A big thank you to Chelsea Fuchs, dietetic intern from Teachers College, Columbia University, for this post.
Looking for an interactive approach to learning about health and nutrition? Fortunately, there are now a myriad of ways to learn about food—without having to pick up a physical book. In this post, I highlight some innovate methods that are being used to offer health and nutrition content in an engaging, user-friendly manner.
First, I encourage everyone to check out EatRight Radio, a new offering from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. These pre-recorded PSA’s are offered in English and Spanish, and are recorded by registered dietitians. Choose from a variety of topics like grocery tote safety, health benefits of antioxidants, preparing for a healthy pregnancy, healthy eating as we age, and lots more. Check out all of the terrific offerings from EatRight Radio by clicking on this link: http://www.eatright.org/radio/#.UXp3JDlE8Vt
There are also a myriad of interactive health tools offered by the USDA. The MyPlate Super Tracker allows you to track and score your eating and activity habits. It also provides helpful tips for making healthy lifestyle changes. Food-A-Pedia is another offering from the USDA. This resource provides quick access to food information, such as food groups, calories, and comparisons of two foods. Finally, there is the Children’s Healthy Eating Calculator. This interactive tool lets you calculate a child’s energy needs based on age, current size, and activity level. This is an extremely helpful resource to help parents plan meals and snacks for their little ones! For more information, take a look at the Interactive Tools section on the USDA website: http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/dietary-guidance/interactive-tools
In regard to interactive tools that kids can use, I highly recommend the website Nourish Interactive. You will find fun nutrition games for kids, an online interactive food pyramid, and get access to daily health tips and healthy recipes. One nutrition game on this site that I find extremely educational for kids is the Build-A-Meal Game. Children are given an empty calorie bar with a goal number of calories, and an empty plate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also get a backpack for two snack times. The goal is to build one full day of meals and two snacks that meet the required number of food groups and calorie amount. All kids have to do is click on the meal they want to put food on, use the computer mouse to open cabinets and the refrigerator, and then select food items. I encourage you to explore all of the offerings from Nourish Interactive here: http://www.nourishinteractive.com/
Finally, this post would not be complete without addressing physical activity! My favorite interactive tool to help get active is exercise DVD’s. There are an overwhelming number of websites offering exercise DVD’s for purchase, and one of my favorites is collagevideo.com. The site allows you to search by personal fitness goals, type of workout, instructor, brands, or equipment used, to find the DVD that best meets your needs. For those new to the exercise DVD scene, I highly recommend investing in Leslie Sansone’s DVDs. Her walking workouts are easy to follow, don’t require any special equipment, and incorporate simple aerobic moves that emphasize toning and an increased calorie burn. Exercise DVD’s feel exactly like having a one-on-one personal training session—from the comfort of your own living room!
Hopefully this provides you with a few suggestions for interactively incorporating health and nutrition into your life. As you can see, learning about ways to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle can be fun and engaging, so be sure to take advantage of the fantastic learning resources out there!