Posts Tagged With: snacks

Healthy Snacking for the Visual Learner

This week Roanna and I put the final touches on our student forum project we were assigned this rotation. The idea was to design, set up, advertise for, and implement a student forum held in the dining hall. We chose the topic of “Healthy Snacking” and used portion sizes of real food found in the dining hall as visual aids.  Roanna designed the sign used to advertise the forum, and I made the brochure with the template Mary originally created as a snacking brochure for kids.

Healthy Snacking Brochure PDF

Roanna and I set everything up and were at the table for 2 hours over lunch period in Cafe Evansdale.  During that time, students had the opportunity to see what portion sizes looked like, what healthy (and unhealthy) snack options exist in the dining hall, and could ask any nutrition questions they had.  The highlight of the forum was when a student saw our display of celery and peanut butter and was inspired to get her own celery and peanut butter right then from the dining hall with her lunch.  Ahh, influencing the future generation to eat healthy! 🙂 Feels good.

Here are some pictures we took of our display. We chose the snacks based on what was available in the dining halls, and included nutrition facts (calories, fat, carbs, protein, and fiber) on cards below each item. See if you can distinguish between what the healthy snack options are, and what the unhealthy snack options are. Recognize any of your favorites?

Advertisements
Categories: Education in the Community, Food Service | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Take a look at this 23-page PDF guide to choosing healthy options for lunch when in a hurry– you CAN make healthier choices at fast food restaurants, at the vending machine, and with frozen meals!

Mary Rodavich, MS, RD, LDN

Part of our corporate wellness assignment this week was to create a presentation for the “Lunch and Learn” wellness series for employees at the Davis College of WVU.  Emily and I finally finished our 23-page handout titled, “Eating Healthy While Working On Campus”. The guide includes:

1.) Eat This, Not That – Morgantown Edition

2.) Healthy Vending Machine Choices

3.) Healthy Frozen Meals

To check it out, click the link below!!

Click: Eating Healthy While Working On Campus

View original post

Categories: Community Nutrition, Education in the Community | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Healthiest Vending Machine Options

When choosing a snack from a vending machine, you’re faced with a few options….chips, popcorn, chocolate bars, candy, cookies, trail mix, and more.  The average person may not think twice about the nutritional content of these items.  However for the person who is trying to keep an eye on their health or waistline, deciding what to purchase can be a tougher decision.  Now, if vending machines dispensed fruits and vegetables, every option would be a healthy choice.

Fresh fruits & veggies from Fresh Healthy Vending

However, most vending machines today still look like the one found in the Agricultural Sciences Building at West Virginia University.

Chips, and Snacks, and Candy, Oh My!

It’s really too bad, considering that West Virginia has one of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the country.  But in order for behavior change to occur, people have to have the right tools and skill set in order to make healthier and educated choices.  I wanted to create some kind of sign or educational material that grouped these vending machine choices into “green, yellow, red” for a “yes, sometimes, rarely” type of rating system that will let consumers know how each snack ranks nutrition-wise, when compared with the rest of the available options.  After analyzing the calorie and fat content of each package, I decided the most reasonable criteria to use was 240 calories or less and 20% DV of total fat or less for the “green” rating. A yellow rating meant it only met one of the two previous criteria, and a red rating meant the snack didn’t meet either of the criteria, as it was above 240 calories and above 20% DV of total fat.

Here is a PDF file showing the snacks grouped into each stoplight color, which I hope to have as a poster next to the vending machine:

Guide to Vending Machine Snacks

And here is another flyer highlighting the 3-4 best vending machine choices:

Best Vending Machine Choices

While doing this project, there’s one main lesson I learned and that others should take notice of as well.  Portion size is everything! Many of these snacks are not single serving sizes.  For example, the bags of chips were 1.125-2 ounces, while a serving of chips is 1 ounce.  So naturally, if you eat the whole bag, you have to nearly double the calories, fat grams, carbohydrates, etc. in order to accurately depict what is in the entire bag.  This is especially key to take note of if you choose the Kar’s Roasted Salted Peanuts.  Peanuts are a great snack to have– they contain 8 grams of protein and nearly 3 grams of fiber per serving, not to mention they contain the heart-healthy unsaturated fats. But this bag is two ounces, and an ounce of peanuts is one serving.  If you eat the full two ounces in one afternoon, you’ve just ate 29 grams of fat, or 45% of your DV for the day.  So it’s definitely best to eat half of the package, and save the other half in your desk drawer for later in the week.

Ok, so “what can I eat?”  The answer, is anything! Just eat half of the bag of chips or half of the candy bar, and you’ll be just fine. Everything will be less than 170 calories that way, and less than 17% DV of total fat, or 11 grams.  But if you want to eat an entire package, here’s the best option from each category:

BEST CHIP: Baked Ruffles, Cheddar & Sour Cream
Due to its smaller portion size (1.125oz), this bag contains just 135 calories and 4 grams of fat (only 0.5g of that is saturated). Go for it!

