Holiday Health Challenge Preview

Have you had a moment to check out the Holiday Wellness Challenge?

The Holiday Wellness Challenge offers a fun way keep your clients on track during the holiday season. After all, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Americans gain an average of .4 to 1.8 pounds each year during the holidays. With a little know-how and some fun strategies, this weight gain can be avoided.

To get the details about the Holiday Wellness Challenge, check out the post Holiday Wellness Challenge over in the Food and Health blog.

And for an even closer look, I want to offer a preview of one of the chapters today!

Here’s the first handout from Chapter Five: Jump Start Your Breakfast. Feel free to download it and distribute as you see fit!

Jump Start Breakfast

Why Care About Breakfast?

Life is busy, and busy often ups its game during the holidays. Between parties, family projects, decorations, and shopping, something has to give. Breakfast should not be it.

Why? Here are some top reasons to care about breakfast…

  • Breakfast offers key nutrients that will give you energy. Plus, with the right foods, you won’t get hungry on your way to holiday activities and errands.
  • Furthermore, when you make healthful choices at breakfast, you start the day on the right foot. It’s easier to stick to good habits that way.

Breakfast Facts:

Having breakfast every morning kick-starts your metabolism.

Studies indicate that people who eat breakfast in the morning are less likely to get diabetes.

78% of the people in the National Weight Control Registry make a healthful breakfast part of their daily routine.

Breakfast is associated with a lower BMI, fewer calories consumed during the day, and a better diet.

Breakfast is a great opportunity to increase your consumption of fiber, whole grains, fruit, and low-fat dairy.

A healthful breakfast not only gives you energy, but also increases cognitive function.

Are Your Holidays Healthful? A Quiz

Do you keep your holiday celebrations good for your health? Find out with this brand-new quiz!

Questions:

Dancing at a Party1. What is the most featured item in the display of foods at your holiday party?

a) Cookies
b) Meats
c) Fruits and vegetables
d) Cheeses

2. True or false? I make sure to get at least some physical activity during most days of the week.

3. Some smart ways to control portion size at meals include…

a) Making a healthy plate.
b) Sharing a meal
c) Being aware of the calorie content of the foods you purchase.
d) All of the above

4. True or false? I make sure to eat a healthful high-fiber breakfast every morning.

Answers:

Holiday Platter1. c) Fruits and vegetables
For the most healthful holiday celebration, make fruits and vegetables the start of any buffet you set up. You can keep things simple with crudités and some yogurt-based dips, or you can get fancy and roast up your favorite vegetables and serve them on a platter, drizzled with a little bit of sauce and garnished with parsley. Add bowls of berries and sliced fruit too!

2. True
To stay healthy during the holidays, it’s wise to sneak in a little physical activity whenever you can, even though things are busy. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, “Being physically active is one of the most important steps that Americans of all ages can take to improve their health.”

Check the Label3. d) All of the above
If you’re having a holiday gathering at a restaurant or coffee shop, check out any nutrition information that’s available online. Make sure that the portion size of what you want to order is reasonable. If it’s not, look for alternatives. Then, if you want to get or make something that only comes in a large portion, share it with a friend or family member. Finally, if you’re picking up a treat for a holiday gathering, check the labels! Use the Nutrition Facts to calculate serving size, nutrient content, and much more! Making a healthy plate will help you put your foods in the right proportions, too.

4. True
Starting your day off with a balanced and high-fiber breakfast is a smart way to stay healthy this holiday season. After all, breakfast is associated with a lower BMI, fewer calories consumed during the day, and a better diet. Plus, a healthful breakfast not only gives you energy, but also increases cognitive function. Some ideas include high-fiber cereal with nonfat milk, and fruit, or lowfat yogurt and fruit, or egg whites and fruit. A smoothie made with fruit and skim milk is also a great start.

How did you do? Do you know the nuts and bolts of staying healthy during the holidays?

Research Update: Legumes and Diabetes

A recent study published in Clinical Nutrition looked at data from the PREDIMED study, which featured over 3,000 subjects with elevated risk for heart disease, but without type 2 diabetes. The study found that after 4 years, participants with the highest intake of legumes had a 35% reduction in risk for diabetes. The study was led by Jordi Salas-Salvadó from Rovira i Virgili University, University Hospital of Sant Joan de Reus, and Institute of Health Carlos III in Spain. Salas-Salvadó explained that substituting legumes, especially lentils, for other high-carbohydrate or high-fiber foods was linked with this reduction, though more research is needed to solidify the results.

