Heart Month

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Angie Jones did a fun activity with a first grade class. She cut out a giant heart-shaped poster.

The kids went through old magazines and cut out pictures of heart-healthful food and fitness activities. They then glued the pictures on the giant heart. The class ended up with a great “heart collage” which was used on the bulletin board at the Health District with credits to the first grade class who worked on the heart! The kids learned what helps make a heart healthy!!

Dinner for two

Last year Margaret W. Kemp, MNS, RD, LD, offered “A Romantic Dinner for Two” session. The dietitian/chef and the RN coordinator did the presentation. The chef demonstrated knife skills and the RN learned how to use a chef’s knife with a variety of fruits and vegetables. The audience loved it. The menu featured mushroom pâté with freshly made pita crisps; citrus marinated flank steak (Laura’s Lean, grilled), roasted red peppers, carrots, butternut squash and potatoes; and almond-poppy seed angel food cake. Samples were available for 70 participants. Handouts included how to cut/prepare vegetables, roasting temperatures/times and suggested spices. Tips were given for using tabletop grills or toaster ovens for roasting in addition to the conventional oven; other ideas to make the evening romantic that weren’t food- or alcohol-oriented were shared.

Big Three for Heart Month:

With all of the talk about making a better health plan, why not use this month to show everyone they can make their own health plan to prevent both heart disease and cancer?

The American Institute for Cancer Research (aicr.org) has a “big three list” to help reduce diabetes, heart disease, and cancer (another big three):

1) healthy, plant-based diet

2) healthy weight

3) at least 30 minutes per day for physical exercise/activity

One of the most popular visuals everyone is using, according to our surveys, is a “what is in your food” show for salt, sugar and fat that is found in restaurant and processed food.

Potatoes - use our potato list in this issue and create a visual bulletin board or monthly menu using potatoes. Try a cooking demo or potato tasting activity so everyone can try a new one.

Day in photos - make a board or bulletin board and show what a day of a plant based diet looks like. Make a table filled with various plant-based foods like oatmeal, rice, beans, salad, canned fruits - and ask what these foods have in common - the answer is they are from plants!

Use these topics to create fun games and quizzes each week:

1. Plant-based meals – name as many as you can

2. Fat and the heart - name 4 best and 4 worst foods

3. Get some exercise – gather a list of the best exercise activities for your area

4. Weight myths – everyone can list a fad diet they have tried and you can explain why that one did not work.

For snacks, there could be nothing better than the fruit and vegetable tapas we have in this issue. Tapas don’t always have to be served - they can just be ready to grab!

Fat sponge

Jill Jank, MS, RD, LMNT, uses a yellow sponge cut into 1-inch cubes to represent grams of fat. They are light weight and travel well.

They can be placed on an overhead projector if you have a large group. Jill points out how many of the cubes represent total fat and then moves several cubes farther down on the overhead window to show how many are saturated.

Weekend cooking adventure

Alice Henneman, MS, RD, suggests scheduling a “weekend cooking adventure” right at home. Either buy or check out from the library a cookbook on heart-healthy cooking, such as one by the American Heart Association. Then, plan your weekend around trying out recipes. The cost is minimal and (pardon the pun!) you get immediate FEEDback on whether you like the recipes. Alice did this with the American Heart Association Low-Salt Cookbook this past weekend. She planned her recipes, went shopping, then proceeded to try out new recipes for all the components of 4 meals over the weekend. She put on some jazzy music, sipped green tea and (pardon another pun!) cooked to her heart’s content! Since she tried so many foods, Alice found several her family really enjoyed versus trying just one food at a time and sometimes being disappointed after a cooking experiment. It was so much fun, Alice plans to do it again another weekend, really soon!

Acronyms for health

Often folks have trouble remembering/distinguishing the different types of fat so Barb Miller has some easy ways to help them. For saturated fats:

S – Solid

A – Animal sources (meat, butter and cheese)

T – Tropical oils (coconut and palm)

For unsaturated fats, she tells them to think of unsolid or liquid oils that slide through the arteries without blocking them as the solid fats do. Barb takes a can of shortening and bangs it hard against the table to illustrate that saturated fat is solid like a can of shortening.

Label pot luck

Barb Miller asks class attendees to bring in their favorite cheese, margarine and bread from home. They compare labels on each one and line them up from least to most with regard to saturated fat for cheese and margarine and fiber for the bread. This shows the importance of reading the label.

Jeopardy!® game

Julie Hansen conducted a fun Jeopardy!® game for a cardiac rehab class on sodium and fiber. She gave a lecture and then as a review, played the game. Jill and her staff had 4 categories: Show me the Fiber, Beware the Sodium, Look at Labels and DASH diet. Questions varied from easy to hard, worth 100-500 points. The class was divided into two teams. Under Show Me the Fiber for 200: How many grams of fiber should we eat in one day? (25-35 grams) Under Beware the Sodium for 100: How much sodium do we need in one day? (500 mg)

Fast food facts

Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, LD, CDN, does a demonstration using Crisco® to make participants more aware of what is in popular fast foods. She names different fast foods and has participants guess how many grams of total fat and saturated fat are in each item. Then Tammy uses a teaspoon of Crisco® to represent every 5 grams of fat. Participants are usually really surprised to learn how much fat and saturated fat was in each item.


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