consists of researching and shopping in local food markets to purchase items from local farmers and food producers. I create a scene and shoot it different ways in my studio. This makes my shots more compiled than found and they have a theme for the viewer. They might be based on Mediterranean foods, phytochemicals, food groups, or just one seasonal ingredient like berries. The outcome is an artistic photograph that is inspirational to the viewer. It is a celebration of food as it nourishes the body!

By Judy Doherty, AOS, BS, PC II

As a special treat today, I want to share the printable handout that accompanies the Wise Choices Poster. Take a look!

wisechoicesposterhandout

And here are a few of the fork resources that you can get today!

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!

FaceChallenges

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.

SpecialOccasions

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!

SlowProgress

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

Nutrition Poster Guide

Today I want to try something a little different.

I’d like to offer a tour of a few lessons from some of the top posters in the Nutrition Education Store.

You see, 3 different posters have been extremely popular amongst health and nutrition educators recently, and now I want to draw them to your attention. After all, my job is to help you look your very best right now. So let’s take a look at the 3 top posters in the Nutrition Education Store.

Are you ready for this?

Sugar Math PosterPoster #1 is the new Sugar Math Poster. Its key lesson is to limit added sugars. 

How does it teach this lesson?

Through math problems!

You see, sometimes communicating important nutrition messages is a matter of breaking them down into manageable sections, making the information both accessible and memorable.

This poster manages that with varied representations of just how much added sugar people should limit themselves to each day.

Remember, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise people to “Shift to reduce added sugars consumption to less than 10 percent of calories per day.” That 10% is roughly 200 calories for the average person. That’s equal to 50 grams, which in turn is equal to about 12 teaspoons. The Sugar Math Poster features images of each of these amounts in an approach that’s bound to appeal to a wide range of learning styles.

The poster also highlights key sources of added sugars and spells out how to figure out how much added sugar is in a variety of packaged foods. No wonder it’s one of the most popular posters in the store!

Now let’s move on to the next poster.

Eating Patterns PosterPoster #2 is the Eating Patterns Poster from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans series. Its key lesson is to shift into a healthier eating pattern.

As you can see, this poster focuses on what is and is not included in a healthy eating pattern. With beautiful photos placed in a uniquely eye-catching arrangement, this post rocketed to the top of our list practically as soon as it was released.

So why represent healthy foods visually?

The photos demonstrate that healthy eating doesn’t have to be plain and boring. By making the foods that people need to consume look their very best, the photos in this poster add appeal to the eating pattern they’re illustrating. Plus, they provide a pop of color that would be welcome in any office, cafeteria, or display.

How would you use this poster in your life?

MyPlate PosterFinally, poster #3 is a classic — our very first MyPlate Poster. It teaches a fun way to balance your plate at each meal.

Ever since the USDA released MyPlate in 2011, it has been a popular tool to help educators teach their audiences about proper portions and proportions. As you know, My Plate offers a way to visualize a healthy and balanced plate at each meal, with half the plate filled with fruits and vegetables, grains taking up another quarter, and the remaining quarter of the plate filled with protein foods. A side of dairy rounds out the plate and completes the look.

Each food group has its own lessons and tips, and they all come together to create a healthy eating experience. This poster highlights the most important aspects of MyPlate, illustrating each food group and drawing attention to the key lessons associated with each section of the plate. Its as memorable as it is engaging, and the My Plate poster has been getting rave reviews since we first brought it to the store.

As an added bonus, I’d like to offer you an exclusive look at the handout that accompanies this MyPlate poster. Normally you could only get it if you bought the poster, but I want to make an exception today, so get your free copy of this handout now!

MyPlate Poster Handout

And finally, here are some more of the materials that are at the top of the Nutrition Education Store right now!

12 Lessons of Diabetes Kit

My Plate Handout Tearpad

Cooking Demonstration Kit: Set of 10 Cooking Demo Tools

 

Display of the Month: Portion Control

Portion Control Table
The Nutrition Education Store Display of the Month fun continues this month with a spotlight on portion control!

Portion control is vital, and so many of my health educator friends say that it is near and dear to their hearts. Proper portion control can have far-reaching health effects, but it’s tougher than it appears at first glance. With all the oversized portions crowding coffee shop displays and restaurant plates, how are people even supposed to know what a healthful portion looks like?

That’s where a Portion Control Display comes in.

I’ve studied and studied the resources at my disposal, and I think the following plan would make a great portion control display for your next event…

The Materials:

The Activities:

  • Walk everyone through some meal and snack transformations.
  • Strategize about ways to scale down portions.

