Sunday, November 6, 2011

Food for Thought: Selected Nutrition Exhibit Resources

I've gathered some cool links based on some interesting and useful food/nutrition resources I've come across on the Web as part of my research for an upcoming health exhibition.

The links below come from a dedicated Evernote "notebook" that I've kept during the entire reasearch and development work on the aforementioned health exhibition.  I've posted before about Evernote, but I can't enthuse enough about this FREE multi-platform, multi-device way to keep track of web pages and other digital assets (including images that you capture with your cellphone, computer, or digital camera.) Did I mention that Evernote can search the text in your captured images as well? 

But enough about Evernote, now back to the Web resources.  Here are seven sites I've selected because I think they're either handy references for anyone working on a health and/or food related project, or they're fun departures from what can often be mind-numbing discussions of Calories and portion sizes.  In no particular order:

1) Calories burned in 30 minutes:  This chart from the Harvard Medical School is a handy reference to determine "Calorie burns" for everything from Billiards to Bicycling.

2) USDA's MyPlate:  The US Department of Agriculture has dumped the old "Food Pyramid" and replaced it with the "MyPlate" scheme.  There are still different food groups, but the MyPlate icon is meant to help us all keep proper portions of the food groups on our plates as well.  Try to make at least half your grains whole grains!

3) Sugar Stacks:  One of the food ingredients we all need to keep careful track of is sugar.  But reading a label and finding 35 grams of sugar listed is a bit abstract.  Enter the site Sugar Stacks!  Here they show you visually how many cubes of sugar each grams listing for a particular food product translates to.  It's a little disconcerting to see how many cubes of sugar a can of soda contains, for example.

4) Is Your Meat Made With Meat Glue?  Technically "meat glue" is called transglutaminase, and is made from animal blood. Yum!  A glimpse at what "processed food" really means.

5) Portion Size Plate:  This graphic app from WebMD let's you see the proper size portions you should be eating of particular foods by comparing them to familiar objects like baseballs or decks of cards.  It's not just what you eat but how much you eat. 

The last two items are things I would have liked to incorporate somehow into the health exhibition, but they didn't quite make the cut.  Perhaps you'll find some use for these last two links in one of your future projects?

6) Tiny People's Wonderful World of Food:  Seattle-based artist Christopher Boffoli uses food as a jumping off point for his fanciful photographs.

7) Odors and consumer behavior in a restaurant:  Researchers found that introducing certain odors, like lavender, into a restaurant increased the length of stay of customers and the amount of food purchased.  An interesting study that emphasizes how little we understand about how our sense of smell guides some of our behavior.

I hope you find the links and sites above interesting. If you have food or health related Web resources that might be useful for exhibition or program development, please let us know in the "Comments" section below.

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