Heart Healthy Cooking Demos Made Easy

The recently released 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease recommends a healthy plant-based or Mediterranean-like diet high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, lean vegetable or animal protein (preferably fish), and vegetable fiber. Sound familiar?

No matter how much people know about heart-healthy eating, the hard part is putting it into practice. Show them how to remake their favorite dishes with a heart-healthy cooking demo.

Why cooking demos? Because we think there’s no better way to get the message across than with food. Show people how to cook, let them taste healthy food, and they’re more likely to try it at home.

Cooking demos are great for:

  • Employee lunch-and-learns
  • Community classes
  • Parent nights at school
  • Health fairs
  • Home school groups
  • Women’s shelters
  • Food pantries
  • Afterschool programs
  • Drug/alcohol rehab
  • Church groups
  • Senior centers

Cooking in front of a crowd may sound daunting, but our Cooking Demo Book and CD Kit will make you look like a Food Network Star. The 300+ page book contains more than 30 lessons plus PowerPoint shows on Recipe Modification and Menu Planning & Shopping Tips.

Each lesson includes:

  • Leader guide
  • Recipes (tested and simple, with easy-to-find, affordable ingredients)
  • Make-ahead & presentation tips
  • Shopping & equipment lists
  • Handouts

For heart-healthy eating, we suggest the lessons on:

  • High fiber
  • Fish
  • Fruits & veggies
  • Hypertension
  • Vegetarian cooking
  • Beans
  • Grains
  • Recipe modification
  • Heart healthy recipes
  • Meet MyPlate

For makeovers, it is always great to show these switches, featured in all of our cooking demo kits:

  • Whole milk to skim milk
  • Butter to olive oil
  • A little grated Parmesan cheese instead of a lot of grated regular cheese like mozzarella or cheddar
  • Adding more veggies for most recipes
  • Lean ground beef or turkey instead of regular ground beef
  • Using more beans instead of meat

You’ll also want to check out our MyPlate Cooking Demo Book & CD, Home Run Cooking Book and Demo Program, and Cooking Demo Toolkit.

Get 15% off all heart health education materials now through the end of March 2019!

Make the Most of Biometric Screenings

It seems like lots of companies do biometric screenings for their employees these days. It’s a great way to give people a snapshot of their health. But knowing those numbers doesn’t help if they don’t understand what they mean. We have two handouts that can help – the Biometrics Screening Tool Handout Tearpad and the Printable Biometrics Form PDF.

On one side of these handouts, there’s space to record BMI, waist circumference, hemoglobin A1C, blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol (including total, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides). On the other side, there’s a glossary with easy-to-understand descriptions of each measurement.

Individual instructions or goals can be written in the space on the bottom left of side one. If you use the printable PDF form, you can add a logo or message before printing.

Here are 10 ideas for lessons and messages to use with the Biometrics Screening handouts:

  1. A biometric screening provides a snapshot of your health. These numbers tell where you’re doing well and areas that need attention.
  2. Manage these numbers by being more active, eating more lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, and eating less high fat, high sugar processed foods.
  3. If you’re missing any measurements, take the handout to your doctor and ask to have blood tests or other measurements done.
  4. Calculate your BMI using the formula on the handout, or search online for “BMI calculator” and plug in your height and weight. If your BMI falls in the overweight or obesity categories, losing even a relatively small amount of weight can improve your health.
  5. Waist circumference can tell you a lot, but many physicians don’t take this measurement. Use the instructions on this handout to measure your own waist circumference (or ask someone to help you). If it’s 40+ inches (for men) or 35+ inches (for for women), your risk of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure increases.
  6. Hemoglobin A1C measures your blood glucose (or blood sugar) over the past few months. Normal is less than 5.7%; prediabetes is 5.7% to 6.4%; and diabetes is 6.5% or higher. The higher the number, the greater your risk of diabetes-related complications.
  7. Blood glucose (or blood sugar) is sometimes measured after you’ve fasted. Normal is less than 100; prediabetes is 100-125; and diabetes is 126 or higher. If you haven’t fasted, a blood glucose of 200 or more indicates diabetes.
  8. Blood pressure measurements are given as two numbers (top is systolic, bottom is diastolic). Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. If your blood pressure is above normal, check the categories on the handout to see where you fall.
  9. Cholesterol isn’t just one number! Keep track of your “good” cholesterol (HDL) and “bad” cholesterol (LDL), as well as triglycerides, which are a type of fat found in the blood.
  10. When your biometrics are out of the normal range, your risk increases for diseases like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Knowing your numbers gives you something to track besides just a number on the scale.

