Long-time subscriber, Janet Treftz-Allen, MS, RD, just requested some new ideas for health classes that are both fun and educational. She had just finished teaching a curriculum from a free online class called "Las Veggies" (a take on Las Vegas) and wanted something new that would really teach people to make a change. They needed to do more than take a paper and check off a list to win a gift card. We've decided to share our thoughts about this process with you today, so check out the path we took below...
Take a tour through the most popular diet books, this minute, at Amazon.com. We noticed a consumer trend for health that you won't want to ignore when designing and pitching your classes: OPTIMIZE me. Everyone wants an accelerator. Something that will bring them the most results for the least amount of work. Miriam Webster defines "optimize" as, "make perfect, effective, or as functional as possible." You can understand the appeal. You use your smart phone to find the best deal without leaving your house, reading all the reviews and comparing prices. You can quickly search and find the best travel plans in one app. And you might even optimize your wardrobe so you look really great and can wear 30 different outfits with the same 4 garment pieces and 2 accessories, all the while looking 5 years younger.
Of course, if you are a professional who is evidence-based, you know that health optimization, at its core, is is both boring and crystal clear: Eat more fruits, vegetables, dried beans, whole grains and a variety of lean protein foods. Get enough calcium-rich foods, too. And get enough physical activity each day. This could also be taken to mean, "Stop eating so many cookies, toaster pastries and rich restaurant meals and put your electronics down long enough to walk vigorously for 30 minutes each day." Health, it seems, is about getting enough of the right stuff while leaving behind the bad stuff. So why does health advice keep morphing it into fads like gluten-free foods, low-carb diets, and the Paleo plan?
I bet you have seen a lot of Paleo Diet advice and tips, like, "I frosted the cake with coconut butter cream." Maybe you still hear, "I need to lose weight, so I am going to watch my carbs." Do you wince when people declare, "I don't need to worry about nutrition because I take vitamins." Or, "The guy on the TV show said...."
Here are the most popular themes for diet books right now, along with a few corresponding class ideas. Fight fire with fire!
- AMAZON title: Optimize your health and metabolism
- What this really means: Give me a way to cheat the system. Let me do the MOST in the least amount of time.
- Class ideas: Jumpstart your day with a high-fiber breakfast, feel full faster by starting most of your meals with a salad, how to make delicious beverages with zero calories, optimize your eating plan....
Fast and easy, limited time only:
- AMAZON title: 30 days to weight loss.
- What this means: Give me an easy timeline. I can do this stuff for 7 days or 17 days (is 7 the magic number?) but I can't think of it forever just yet. I only want to be "grounded" for a short amount of time. I want to graduate really soon!
- Class ideas: 6 lessons to a better you, 2 things you can't grow old without, 3 weeks to healthful habits that stick.
Special science, not ever before published:
- AMAZON title: Paleo man is the new world man
- AMAZON title: Juicing is the Bible
- AMAZON title: Wheat made my belly
- AMAZON title: Count sugar grams and forget everything else
- What this means: Let me in on a secret that I can believe. Because it is fun to talk about it
- Class ideas: Fiber's secret hideout, the power of a plant-based diet, omega-3 versus omega-6 and you, whole foods win, etc.
I just want to copy everyone:
- AMAZON title: Keto Diet
- What this means: "Waiter, I will have what they are having, because it sounds really cool." OR "I want to do this because I saw it on TV."
- Class ideas: What do the world's blue zones, with the most octogenarians, have in common for lifestyle habits? What do the people in the National Weight Loss Registry have in common? What did the successful DASH study participants do?
- AMAZON title: How to melt away the pounds without doing a thing
- AMAZON title: How to increase your metabolism
- What this really means: I don't want to give anything up or do anything extra. Give me the magic trick!
- Class idea: Eat more (calorie density), 40 grams of fiber a day will help you shed 20 pounds, eat your vitamins, make a healthy plate...
And finally, here are the 3 big ideas we offered to Jan:
Optimize Your Kitchen Style:
This is a really fun kitchen makeover class. It includes a quiz to help participants discover what they love about cooking, along with tips about how to make their kitchens easy to work in, so that they won't want to go out to eat every night. You could have a recipe contest or cooking demo during this session too.
It's All About Dessert:
Why not have a fruit dessert workshop?
You could set up stations to have the class work in groups and compete to make the most creative desserts using various fruits and other ingredients. Or you could make a cooking demo to create many mouth-watering fruit desserts?
Well, I Brought Arugula to Have Lunch with Me Today:
And here is another veggie program -- take a salad to work!
The biometrix helps everyone understand where they stand and where they need to go - check out our new materials now:
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.