BEST SNACK ITEM: Chex Mix, Cheddar
This 1.75-oz bag contains 210 calories and 6.5g of fat (10% DV). A better choice than Cheez-Its which have more than double the fat.

BEST CANDY: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Due to its smaller portion size, these 2 peanut butter cups are the lowest calorie candy bar you’re going to find in this vending machine. While Reese’s does have 13g of fat (20% DV), 8.5g of these are unsaturated fats, and there’s also 5g of protein, which isn’t too bad!

HONORABLE MENTION: Kar’s Original Trail Mix
While it did receive a “yellow” rating due to its higher fat content (22% DV), trail mix is still a good choice. This 1.5-oz bag is 200 calories, has 3g of fiber, 7.5g of protein, and 12.5g of the 14g of fat are unsaturated (“healthy”) fats.

Remember, the healthiest choice to make would be to bring a snack from home, such as fruit, whole wheat crackers, yogurt, a cheese stick, or fresh veggies.  But if you find yourself in front of a vending machine with a dollar in your pocket, it’s also important to know what vending machine options are the healthiest for you.

Categories: Community Nutrition, Education in the Community | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Healthy Snacking Activity for Kids!

On Tuesday, Mary Rodavich and I were able to give our 90-minute nutrition lesson to a group of 13 4th graders from The Shack Neighborhood House.  The day before and the morning of the activity, we set up the chairs, pre-chopped some of the food, and set up the supplies we’d need for the activity.  The theme for this nutrition lesson was healthy snacking.  We began the morning by introducing ourselves, telling them we’d be making a few fun recipes, and also learning about what it means to snack healthy.  After going over MyPlate, the kids were able to give an example of a snack from each section of the MyPlate.  Then I went over the acronym “S.N.A.C.K.S.” with the kids.

“Not in front of the TV” received gasps from the audience, and we had the kids figure out why that might not be a good idea.  It has something to do with portion control. If you’re zoned out in front of the TV, you may find yourself not paying attention to what you’re eating, or how much you’re eating.  And snacks are supposed to be smaller portions than a meal, because you want to still be hungry for dinner!

We then told the kids we’d be making a snack from the vegetable food group– homemade tomato salsa.  Several of the kids got to wash their hands, and volunteer to come up front and help chop the tomatoes and green peppers, measure out the lime juice, and put the cilantro, garlic, and jalapeno peppers into the bowl to be mixed.

When I held up the green onions, the kids thought it was asparagus! So I passed some green onions around, as well as the bunch of cilantro so the kids could smell and feel the herbs.

When the salsa had finished, we moved on to making tortilla chips from wheat tortillas. Each 4th grader got to cut up their tortilla into triangles, spray both sides with cooking spray, and sprinkle on salt, pepper, and chili powder.

Then while the tortilla chips were baking, the kids were divided into 3 teams and got to play “Guess That Fruit or Vegetable.” I had bought 12 different fruits and vegetables (zucchini, cucumber, orange, parsnip, turnip, celery, bell pepper, banana, pear, mango, cabbage). We put each item into a paper bag, taped it up, put a #1-12 on it, and cut out a small hole in the back of the bag. Teams were instructed to send 1 team member at a time to choose a bag, and by touching only, write down their guess of what fruit or vegetable was inside.

The kids learned about new fruits and vegetables, and had fun competing for first place.  Some of the items stumped the kids (parsnips feel like a large carrot, after all!), but I was impressed that they could tell what a mango was just by feeling it.  And guessing “squash” for zucchini is technically correct.

Finally, after the lesson & activity, the kids were able to line up at a station and make their own fruit & cheese kabobs on skewers.  We encouraged the kids to add a variety of the fruits to their skewers, but the kids were huge fans of the purple grapes, strawberries, and cheddar cheese especially.

The kids also got to try their tortilla chips and salsa at this point, and were able to take home containers of extra salsa, as well as a nutritional brochure containing the information we covered (S.N.A.C.K.S.) and recipes for the salsa and chips.

As the 90 minutes was coming to a close, I asked the kids what food groups we had eaten as snacks today. The kids were able to tell Mary and I that the salsa was a vegetable, the whole wheat tortilla chips were a grain, and the kabobs were in the dairy (cheddar and mozzarella cheese) and fruit food groups.  Hopefully the kids will take away the message that its important to snack and eat from a variety of food groups, and not all just from the grains or fats & oils food group (cookies, granola bars, popcorn, pizza rolls, potato chips, donuts, crackers, etc).

This was a fun activity to design and implement, and I hope that in the future I will continue to have opportunities to teach kids to get excited about fruits and vegetables and try new things!

Categories: Community Nutrition, Education in the Community | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.