Display our Measuring Your Biometrics poster or banner at health fairs and screenings. People can compare their biometric results to normal or optimal numbers based on recommendations from the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Back to basics with the Food Diary Tearpad

Keeping a food diary is a great way for clients to become aware of what, when, and how much they eat. There are plenty of apps for online tracking, but sometimes technology makes this simple task too complicated. Get back to the basics with our Food Diary Tearpad!

The Food Diary Tearpad is user-friendly and self-explanatory, making it perfect for health fairs or classes where you’re unable to provide in-depth individual attention. People can write down what they eat in a day, then use the checklist of MyPlate recommendations to “grade” themselves. There’s also space to check off water intake, exercise, movement (cleaning, chores, playing), sleep, and screen time. That’s a lot of information collected on one page!

Lessons to use with the Food Diary Tearpad:

  • Tracking food intake makes you more aware of the choices you’re making. This awareness helps you make better choices.
  • Knowing you have to write down what you’re about to eat is often enough to keep you from over-indulging. If you don’t want to see it on paper, you might decide not to eat it!
  • You can’t change what you don’t track. Whether it’s screen time, drinking enough water, or eating more vegetables, keeping track lets you compare what you are doing with what you want to do.
  • People use food diaries differently, and that’s ok. Some simply want to jot down the foods they eat to get a general view of food groups they are missing or overeating. Others are more detail-oriented and can learn even more by recording portion sizes, time, place, and calories.
  • Compare your food diary to your individualized MyPlate Plan, which you can get at ChooseMyPlate.gov/MyPlatePlan. How are you doing on calories? Portion sizes?
  • Look at when and where you eat each meal and snack. Do you eat most meals away from home? Do you skip meals during the day then snack all evening? How long do you usually go between meals?
  • Get a handle on emotional eating by writing down how you feel whenever you eat.
  • Keeping a daily food diary helps people lose weight. But even using our Food Diary for just one day provides a lot of information on your diet and lifestyle. Use this to choose a goal to work on.

New Product: Menu Planning Handouts

“When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Truer words were never spoken, especially when it comes to healthy eating! In fact, research shows that planning meals is associated with healthier diets and reduced rates of obesity (1).

Menu planning also helps you:

  • Make a shopping list.
  • Stick to a grocery budget.
  • Eat more meals at home.
  • Get out of the “same old” mealtime rut.
  • Enjoy mealtimes with less stress.

There’s no doubt about it — planning sets clients up for success. Our new Menu Planning Handouts make it easy! Healthy menu items are pictured and listed at the top. Choose from these to fill out the one-week menu planning chart at the bottom.

The Menu Planning Handouts are great for a class or one-on-one counseling. They’re printed on both sides, so clients can do one side as a group or with your help, then use the other side to plan on their own at home.

I like the idea of using the Menu Planning Handout as a menu planner AND a food diary all in one. Clients can use it to plan meals and snacks for the day or the week, then check off what they eat as they go.

Adding the matching dry-erase Menu Planning Poster or Wall Decal makes this the perfect system to help your clients plan to succeed in their healthy eating goals.

  1. Ducrot P, Mejean C, Aroumougame V, et al. Meal planning is associated with food variety, diet quality and body weight status in a large sample of French adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2017 Feb 2;14(1):12. DOI: 10.1186/s12966-017-0461-7.

Easy Health Fair and Nutrition Presentation Theme Chooser Introduced By Nutrition Education Store

Nutrition Education Store has launched a “Theme Chooser” in the online store navigation. The theme chooser allows customers to view health fair and nutrition education materials by theme. 

The theme chooser makes it easy to choose the perfect theme by topic and then have an entire display or presentation that matches with exciting, professionally designed graphics.

Almost 30 different themes with spectacular, people-pleasing graphics, exclusively designed by Nutrition Education Store, are currently presented and they include:

  1. 10K Steps
  2. Beverage Better
  3. Biometrics
  4. Change It Up
  5. Make A Rainbow Salad
  6. Colors of Health
  7. Diabetes Awareness
  8. Eat to Excel With PhytoMan
  9. Farm to School
  10. Farm to Table
  11. Fiber Math
  12. Food Label Education
  13. Freedom from Disease
  14. Groove to Move
  15. Healthier Choices 123
  16. Healthy Fork
  17. I Love Salad
  18. Kids and Physical Activity
  19. Math of Movement
  20. MyPlate
  21. Muscle Versus Fat
  22. New Blood Pressure Guidelines
  23. Nutrition Month
  24. Orange Coins: Diet and Exercise
  25. Portion Control
  26. Rainbow Chard Be Brighter Every Day
  27. Rainbow Salad
  28. Real Food Grows
  29. Whole Grain

If you need help choosing the best theme for your event you can always click the contact us link at the bottom of the page or call us toll free at 800-462-2352.

