Promoting accurate, effective, and up-to-date nutrition communication

Brought to you by the Communications Division of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Make Snapguide Your Go-To for How-To’s

Special thanks to Andrea Belloli, University of Maryland Dietetic Intern, for this post. 
What is Snapguide?

 Snapguide is a website and free smartphone app that allows users to view, create and share step-by-step “how-to” guides.  The app specializes in providing users with easy to understand instructions for a wide array of topics ranging from cooking and gardening to do-it-yourself projects and repairs.  Snapguide users can use their iPhones to snap videos and pictures, add captions, and share the guide with the rest of the Snapguide community.  The ability to create how-to guides straight from your smartphone sets this app apart from all other apps of its kind!
Users have the option to register and create an account by connecting with an existing Facebook or Twitter account.  However, if social media isn’t your thing, you can register using an email address.  After registering, Snapguide will walk you through a quick tutorial on how to operate the app. Once finished with the speedy sign-up process, you will be able to start viewing existing guides and creating your own. 

Creating your own Snapguides
Creating a guide is quick and easy.  Once you’ve selected a title and begun the creation process, you can choose to insert photos, videos, or text instructions to each step. Steps can be edited, moved around, or deleted at any time.  Users can even add a list of supplies or ingredients to the end of their guide to allow for simpler instructions throughout the guidebook.  Once the guide has been completed, users can publish it with a single tap.  From there, it can be shared throughout the Snapguide community.  Users can also embed guides into websites and blogs to share with others beyond the Snapguide community.  
A tool for Registered Dietitians and health professionals
Nutrition professionals can utilize this app as a teaching tool when working with clients and patients.  Snapguide allow them to create simple and visually appealing guides for use in both clinical and community settings.  In the clinical setting, for example, RDs and nurses can create a photo or video guide on how to use a glucometer to check one’s blood glucose levels.  In the community setting, guides can be created to teach individuals how to read nutrition labels and how to prepare healthy and affordable recipes.  Users can also create guides in multiple languages to reach even more audiences.  

Snapguide provides a user-friendly platform that health professionals can use to teach others about nutrition and health-related topics in an easily comprehendible manor.  Snapguide should be utilized by health professionals as a refreshing new way to share valuable information with others.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

SocialFolders: Manage Social Media Content with Ease

Special thanks to Kevin Handsman, University of Maryland dietetic Intern, for this post.
Cloud storage is becoming more and more prominent in today’s society. “Cloud storage” is when you save your data to a remote database. You are connected to this database through the internet and it is managed by a third party. We upload to a cloud because it doesn’t take up our hardware’s storage space and because it protects us if we lose a flash drive or have problems with a computer. But what if the third party goes away? Our “cloud” could float away, too!
SocialFolders allows you to pull content from online to a folder on your computer, so you always have access to it, even without an internet connection. SocialFolders is based primarily in social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However it also allows you to back-up documents such as Google docs and Evernote. Set up is as easy as downloading and selecting the services you want to connect to; the program automatically makes a “SocialFolders” folder for everything in your documents section. 

SocialFolders isn’t just a way to back things up; it is also a great tool for uploading and sharing. Files on the device that you want to upload to social media just need to be added to that folder for easy uploading. Content on one social media site can also be easily transferred to another site. For example, you can upload all of your Instagram photos to Facebook with a simple drag and drop.
This program can be useful to nutrition professionals for several reasons. Because uploading to social media is so easy, adding pictures from an event to your social media site of choice is a breeze. It is also useful for moving pictures across social media if you decide to start using a new kind of social media. This saves tons of time in uploading. It is also useful because you can access your google docs offline, which is great if you go somewhere without internet. You will still be able to access the most recent version of the document before you lost an internet connection.
The basic version of the program is free. However, you can only use 3 services and download 2000 files. Although this gets you a fair amount of use, you can upgrade your service for free by getting friends to download it. You can send invites by email, Facebook, and Twitter; each person that downloads from you invite nets you 1 more service and 1000 more files! You can also pay $1.99/month or $9.99/month for unlimited services and files. 

SocialFolders is a great tool for managing media and data. It’s designed to be simple and run in the background. Once you connect your services it will continue to back up your content without any prompting. It is one of those rare programs that just works. It truly makes managing media much easier and even the free version is great. Try it out, you won’t regret it!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Spring Pad: The End of an Era

Special thanks to Erica Gavey, University of Maryland Dietetic Intern, for this post. 

It’s the end of an era. SpringPad, the organizational free web tool that allows users to personalize, create and share their ideas and interests, will be shutting down permanently on June 25th.  After a five and a half year streak, the web service is going out of business due to lack of funds. The good news is that SpringPad has created an easy export option that allows users to either export their SpringPad contents or download them. People will be able to export to SpringPad’s former “competitor,” Evernote, or download a viewable HTML data backup. The SpringPad website and associated mobile and tablet apps will no longer work after the 25th of June.