Portion Control TableLet’s talk details!

Set up your display area with a table. Top it with a tablecloth if you have one. Put the easel on the table, then place the Scale Down Your Portions poster on top of the easel and make sure that it’s easy to see. Place the Take Control of Your Portions banner on its stand in a highly-visible spot next to your table. Fan out a few Portion Control brochures near the front of your table, where they’ll be easier to grab. At another free area in the front of your table, arrange some MyPlate Temporary Tattoos and some Salad Temporary Tattoos. These will serve as prizes for the activities.

And speaking of activities, here’s what you’ll need to do.

For the meal transformation section, use a bit of blue painter’s tape and some plain white paper to cover the “made over” meals on the Take Control of Your Portions banner. Review the number of calories in the large value meal featured on the poster. Is this a healthful meal? Why or why not? Ask volunteers to brainstorm ways to “make over” the meal to make it more balanced and less calorically-dense. Offer temporary tattoos to anyone who shares a good answer. Remove the painter’s tape and paper from the “made over” meal on the banner. How does this one differ from the first meal? How can it be replicated in real life? Repeat the process with the chip and muffin images on the banner.

The second activity is more free form.

Have some volunteers share a few foods with which they have trouble controlling portions. Brainstorm as a group — what’s a good way to bring the portions back under control? You can also share strategies from some of the many portion control blog posts we’ve written over the years — here are a few of the current favorites…

And there you have it! Another fun display idea for the the Nutrition Education Store Display of the Month series.

And here are a few more display resources from the Nutrition Education Store. Which ones will make your life easier?

Display Kit: Color Your World with Food Display Kit: Take 10K Steps Each Day

Display Kit: Make Your Salad a Rainbow

PS Here’s a free PDF handout (from the blog post 3 Ways to Improve Portion Control) that you can also use in your display…

New Portion Control Ideas

Display of the Month: Sugar

Set Up Your Display!Let’s start a new tradition, shall we?

Today I want to usher in a brand-new series — the Nutrition Education Store Display of the Month! Each month, we’ll take a look at a new way to display the most important information about a key topic. And, we’ll do it in a way that will engage your clients and make your lessons memorable. What do you think? Are you intrigued?

For the first display, I want to focus on sugar. Here’s what I think will come together to make the best option…

The Materials:

The Activities:

  • Guess how many lollipops would go into a large soda from a fast food chain.
  • Discuss the impact of added sugars on health.

Let’s talk details!

Set up your display area with a table. For an extra aesthetic bonus, cover your table with a plain white tablecloth. Put any chairs you might need behind the table (this comes in handy if you’re manning a booth at a wellness fair — it’s less necessary for a single presentation). On the table, arrange the sugar test tubes wherever you see fit. Add a cardboard easel to hold up a poster for easy viewing, then place the Are You Drinking Candy? poster on top of that easel. Find a spot for the prizes you’ll be handing out — in this case bookmarks and stickers that encourage water consumption over sugary drinks. For the last part of the tablescape, grab a large empty cup from a fast food chain of your choosing and keep it within easy reach. You may also want to have a handful or two of small lollipops. Next to your table, place the Beverage banner on its stand in a place that’s easy for all your participants to see.

Once you’re all set up, you can proceed to the activities.

For the first activity, hold up the large soda container. Ask people to guess how many teaspoons of sugar go into a sugary drink that would fit in this container. Since most lollipops also contain a teaspoon of sugar, you can ask your participants to guess how many lollipops would equal the amount of sugar in one large soda instead. Poll the group, then reveal the answer: on average, a large soda from a fast food chain contains 51 grams of sugar. That’s 12 and 3/4 teaspoons of sugar! (Or, if you’re using lollipops, that’s 12 and 3/4’s lollipops worth of sugar). Hand out prizes to the people whose guesses were closest to that total.

For the second activity, it’s time to talk about the impact of added sugars on health. Introduce information from MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, explaining why moderation is so important when it comes to added sugars. It may also be useful to bring in some of these additional resources…

Additional Resources:

Here are a few blog posts with great handouts, charts, and information about sugar.

And there you have it! The first-ever display of the month! What do you think?

Oh, and here’s a closer look at a few of the resources we highlighted in today’s post. Remember, at the Nutrition Education Store, we’re here to help you look your very best, right now!

Sugar Test Tubes

Handout: Are You Drinking Candy?

Water Bookmarks

PS: Here’s a free PDF handout that you can also incorporate into your display!

Sugar Reduction Handout