In this prospective study, Salas-Salvadó and his team reviewed diet histories of diabetes-free subjects, both at the outset of the study and then annually for four years. Using regression models to estimate hazard ratios and confidence intervals, incidence of type 2 diabetes in the subjects was measured based on dietary intake. Compared to lowest intake of legumes (approximately 1 ½ servings per week), participants with the highest consumption (approximately 3 1/3 servings), had a 35% lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

The researchers compared types of legumes consumed and found that lentils in particular were linked with a 33% reduction in diabetes risk. This was observed with just one serving of lentils per week versus less than ½ serving. Chickpea consumption showed a smaller impact on lowering the risk of diabetes, while other dried beans and peas showed no significant link.

The authors suggest that substituting half a serving of legumes daily in place of a half serving of grains or high-protein foods (such as eggs or meat) may aid in reducing the risk for diabetes.

So, here are some simple ways to add more legumes to your eating pattern…

  • Make lentil soup or chili
  • Add cooked lentils to casseroles or salad
  • Add chickpeas to soup or salad
  • Make your own hummus from chickpeas or lentils
  • Serve lentils as a side dish in place of rice or potatoes

By Lisa Andrews, MED, RD, LD

Reference:

Nerea Becerra-Tomás, Andrés Díaz-López, Núria Rosique-Esteban, Emilio Ros, Pilar Buil-Cosiales, Dolores Corella, Ramon Estruch, Montserrat Fitó, Lluís Serra-Majem, Fernando Arós, Rosa Maria Lamuela-Raventós, Miquel Fiol, José Manuel Santos-Lozano, Javier Diez-Espino, Olga Portoles, Jordi Salas-Salvadó Correspondence information about the author Jordi Salas-Salvadó Email the author Jordi Salas-Salvadó. “Legume consumption is inversely associated with type 2 diabetes incidence in adults: a prospective assessment from the PREDIMED study”. Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2017. 03.015

Study Link: http://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(17)30106-1/abstract

Nutrition Month at the Worksite: Activity, Display, and Presentation Ideas

Want to celebrate Nutrition Month at your worksite? Check out these inspirational ideas, and let us know your plans by tweeting us @foodandhealth or writing on our Facebook wall

  • Create a Nutrition Education Display board and display it in the lobby. It’s a great resource for employees and community members who are seeking services.
  • Make Nutrition Education bulletin boards available for all clinic sites to display.
  • Set up a 5 for 5 Challenge. This challenge will encourage employees to eat at least 5 servings of fruits or vegetables every day. It can also include an exercise component, calling for everyone to exercise for at least 30 minutes on each of the 5 workdays during the week. Employees will have a tracking form to keep up with their progress towards the challenge. If they complete the form, then that person’s name will be entered into a drawing at the end of the month’s activities. Feel free to offer prizes that you think would work best for your site.
  • Have a smoothie and healthful snack taste testing week. Make healthful snacks and smoothies will available for a one hour period at your workplace. Offer recipes and supporting materials to anyone who stops by to taste test the treats. Employees that participate could also enter their names into the drawings to be held at the end of the month’s activities.
  • Hold a healthful cooking demonstration. We had success with a 1-hour nutrition education session, which included the preparation of multiple recipes to encourage healthful eating and vegetable consumption. RSVPs were be requested for the session. Employees that participated could also be entered into the drawings to be held at the end of the month’s activities.
  • At the end of the month, drawings will be held for the people that participated in at least one of the month’s activities. Drawing prizes could include the following… MyPlate magnetsa professional apronMyPlate wristbandsassorted kitchen tools, or even a cookbook. You could also work with the HR department to give work-related prizes like an extra vacation day.

By Kelly Whipker, RD, LDN

The Nutrition Education Store has everything you need for fantastic worksite wellness programs or fun Nutrition Month activities…

 

Keep Your Holidays Food Safe

Sometimes I wonder what happens to common sense during the holidays.

I know things get hectic, but many people seem to “throw caution to the wind” when it comes to food safety.  Over the next few weeks, you’ll have many opportunities to enjoy food, so please keep food safety in mind.

This should be especially true when entertaining. Some of your guests may have special needs. Remember that the young, the elderly, pregnant, and immune-suppressed may be more susceptible to getting foodborne illness. Don’t take risks with their health by serving potentially dangerous foods such as raw eggs, raw fish, undercooked poultry, or rare ground beef. Think about alternative foods or recipes that may be safer.

Just because it’s a holiday and your refrigerator is full does not mean that the “two-hour rule” isn’t in effect. Food should not be allowed to sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Two hours is enough time for bacteria to multiply to the quantity that could cause foodborne illnesses. This is cumulative too. If you leave the leftovers on the dining room table for one hour, then later leave them out on the counter for 30 minutes to make sandwiches, you will only have a half-hour window left.

On New Year’s Eve, many parties start in the early evening and don’t end until well after the New Year. That could be four or five hours and way past the safe time for leaving that food set out at room temperature.  If you can’t keep cold foods below 41 degree F or hot foods above 135 degrees F, plan to replace them with fresh at least every two hours.