Although the news of SpringPad may be hard to handle, it’s important to remember all of the great things that SpringPad was able to do for so many users across the globe. SpringPad prided itself on making everyday life simple; SpringPad was a users’ very own personal assistant whose number one goal was making their lives better. Whether it was reminding a user about upcoming deadlines, making restaurants recommendations, or creating an automatic shopping list from the Weekly Meal Planner Notebook, SpringPad never ceased to amaze their audience. SpringPad allowed users the freedom to express their creative side on a visually appealing and easy to use interface and urged users to share and borrow ideas from others virtual Notebooks. The Web-Clipper extension was such a handy tool that allowed users to create permanent snap-shots of favorite websites, articles, eBooks, etc. that they wanted to save in their own Notebooks. SpringPad was also a beneficial tool for nutrition professionals because it allowed them to collaborate on ideas and events and share information easily and effectively.

SpringPad truly lived up to their motto, “everyday life, done better”.  SpringPad tirelessly worked around the individual’s schedule to help simplify their everyday lives. SpringPad not only enhanced a user’s life but it also personalized their experience based on their likes and interests. Farewell SpringPad, you will be greatly missed. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Screencast-O-Matic - Easy and fun screen casting on your computer

Special thanks to Vehik Nazaryan, University of Maryland dietetic intern, for this post.

Screencast-O-Matic is a free and fun screen capturing tool used by 10,000 YouTube users and tech supporters to record anything on a computer screen.

Different users find screen casting an effective communication tool
Screencast-O-Matic is being used by teachers, students, tech supporters and YouTube users. Teachers are using screen casting to record lectures for their students. Students are using screen casting to collaborate for group projects. People involved in tech support find screen casting a very efficient way to show users how to solve a problem.

Specifications that make Screencast-O-Matic an outstanding tool for users
Screencast-O-Matic is a java-based screenshot tool that enables users to capture screen and webcam videos on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. Creating and publishing materials with Screencast-O-Matic is easy! You can drag, resize and reshape the selection frame to adjust its size to the appropriate recording area. Sccreencast- O-Matic users need to go to Screencast-O-Matic’s website at to create a free account. A registered user can record performed actions on their computer screen and narration into a microphone in unison. The screen casts can be saved in MP4, AVI, or FLV formats and then uploaded to screencast-O-Matic’s web site or You Tube channel.

Benefits to Registered Dietitians and Other Nutrition Professionals
Screencast-O-Matic can be used by dietitians, dietetic interns and other nutrition professionals to create screen casts for clients, employees and the general population. Registered dietitians and other nutrition professionals in different areas of practice can pre-record videos for employee in-service trainings and save on training time. In addition, Screencast-O-Matic can be used to create nutrition education videos on different topics to address the nutritional needs of the general population. Nutrition bloggers can use Screencast-O-Matic to create an engaging blogging experience for their readers by sharing pre-recorded videos as part of their blogs. Dietetic interns can use this tool to make videos of supervised activities for their professional websites.

Screencast-O-Matic is a convenient and useful tool that has many applications and will allow dietitians to better engage their audiences while saving time.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Wunderlist: A Wonderful Way to Get Things Done

Special thanks to Christina Kalafsky, University of Maryland Dietetic Intern, for this post.

This task management tool is the easiest way to manage and share your daily to-do lists. Whether working on projects, planning a conference trip or remembering to pick up something from the grocery store, this app can help you stay organized both  in your professional and personal life. 

Wunderlist stands out among the endless productivity and task management apps. 
  • Wunderlist can be accessed virtually anywhere! This app automatically syncs across your desktop, smartphone, and tablet. 
  • Wunderlist was named Apple’s “2013 App of the Year” and has over 6 million users.
  • Wunderlist is so simple to use and it’s free! 
To use Wunderlist, you first start by making your specific lists. You can have a list dedicated to strictly internship-related tasks, another list exclusively for personal tasks, and a separate list for managing your nutrition blog. Once you’ve created your lists, you fill them up with related to-dos. Simply click on a list and start typing the name of the task into the input field at the top. When you’re done, just press Enter and the new item is added to your list. 

You can also add additional details to each task within a list. Just double-click on the task and Wunderlist gives you the ability to add a due-date, set a reminder, add sub-tasks, and attach files to the task. You can then prioritize the to-dos within a list by dragging them into the order that you want or you can let Wunderlist alphabetize them by name or sort your tasks by due-date. You can also share lists with your coworkers or with clients in order to collaborate. Once you have completed a task, simply click on the checkbox next to its name and the task will get crossed off and dim in appearance. This task will then move to the “Completed Items” list. 

You can upgrade Wunderlist to the Pro version for $4.99/month or $49.99/year. This package allows you to add comments to individual tasks, assign tasks to other people, and create unlimited sub-tasks. 

Wunderlist is a great way for dietetic interns, RDs, and other nutrition professionals to get things done and stay organized!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spotlight on: Barbara Lohse, Associate Professor at the Department of Nutritional Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University

This post continues the series of interviews we started in 2012 to learn more about our fellow SNEB members and the inspirational work they are doing. 

