It’s Heart Month and we can’t wait to celebrate! That’s why this month’s presentation and activity ideas are all about smart ways to improve heart health. Which will you try first?
Activity Idea: Design a Heart-Healthy Day
Use a flip chart, dry erase board, or overhead projector to make a list of foods that participants eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, and dessert.
Circle the options that promote heart health, then make a list of all the heart-healthy foods that could make up a day full of nutritious meals. Incorporate information from MyPlate whenever possible.
You can leave your chart up as inspiration for participants, or use it as the center of a display or bulletin board. Be creative!
Activity Idea: Substitute and Save
Have the class list items that are high in saturated fat and/or trans fat. Come up with a list of substitute ingredients for those items. You can do this as a whole class brainstorming session, or you can divide the participants into smaller groups and give each group a list of foods to find substitutes for. Of course, this could also be done individually as written work during a session or as homework between sessions
Feel free to include information from the handout, “Substitute Your Way to Lower Cholesterol,” which is featured in this month’s handout section.
Activity Idea: Heart Health Taste Tests
Eating well for your heart doesn’t mean giving up all of your favorite foods to go on a taste-free diet, but some clients and patients don’t really understand that point. Bring the lesson home by having a taste test session with some of your favorite heart-healthy products or recipes.
Consider a trans-fat-free margarine tasting, for example. Just bring in margarines that contain less than 2 grams of saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat per serving. Have the class try these items, preferably spread on a bit of whole wheat bread or on a whole grain cracker.
You can also do taste tests with salads that feature veggies that are especially high in fiber, or with various types of quick-cooking oatmeal for a heart-healthy breakfast. You can tailor your tastings to fit the budget and equipment that you have. Consider doing a tasting before or after each educational session you have.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing in a professional capacity for the past 10 years. In addition to her work as an editor, Ronco has also served as a ghostwriter and writing tutor. A voracious reader, Ronco loves watching language evolve and change. When she’s not delving into her latest project, Ronco can be found teaching acting classes, performing in community theater, or sailing with her husband.