Display of the Month: MyPlate

It’s been a while since we’ve done a display of the month, and now is the perfect time to revive the tradition with MyPlate!

The Materials:

The Activities:

  • Food Group Lottery
  • Food Group Lighting Rounds

The Details:

If you have access to the wall behind your table, set up either or both of the MyPlate Banners along with the Art of Health Poster. If you don’t have access to that wall, use just the MyPlate Banner and Stand alongside your table and add the Art of Health Poster to your table (you can prop it on a Tabletop Easel). In front of your table, arrange the MyPlate Floor Decal to add extra interest to your booth.

On the table itself, scatter the resources included in the MyPlate Wellness Fair Kit, leaving room for some MyPlate Handouts and the prizes (MyPlate StickersMyPlate Vegetable StickersMyPlate Fruit Stickers and/or MyPlate Bookmarks) you’re going to offer in order to draw people to your booth and reward participation during activities. In one corner of the booth, arrange the materials you’ll need for the food group lottery.

And, just for fun, finish setting up by tying on a MyPlate Apron, which you can later give away as a prize, if you’d like!

Now, on to the activities!

For the Food Group Lottery, have volunteers write down their names and favorite food groups on individual pieces of paper and put them all in a clear bowl or box. Shuffle all the submissions, then draw 10 winners. Reward them with the prizes listed above, or these adorable MyPlate buttons.

For the Food Group Lightning Rounds, gather all your participants in a circle in front of your booth. Explain that you’re going to name a food group and then each person has to list a healthful food that would fit in that group, one at a time. If a person can’t think of a food or lists something that isn’t healthful, he or she is out and the circle gets smaller. Repeat with the rest of the food groups until you’ve got a small group of winners remaining. All of the previously-suggested prizes would make great rewards, as would these pretty MyPlate plates!

Previous Display Inspiration:

Free Handout:

And, to add one more fun aspect to your display, here’s a free MyPlate coloring page. How will you incorporate this into your booth?

Finally, here are some fantastic workbooks to help your clients learn valuable health and nutrition lessons…

Nutrition Month Display Ideas

It’s not too late to set up an engaging display for National Nutrition Month!

The best displays feature information in a variety of formats, presented in an eye-catching and memorable manner. Here are a few strategies that you can use to put together your best display yet…

Bulletin Board:

It’s usually a good idea to center a bulletin board around a banner or poster. For Nutrition Month, I would recommend any of the following, depending on the space you have available.

Once you’ve picked a poster/banner or two to center your display, it’s just a matter of filling in the details. One way to vary the view while imparting key information is to add a few relevant handouts, like these!

You can also print out pictures that support your main point (people being active for an exercise board, healthful foods/meals for a nutrition board etc) and fill in a few gaps with assorted stickers or wall decals.

Tabletop Display:

Tabletop displays offer a better chance for interaction than a bulletin board display, but they also take up more room.

The key to a good tabletop display is having something that will draw people to the table. Banners on stands offer a great way to stand out from the crowd, and these options are perfect for Nutrition Month:

Floor stickers are also creative (and intriguing) eye-catchers here. My personal favorites include:

Then you want to fill your table with resources that will help your audience learn and remember key Nutrition Month lessons. Posters like the ones featured in the bulletin board section above are great options, and you can prop them up on a tabletop easel or two. Handouts are useful take-home resources too, as are stickers/bookmarks/other fun prizes.

If you’re talking about sugar, salt, or fat content in your display, I’d highly recommend test tubes, which you can use to display the average amount of your featured element in a variety of foods.

These materials offer a great visual way to compare and contrast different options, and the test tubes have gotten wonderful feedback in the past. In fact, they’re one of our most popular resources for health fairs!

And there you have it! A little Nutrition Month display inspiration!

For additional resources to help with your National Nutrition Month celebrations, don’t miss these amazing materials…

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!

Salt Display Kit - Nutrition Education Store

Salt Display Kit

$99.00 $109.00
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Display of the Month: Sugar Math

It’s time for a brand-new Display of the Month!