Here are a few other basic things to keep in mind:

  • Wash your hands frequently when preparing and serving food.
  • Get food into the refrigerator as soon as possible after a meal. Don’t leave it out for guests coming later or to make sandwiches.
  • Don’t put potentially-hazardous food in the garage, porch or sunroom.  While these areas may feel cool, they may not keep food below 41 degrees F. Some cut fruits and vegetables (including sliced tomatoes, leafy greens and melons) fall into this category, too.
  • Use small serving dishes on buffet lines. When that dish is empty, then replace it with another small dish of the same food instead of setting out the entire bowl or mixing “fresh” food in with the “old.”
  • Take care with desserts that contain potentially hazardous foods such as whipped cream, custards, creamy cheeses, and eggs. Keep these foods in the refrigerator below 41 degrees.

A little care and planning ahead can make this a food-safe holiday season.  You want the memories to be of happy times and not of a foodborne illness or trip to the emergency room.

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

Eating Mindfully in 3 Steps

Mindful eating is a great way to build healthy habits and a balanced relationship with food. To help make eating mindfully more appealing and accessible to your clients, I’ve created a brand new poster and handout set: A Guide to Mindful Eating.

Today, I’d like to preview the handout that comes with the poster. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Mindful Eating

People often follow food and diet rules that they believe will help them reach their health goals. These rules might be what to eat based on cave men or avoid a food group like carbohydrates. All of this can become overwhelming. Recently, a new buzzword has entered the diet world: mindful eating.

Mindful eating, also called intuitive eating, happens when people consume food while staying aware of their hunger and without passing judgement on the food or the act of eating. When practicing mindful eating, eaters listen to internal hunger and satiety cues. Sound nutrition information becomes a guideline for food choices, but food is selected based on hunger levels, nutritional needs, and existing illnesses or allergies.

Step 1: Recognize hunger cues and the feeling of satiety. Hunger can have both physical and psychological sensations. One may feel an emptiness or a hollow fee ling in the gut, restlessness, the inability to focus, irritability, or fatigue. Satiety should feel more comfortable than hunger. Satiety is the feeling of being full but it does not mean being stuffed from over eating or  trying to clean your plate.

Step 2: Put your food on a plate and sit down to eat. This will help you balance your meals, avoid over eating, and enjoy the flavor of your food. It helps you feel satiated and keeps you from eating on the run. It also helps you see how much you are eating instead of eating what food manufacturers and restaurants dictate for portions.

Step 3: Savor the flavor of your food. Think about the flavors in your meals and enjoy them. This will help you refocus after a busy day and enjoy your meals.

Mindful eating does take practice, but it’s actually an innate technique. Consider a newborn. When she is hungry, she sends a signal that it is time to eat (crying). When she is satiated, she will stop eating. Over time, we may lose this skill as external factors come into play. The “clean plate club,” eating with family at a set time, or various diet rules can all contribute to a loss of this skill. The good news is that people can return to mindful eating and take the focus away from food and external cues. This offers an opportunity to focus on a more joyful and healthy life. When people begin to listen to their bodies, eating becomes a form of self-care. It can restore food to its original function: a source of nourishment.

It’s time to get back to basics, ditch the rules, use sound nutrition as a guideline, and truly listen to what our bodies need. It’s time for mindful eating.

By Beth Rosen, MS, RD, CDN

Did you like it? Here’s a free copy of the printable mindful eating handout!

Mindful Eating

And here are some other great resources, just for you!

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…

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

Display of the Month: Nutrition Month

It’s National Nutrition Month, and to celebrate, I couldn’t resist making a Nutrition Month display for the Nutrition Education Store’s March Display of the Month! Can you blame me? Here’s what you need to make your own display…

Display for Nutrition MonthThe Materials:

The Activities:

  • Nutrition Month ABCs
  • Brainstorming: Ways to Savor the Flavor of Eating Right

The Details:

To set up your booth, grab a table and drape the front with the Nutrition Month Banner. Top it with the posters you like best from the Quality Nutrition Poster Set. They’re all great for Nutrition Month, but I especially like the Wise Choices and Portion Control posters for this particular display. Put each poster on a Tabletop Easel in order to make it easy to see. Intersperse the educational posters with some Nutrition from A to Z Handouts and MyPlate Brochure Cards, then line the front of your table with Nutrition Month Bookmarks and Nutrition Month Stickers. Toss a whiteboard up on a stand near your display and grab a few dry erase markers if you’re going to do the activities outlined below.

Display and ActivitiesFor the Nutrition Month ABCs activity, ask people to think up words that start with each letter of the alphabet, focusing on key health and nutrition information. For example, the letter “A” could feature words like “antioxidants,” “activity,” “anthocyanins,” and even “vitamin A” if the group is flexible. Discuss each word as it is offered and give prizes to the people who choose to participate. Pass out copies of the Nutrition from A to Z Handout to conclude the activity.

