25 Ways to Promote the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

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The celebration of National Nutrition Month continues with another special post: 25 ways to promote the Dietary Guidelines for Americans! With the release of the 2015-2020 edition of the Dietary Guidelines, there's lots to teach your audience. Here are some creative ways to do it...

  1. Make a "Healthy Eating Pattern" display. Feature appetizing pictures of lots of different healthy foods that can fit into a balanced eating pattern.
  2. Put together a table full of dietary shifts. Show each unhealthy option, then replace it with a similar food that is much more nutrient-dense. You can do a general set of shifts or focus on a specific topic, like sodium, saturated fat, or added sugars.
  3. Plaster your space with posters that feature the key lessons of the Dietary Guidelines -- use at least 1 poster per chapter!
  4. Send out an email blast with links to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Offer prizes to people who reply with the most interesting questions, then use their feedback to inform your next presentation or set of emails.
  5. Give an overview of the guidelines in a special PowerPoint session. Offer lots of time at the end for questions and answers. (If you'd rather not make your own, there's a great Dietary Guidelines PowerPoint available in the Nutrition Education Store).
  6. Offer a virtual shopping tour of a local grocery store. Where can people find the best items to build a healthy eating pattern?
  7. Discuss your participants' "typical meals." Do they fit into a healthy eating pattern? Why or why not?
  8. Do a breakfast meal makeover. You can make this a cooking demo with tasty samples, or use food packages to illustrate the shifts you discuss. In fact, you could even offer a makeover with pictures alone, or simply by discussing typical breakfasts and how they can shift into a healthier pattern.
  9. Make over lunch! This would be perfect for a lunch meeting or cooking demo. Discuss typical lunches like sandwich trays or heavy take-out, then present healthier options. If you're giving a lunch meeting, feed everyone the healthy "made over" lunches.
  10. Discuss dinner shifts. What do people typically eat for dinner? How can they shift their choices to a healthier eating pattern?
  11. Set up a snack booth with healthy and balanced snacks that adhere to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Offer lots of free samples, along with stickers and handouts that address the importance of healthy choices.
  12. How much sugar can you eat in a day? Show them with 50 grams of sugar -- that's 200 calories or about 12 teaspoons.
  13. How many teaspoons of sugar are in common foods and beverages? Let the audience help you make a display with real sugar and food and beverage containers.
  14. How much sugar did you eat yesterday? Have the audience recall the foods and beverages they consumed yesterday. How many grams of added sugar were in these choices?
  15. List common foods and drinks that have the most added sugar, then brainstorm ways to reduce sugar intake as a group. For example, lemonade can be transformed into water with lemon slices and no added sugar. It'll still be tangy and refreshing, without all those empty calories.
  16. Set up a taste of delicious drinks without added sugars. Make a fun iced tea with green tea and fresh fruits. Or serve an aqua fresca with a variety of sliced fruits and green tea. No added sugar needed, but be sure to bring your sample cups so that everyone can have a taste!
  17. Discuss the Dietary Guidelines' information about sodium. How do the sodium recommendations line up with the group's traditional eating habits? How can they shift towards healthier choices?
  18. Put up a sodium poster! The Sodium Math poster makes it possible to teach important lessons about salt in an engaging and memorable way.
  19. Collect packages for sodium-rich foods and have a brainstorming session. How can people replace these products with other choices that are lower in sodium?
  20. Have a blood pressure festival! Get everyone's blood pressure readings, discuss the importance of low blood pressure to good health, and share what levels are normal and what aren't. You can set up booths and games to drive home the most important points.
  21. How much sodium is in fast food? Do a little research online and present the foods that are highest and lowest in sodium content to your clients. Which elements surprised you?
  22. Print or post a guide to local exercise in the area. Are there walks, 5k events, places to hike, bootcamps, swimming pools, exercise classes or walking clubs in your area? Post a guide to exercise for each season so that people can find ways to socialize and get fit!
  23. Offer breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas for folks on the go. Fruit, yogurt, and whole grain toast from the cafe; soup and salad from a nearby restaurant, grocery store fixings on the way home, etc.
  24. Host a cooking workshop and focus on meals that can be assembled quickly. Put out a variety of ingredients and see what individuals can do to create a soup or salad in just a few minutes.
  25. Give a real-life shopping tour. Guide everyone through the store and discuss the best choices in each food group considering price and nutrient value. Practice reading the labels in each section so that people can learn to make great choices!

There are lots of other nutrition education materials that promote key lessons from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in the Nutrition Education Store! Which of these will make your life easier?

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Added Sugars Poster
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Dietary Guidelines for Americans PowerPoint and Handout Set
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Vitamins and Minerals Poster

For more information about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, don't miss these great resources...

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