Tell us about yourself and your current position. 
Currently I am an Associate Professor at The Pennsylvania State University and have been here for 10 years.  I teach nutrition education at the graduate and undergraduate level and have taught nearly any other nutrition course offered.  I am involved in the SNAP-Ed program in Pennsylvania as the PI for evaluation, program development and policy.  Most of my time is spent directing the Nutrition Education Engineering and Designs (NEEDs) Center (, which is devoted to establishing an evidence-base to nutrition education materials and strategies.  This includes providing services for survey/instrument development, and intervention development or assessment.  

Beyond work, involvement with my family keeps me grounded. My family includes my husband Don Fischman, a retired physician scientist from Weill Cornell Medical School, a son and daughter, five step children, and as of three months ago a grandson, Benjamin.

What is your favorite thing about your current job?
Developing the NEEDs Center :  Working with experts in health literacy, technology, graphics art  to develop and evaluate nutrition education strategies has been very rewarding.  When I walked into a free clinic recently to put up some recruitment flyers and saw two people viewing our programs on a digital photo frame, I was humbled by the need for these materials---this wasn’t just some academic exercise. 

How did you know you wanted to work in the field of nutrition? 
I was fascinated by physiology, chemistry, and biology and saw nutrition as a way to apply those interests.  Nutrition education helped me combine these interests with my curiosity about psychology and behavior. 

What three things you would recommend students and young professional to focus on in order to be successful in what they do?
This is quite a broad question!  So I’ll give a broad answer.  I always suggest that students attain characteristics of  Reasonable Adventurers, a personality profile defined by Roy Health in the 1950s that found to be associated with success in life.  Reasonable Adventurers  1) have a breadth of interests; 2) a sense of humor; 3) an ability to form close friendships; 4) an ability to tolerate ambiguity; 5) approach problems from an intellectual perspective; and 6) show independence in their value judgments. 

How do you think we as educators can better communicate with our audiences? 
To communicate means to join others where they are and engage in dialogue; no matter if the strategy is face-to-face, blogging, texting, in print, etc…  We must continue to strive to help the client meet their needs, not meet our agendas.  The words “get” and “should” are not appropriate in genuine communication activities. 

There are numerous initiatives and changes currently underway with regard to our food and physical environment.  What do you think about these changes, and in your opinion, which has the most potential to really make an impact for a healthier population?  
Yes, there are many things that impact nutrition education. Adding new technologies to nutrition education and altering how educators spend their one-on-one time with clients and learners will have a strong  impact.  Also, increased attention to looking at nutrition in context with other factors, e.g., physical activity, social environment, socio-econonomic position, personal goals is having an impact.  Availability of public and private funding to design, disseminate, implement and evaluate nutrition education affects public health.  However,  in my opinion, establishing dissemination and implementation science as a discipline with recognition by funding agencies and development of  focused journals  will significantly improve research on nutrition education interventions and translation to public health concerns. 

What 5 foods are always in your pantry?   
Olive oil, eggs, bagels, nuts, some type of fruit.  Because I’m a Minnesota native, I usually stock wild rice too.

What do you like to do on your days off?   
Days off?  When I have down time, I like to watch detective shows on Netflix and take long walks.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Landcam - an easy tool to to edit and share photos

Special thanks to Annie Galagher, University of Maryland dietetic intern, for this post. 

Landcam is an all-in-one camera and square photo editor available for iPhone. With over 30 filters, 35 fonts and 100 creative effects, Landcam enhances photos to one-of-a-kind pieces of art that are personalized and appealing. 

To use Landcam, first take a picture and then determine which color filter enhances the photo best. There are over 15 color filters to choose from to ensure a perfect picture. After the color filter, there are 13 other filters to intensify the affect of the photo. These filters include clarity, temperature, sharpen, blur, saturation, exposure, brightness, contrast, fade, highlights, grains, orange fix, and green fix. All of the filters or none of the filters can be used, however, I believe the contrast and sharpen filters add quality and value to every photo. Filters are followed by Effects, which include fonts, borders, shapes, sketches, and textures. Similar to Filters, all of or none of the Effects can be used. Fonts make it possible to add text and labels, while sketches add little graphics or drawings to the picture. These Effects add some fun to the photograph. Finally, after the filters and effects are applied, the photo is ready to be saved and shared. Due to its "square" photo feature, its main use is for Instagram, the on-line, photo sharing social network. However, photos edited using Landcam can also be shared using Twitter and Facebook, and can be exported to the iPhone for later use.

Landcam is used by tourists, fashionistas, florists, and both amateur and professional photographers. Landcam is an international app, with many of its users native to Europe and Asia. Landcam can be a valuable tool in the blogging community. This is because if nutritional professionals use this app to enhance photos of nutritious foods and healthy lifestyle activities, they can draw more people in toward their advice and expertise in the nutrition field.