February is Heart Month, and what better time is there to celebrate ways to take good care of your heart?
Displays are a great way to communicate health messages, and they add brightness to a space at the same time. Here are some ideas for Heart Month displays — with interactive activities to boot!
Display Idea #1: What Makes a Healthy Heart?
For this display, you will need a bunch of construction paper hearts in a variety of colors, along with an assortment of markers.
Gather your group and open up the discussion — what makes a healthy heart? What elements of the diet are good for the heart? What kinds of lifestyle and exercise pattern? Talk about the options, correcting any misunderstandings, then have each participant grab a heart cutout and a marker. Have each person them write the three most important things s/he thinks a healthy heart should have and put that information on the cutout. After each person has given you his or her heart, arrange the cutouts on a bulletin board or wall and title the display “Be Good to Your Heart for Heart Month.”
Variation: If you don’t have time for an interactive activity, take each construction paper heart and write down one thing that is good for the heart on each piece of paper. For example, one heart might read “Exercise,” while another reads “Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats,” etc. Arrange the hearts into a display with the same title.
Display Idea #2: Send Salt Away!
Excessive sodium intake has been linked to hypertension, yet most Americans are consuming more salt than they should. In fact, the CDC has revealed that Americans average an intake of 3,400 mg of salt per day, while the upper limit advised by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is 2,300 mg per day. For Heart Month, create a display that will help your clients reduce their sodium consumption.
Title the board “Tasty Alternatives to Salt” and print out some facts about salt consumption and heart health. Arrange them throughout the larger sections of the display.
Devote one large section to Nutrition Facts labels. Circle sodium content on the labels and include MyPlate’s advice to check the labels and choose foods with lower sodium.
Devote another section to ways to add flavor to foods without salt. Drawings or photos of fresh and dried herbs, a list of spices and their flavors, and images of flavored vinegars can add a lot to this section.
Set up a third section to feature sodium substitutions — foods with lower sodium that could replace high-sodium options. This list could be as simple as recommending low-sodium broth over regular options or as complex as you want it to be. What would resonate with your clients?
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.