When it comes the the second activity, Brainstorming Ways to Savor the Flavor of Eating Right, your white board can come in handy again. Discuss this year’s theme for Nutrition Month. What are some healthy ways that people can follow that theme and “savor the flavor of eating right” in a manner that is balanced and fun? Record people’s answers on your whiteboard. If they need inspiration, point them to the MyPlate Brochure Cards and Nutrition Posters in your display.

Additional Resources:

If you’re looking for even more materials that you can use for Nutrition Month, don’t miss these additional nutrition education resources…

And here’s another installment of my free printable nutrition education materials — a PDF handout that covers the basics of nutrition

Nutrition Basics for Nutrition Month

More Displays of the Month:

Finally, here are some other fun materials from the Nutrition Education Store!

10,000 Steps Floor Sticker

Digital MyPlate Poster and Resource Collection

MyPlate Stress Relief Coloring Book

Preventing the Spread of Norovirus

Cruise Ship in PortIt seems like every couple of months we hear about a cruise ship that came back to port because of an illness outbreak on board. Does this make you want to think twice (or three times) about getting on a cruise ship?

We went on a fairly long cruise last year that had very few ports of call. We knew that once we got on the ship we were going to be there for the duration.

Yes, I gave this a second thought. What if we got sick? It could be miserable. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a small ship’s cabin when you have diarrhea and vomiting.

Quite frequently the illness found on cruise ships is a norovirus. It can be introduced into a cruise ship by passengers or crew members alike. Why cruise ships? Well, on a cruise, lots of people from all over the world come together to live in confined areas with shared dining rooms and close living quarters.

Norovirus is highly contagious and one of the most common pathogens to cause a foodborne illness. Norovirus is frequently transferred by food handlers dealing with ready-to-eat food.

The symptoms of norovirus include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps. These symptoms can develop within a few hours or a few days after a person is infected and can last for a couple days. People with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill, and they can remain contagious for up to two weeks after the symptoms appear.

Most norovirus illnesses happen when infected people spread the virus to others. It can also be spread through contaminated food or water, or by touching things that have the virus on them.

You think this is scary for a cruise passenger — think how concerned the cruise companies are about it! Turning a ship around because of a norovirus outbreak could cost them plenty, not only financially but also in terms of reputation.

I have to say that I was very impressed with the efforts the staff of our cruise ship made to prevent the spread of an infectious virus.

Sinks for WashingFor example, we saw our cabin steward the first day and then not again. I asked about him and was told he was sick and confined to his cabin for the rest of the cruise. Employees exposed to norovirus need to be restricted from work with food for at least 48 hours from the time of exposure.

Moreover, the cruise directors announced that officers would not be shaking hands at the special Captain’s Reception. This abstention helps to prevent passing the virus from person-to-person — very proactive.

However, I did make a mistake one morning.

I was heading to a container of ice water to refill my water bottle and was stopped by a crew member. He said that I could transfer germs from my previously-used water bottle to the tip of the water container, and then that could spread to others. I hadn’t thought of that — what a good catch!

Here are some more steps that the ship took to help reduce the spread of disease.

  • Signs around the ship and on the television constantly reminded passengers to wash their hands.
  • There were sanitizer dispensers throughout the ship. Some were strategically placed outside the entrances of dining rooms and buffets. While sanitizers should not be used in place of proper handwashing, it was a better option than doing nothing.
  • I found handwashing sinks near some of the out-of-the way eating locations.
  • The burger place near the pool had a sink inside the restaurant and encouraged folks to wash their hands before selecting food and eating. (Unfortunately I didn’t see many people using it).
  • When a higher-than-expected number of passengers or crew become sick, ships implement additional cleaning procedures and use disinfectants to stop the illness. The staff worked tirelessly to keep on top of this.

I didn’t hear of any illnesses on our ship. In reality, only about 1% of all reported norovirus outbreaks are on cruise ships. Visit this website to see the sanitation records of most of the cruise ships that dock in the United States. You’ll want to check it out before you commit to a specific cruise line or ship.

Now let’s take those lessons into day-to-day life.

You can reduce your chances of getting infected with norovirus by making certain to wash your hands often and well. Wash them frequently after touching high-hand-contact surfaces like doorknobs, elevator buttons, and railings.

Wash your hands after going to the bathroom, blowing your nose, and each time you return to your home.

Handwashing before eating and drinking is also important, not just using sanitizer. If water and soap are not available, use an ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer, preferably in a gel form. The sanitizer should be at least 60% alcohol.

I hope this helps you avoid illness this year!

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

Here’s a free printable handout with ways that you can reduce your risk of contracting norovirus and other ills!

Avoid Norovirus

And here are some other amazing resources from the Nutrition Education Store!

Nutrition Poster

Flu Prevention PowerPoint

Nutrition Stickers