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

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

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 (www.needscenter.org), 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. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Make your ideas speak for themselves with Piktochart

Special thanks to Leigh Tracy, University of Maryland dietetic intern, for this post. 

Piktochart is a great tool for making visually appealing infographics; its user-friendly features can make any amateur look like a professional designer. 

Choosing, creating, and personalizing your infographic is easy and fun. Piktochart provides tutorials, written instructions, and answers to frequently asked questions at your fingertips. Infographics can be published directly to Facebook, Twitter, and Google + and users have the option to download and save designs on their desktops as a JPEG or PNG file. 

Harvard University and Cornell University currently utilize Piktochart, along with many non-profits such as AIDS Fondent (AIDS Foundation of Denmark), Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation, and The Bank Workers Charity (UK). Piktochart is well represented on social media, and has over 15,000 followers between Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. 

You can download this infographic by Harvard School of Public Health here. 

Using Piktochart will help RDs and other nutrition professionals to advertise nutrition information in a consumer friendly way that is not only visually appealing, but also easy to understand. Nutrition educators can make diet education infographics for topics ranging from carb counting to sodium intake. Piktochart also allows nutrition professionals to promote businesses by highlighting their best features. 

Users can decide to purchase the Pro version for as low as $14 per month or use a free version. The Pro version gives the user access to over 100 professional themes and 1,000 icons/images from the library and enables users to export the infographic as HTML. The free version provides 13 professional themes with many icons and images to choose from in the library. 


Piktochart is a time saving tool that will help you create professional, consumer friendly messages.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

MealLogger makes food journaling easy and fun

Special thanks to Stacy Kim, University of Maryland intern, for this post. 
MealLogger is a free, easy-to-use app that takes the tedium out of food journaling. Although studies have shown that participants who keep food journals are more likely to lose weight and keep it off versus those who do not, maintaining detailed logs of food intake can be time-consuming. MealLogger is a food journal app that allows users to track meals using photographs, eliminating the need to keep detailed calorie counts. Users are also able to document daily weights, hours of sleep, and number of steps taken, and can sync their records to fitness apps such as Fitbit or Runkeeper. With the optional capability to record notes, users can include information such as moods or stress.
 

People can use MealLogger socially by joining groups of members with similar interests, such as weight loss, or by creating their own community to use with friends or family. They can also search for a dietitian in their area using the app and give them direct access to their food journal to help reach nutrition goals.  If they are already seeing a dietitian, they can either connect through the app or print out logs to bring to in-person appointments by signing in through the website. A dietitian can help pinpoint behaviors that are delaying progress using the client’s actual eating habits and trends.
There are some drawbacks to the app. The app is able to create graphs that trend calorie intake, number of hours slept, etc., but it requires the user to constantly input reliable data. Users who would like to track calorie intake may find it difficult since the app is not linked to a food database, and food labels may not always be available. Also, photographs may not accurately reflect portion size or how much of the food was consumed.  

MealLogger is simple to use long term and can motivate people who enjoy using technology to meet their health and weight loss goals. For people who wish to monitor overall trends in their eating habits versus detailed nutrition intake, MealLogger is a great tool for dietitians to recommend.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Vizualize.me: Visualize your resume in one click

Special thanks to  Lauren Wathen, a university of Maryland dietetic intern, for this post.

Vizualize.me is a free, online formatting program that takes traditional text resumes from boring and lengthy, to fun and visually appealing.

What can it do?
Social media is a popular way to connect and interact, so why not use it as a valuable resource for say, finding a job? This application can help transform your LinkedIn account or personal resume into an infographic. Your experience and education can be charted on a graph, making your qualifications easily visible. It also displays your interests, special skills, languages spoken, and honors and awards. Employers want to see initiative and innovation – this unique tool could help set you apart.

How does it work?
The first step is to create an account and there are two options for this: you can connect using your Linkedin Profile and it will transfer all of the information from your account into the program. If you do not have a Linkedin account or choose not to use it, you can create a username and password and manually add your resume information.



Once you’ve created an account, you can change the theme, style, and edit your data. You can highlight your skills, interests, and even stats such as years of experience. Once it’s saved, you are able to share it on social media via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or e-mail. You can also embed an icon onto your website. Vizualize.me© also has a “Dashboard” feature that can give statistics on “Total Profile Views”, “Average Daily Views”, and can chart this information.

The Pros and Cons
The field of nutrition and dietetics is becoming more and more competitive. This unique tool will set you apart from other candidates and showcase your initiative and creativity. It could be highly beneficial in the social media arena; however, in a more professional setting it may not be appropriate. Since everything is laid out visually, it makes it much easier for potential employers to see what exactly you have to offer as a candidate. It could also be a great marketing tool for potential clients since they can quickly see what interests and experience you have. With the MyStats tool you could even highlight some of your accomplishments, such as number of clients and patients seen, weight loss program successes, advanced education, etc.

Since the average hiring manager spends only 6.25 seconds looking at a candidate’s resume, a graphic will make the most of that time. The great advantage of an infographic resume is that your experience, interests, and skills are displayed easily, potentially minimizing the amount of time spent in the hiring process since recruiters can quickly determine if you meet the qualifications. On the other hand, it can also help to eliminate candidates more quickly. For example, if the position is looking for someone with at least five years of experience, and it’s easy to see you only have 2-3 years, they can immediately eliminate yours. 


Using this type of format to showcase your skills and qualifications can be advantageous. It can make the time spent looking at your resume more meaningful and quickly draws attention to what you have to offer as a candidate. Visualize.me is simple to use and can give a fresh, new look to traditional resumes. Make yourself stand out.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Smore: Flawless digital flyers

Special thanks to Christine Spahn, a university of Maryland dietetic intern, for this post. 

Have you been looking for ways to share nutrition information with a new audience or promote health events? Smore is an online flyer that can be produced on your own computer and shared digitally through many avenues to reach a wide online audience.

Smore takes all the difficulty out of making flawless and creative flyers that are personalized for your needs. You can choose from a variety of backgrounds and insert text boxes, photos, videos, Google maps, audio, forms, or embed any link you may want to share. You can add your own flare by changing fonts and colors to make the flyer pop. It is impossible to create an unattractive flyer with the prompting provided by Smore. Colors and fonts are made available after you choose a background, so everything is coordinated and looks great. 

Once you have created your flyer, press “done editing”, and get ready to share your creation. It is as easy as a click of a button to add your flyer to Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, Google plus, and Pinterest. It is also possible to embed your flyer on your company or personal website to be viewed, or send it out in an email to a mailing list of your choice. The helpful analytics provided by Smore show you how many views you are getting from each source so you can pinpoint your best avenue for advertising. 


Create and share your flyer for free with this promotional tool. A $19 per month fee allows you to add your own custom backgrounds, get prints and JPEGs and minimizes the Smore branding seen on your flyer.  For $49 dollars a month you are able to send out more emails and track who accesses your flyer via these links. For $99 per month Smore provides you with expert support when designing your flyer and emailing your mailing list. Finally, educators get a special discount for $59 per year that allows custom backgrounds, increased privacy settings, removes all Smore logos and toolbars, and enables email tracking so they are able to tell if their students are reading their newsletters.
 
Nutrition professionals will be able to use this tool to promote cooking classes and other events they host. It will enable them to reach a new audience through utilizing Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  RD’s can draw attention to science based nutrition information with Smore. For example, if there is a debate going on about artificial sweeteners causing weight gain, a dietitian could easily produce a flyer and share it to quell any misinformation. Increase nutrition knowledge from the comfort of your home or spread the word on your different events with Smore!