This month, I want to feature Sugar Math: an engaging and memorable way to teach valuable lessons about added sugars and good health.

Let’s dive right in!

The Materials:

The Activities:

August Sugar Math

The Details:

Set up your space as pictured above, adjusting your arrangements to fit the activities you’ve chosen and the space provided.

For the Sugar Quiz, pose the following questions to your group. You can divide them into teams and track points to declare a winner at the end or simply address volunteers individually. Don’t forget to offer Water WristbandsStickers, and Bookmarks as prizes for correct answers or for the winning team.

  1. True or false: A healthy diet should include no more than 10% of its calories from added sugars. (true)
  2. How many calories per day is the upper limit for added sugars for the average person? (200)
  3. And what is that in grams of sugar? (50)
  4. Where can you find added sugars? (on the new nutrition facts label, or point to the general list of sugars in a food and explore how to intuit how much of those sugars is added)
  5. Roughly how many teaspoons of sugar make up the average upper limit for daily added sugar intake? (12)

August Sugar Math Interactive

Now let’s talk about the Yogurt and Added Sugar Measurements Activity. You may need to rearrange your table for this one.

Gather your group around the table and hold up a clean, empty container that was once used to hold yogurt. Ask everyone how much sugar they think was in that container. Take guesses (if people are shy at first, use prizes like the Water WristbandsStickers, and Bookmarks as motivation for contributing), then show them where to find the answer on the label. Hold up a few more containers and repeat the process.

Pick a container of yogurt and have people use a teaspoon to measure out how much sugar is in that container (provide a dish of refined sugar and a few spoons for this purpose) assembling it all in a clear zip-top baggie. You can also use these amazing Sugar Test Tubes.

Do the same thing with the other containers of yogurt, discussing their findings as they go. How much sugar is in that yogurt? How much of it appears to be added sugar? Why?

If you have the resources, a Sugar Presentation is also a fun way to make lessons about added sugars more memorable. Cue up a projector (or your laptop) to show either the Added Sugars DVD or Sugar Scoop PowerPoint, or both! The PowerPoint comes with additional handouts, which you can distribute after the presentation.

Other Display Ideas:

Here is a collection of the past displays of the month. Which will make an appearance at your next health or wellness fair?

And here are some fantastic sugar resources, fresh from the Nutrition Education Store!

New Nutrition Facts Label Display

There are lots of brand-new resources to help you teach your clients all about how to use the brand-new, just-released-this-week Nutrition Facts label! Here is a fun way to turn these materials into an educational display that will communicate key messages to your audience.

Wellness fair Booth

  • Combine this new Nutrition Facts Poster with an Educational Handout in a bulletin board display. This is a great way to decorate your office or classroom with timely and educational materials. You could also put the poster onto a Tabletop Easel at your next wellness fair booth.
  • The new Nutrition Facts Poster has a list of activities you can do with the food label in order to help consumers practice their newly gained knowledge.
  • Speaking of wellness fair booths, this 48″ by 36″ Nutrition Label Vinyl Banner would be a great way to add a pop of color and key lessons to the front of your table. Or you could try the matching Banner and Stand as a way to communicate this vital information. Make the entrance more dramatic to your wellness fair display with a food label floor sticker!
  • These colorful and creative Nutrition Facts Stickers and Nutrition Facts Bookmarks offer a fun way to teach your audience about the new label in a less formal setting. With memorable information presented in a bright and engaging way, these resources are so much more than just pretty prizes.
  • You can combine all of the materials above into a fantastic display, which you can use at health and wellness fairs or as decoration in places like break rooms and cafeterias.

Nutrition Facts Label Banner

If you’d like to do an interactive activity, these resources can help you too! For example, you could have people bring in the Nutrition Facts label for one of their favorite foods. While the changes won’t be required until 2018, manufacturers will be rolling out the new labels and your participants will be reading both styles in the store so a variety is welcome. Distribute the Nutrition Facts Handout or put up a copy of the Nutrition Facts Poster or Vinyl Banner and have people write down how the information from their panel would be presented in the new panel. What information is missing? How could those details inform healthful choices? What information is more prominent on the new label? How might that affect their assessment of the food? Discuss their impressions, offering Nutrition Facts Stickers and Nutrition Facts Bookmarks as prizes for participation or insight.

Wellness fair Booth

View the New Food Label Poster, banners, tearpad handouts, bookmark, stickers and more here:newfoodlabel-poster