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Lots of Ways to Learn & Improve Nutrition

National Nutrition Month EatRight Personalize Your Plate

March is National Nutrition Month. Do you know what’s good for you to eat? Would you like to improve your diet? Well, the library has some great resources to help you learn about nutrition! These resources are available for all PLYMC library card holders, with most found on the Health Resources webpage and others from our Digital Resources webpage. But this blog will also cover some helpful free internet sites and even free health apps for your smartphone (although most apps do require in-purchase fees to use all their services). 

First, let’s take a look at the online resources: 

Universal Class offers over 500 fully accredited courses – free to all library card holders! When you login and browse the course catalog for ‘Nutrition,’ here are some of the courses you will find: 

UniversalClass Nutrition Courses screenshots

As you can see, not only do they have two classes devoted to learning all about nutrition, but there are even more classes to choose 

  • Childhood Obesity is an important course for anyone with children.  According to the CDC, 1 in 5 children in the U.S. are affected by obesity, and this can lead to long term health issues. Universal Class has set up this course “to offer help to any parents out there who already have overweight children and want to help them get healthy and slim down safely. We also want this course to serve as a resource for all parents concerned with healthy eating habits, exercise, and everyday issues to prevent childhood obesity.” 
  • Weight Loss Management is a great course to help anyone looking to learn healthy ways to control your diet and lose excess weight for the long term. As they note, “this course will look at common weight loss roadblocks and propose suggestions for overcoming them. It will discuss the health risks of being overweight, the real economic costs of weight, assessing your current weight level, and establishing a goal weight. It will also provide extensive information about nutrition and exercise for weight management. 
  • Lifetime Wellness 101 is a course designed for everyone at any age to help improve your health both inside and out. “Learn about weight and diet, and the importance of exercise to maintain good health.  You’ll explore new ways to define yourself, not only by past accomplishments but by the possibilities you create for the future. 
  • Diabetes 101 is that may be very helpful to many individuals as the incidence of diabetes continues to increase in the United States.  Did you know that, according to both the American Diabetes Association and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases,  10.5% of the U.S. are currently living with diabetes? As part of this course, “students will learn the importance of nutrition and diet for optimal management of diabetes symptoms and conditions. 

Hoopla is another great resource to use to learn about nutrition.  Just typing ‘Nutrition’ in the search box finds over 2,900 titles from ebooks, audiobooks, movies and TV shows. You can also locate even more titles by browsing within each format.   

Hoopla Nutrition Titles Screenshot

Another library-paid resource free to all our card holders is, of course, our OverDrive eBook & Audiobook catalog.  Here we have a great special collection for nutrition seekers: Eat Fit. There are over 30 titles to choose from here: 

OverDrive Eat Fit Titles Screenshot

This small, specialized collection doesn’t cover all that’s available though.  You can type ‘Nutrition’ in the search box and find over 400 titles to choose! Plus, you can browse the Nonfiction Subject of Cooking & Food to find over 700 titles. 

There are digital magazines for PLYMC card holders, too, by using Flipster.  Here you will find nutrition-related magazines under the subject categories of Fitness & Health and Food & CookingFour magazines to try out are: 

Flipster Nutrition Titles Screenshots

Moving on to free websites, the best place to start is the website devoted to celebrating National Nutrition Month which includes a great toolkit of printable handouts for you and your family. Did you know that learning about nutrition can be fun? Well, provides games for all agessuch as a National Nutrition Month quiz, crossword puzzle, nutrition sudoku, and a word search. And there are lots and lots of helpful tip sheets – in multiple languages – on all aspects of nutrition!, under the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, has a Food & Nutrition webpage.  Here you can find the latest dietary guidelines recommended for Americans. And there is an Eat Healthy webpage. This page includes links to tips for reducing sodium in your diet and increasing calcium and folic acid, plus conversation starters to use with a loved one, and finally helpful shopping lists to take with you to the grocery store. 

There is actually a website, provided by the USDA, dedicated to dietary guidelines – Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Here you will find a printable brochure to help you start on improving your nutrition, called Start Simple with MyPlate Today. Also, there are links to MyPlate’s website for Eating Healthy on a Budget and to Get Your MyPlate Plan. 

Another great website, provided by the FDA, is their Nutrition Education Resources & Materials webpage. There’s lots of helpful information here to help us learn how to read the new nutrition facts label on foods.  Using the nutrition facts label can help you improve your nutrition, and they have provided a video to show how: 


Last, but not least, there are lots of nutrition apps available for android and iOS devices which are free to install; although most do include ‘in-app purchases’ to use all their services. But even without paying anything, they provide lots of help with their free portions! 

Nutrition Apps selection

Fooducate not only has an app for andriod and iOS devices, but also a great free website filled with tips and recipes.  The name of this app means that it educates you about food.  In order to improve your health and nutrition, you need to know what makes foods healthy or unhealthy. This app will help you learn that as it rates the healthiness of foods by scanning the nutrition label. There’s also a nutrient tracker to help you learn if you are low or missing vital nutrients in your diet. 

Eat This Much, available for android and iOS, takes a different approach. Rather than concentrating solely on nutritional foods, this app helps you choose how much to eat in order to lose weight. You put in your preferred foods, spending budget, time schedule, and how many calories you want to limit to for each meal. Then the app will create meal plans and even give you grocery lists for needed ingredients. 

ShopWell, available for android and iOS“puts a Nutritionist in your pocket.” It is specifically designed for smartphones to scan the UPC labels on items while you are shopping in the grocery store. When you install the app, you set up a profile where you can fill in any food allergies and weight management goals. Then as you scan items in the store, it will supply recommendations for healthier choices. 

Lifesum, available for android and iOS, is a calorie counting app to help you track how many calories you are eating.  It will help you create a ‘calorie plan’ for how many calories to eat at each meal through the day to keep to a daily goal. A real plus with Lifesum is that, by taking a simple quiz when you start using the app, it will create a personalized diet plan for you! 

MyPlate, available for android and iOS, is an all-in-one fitness app, combining calorie counting, weight management, recipes, and workouts. This app provides a free nutritional analysis of your macronutrient intake. Lots of the content is available completely free; however, meal planning guidance does require a paid subscription.  

Noom, available for android and iOSis an app that many reviews recommend as great for improving nutrition and weight loss.  This app uses a psychological approach to help discover barriers to weight loss and then provides helpful tips.  It can even provide personalized recommendations tailored to particular medical conditions. While it does have lots of free features, the 1:1 coaching, education, and quizzes require a fairly expensive subscription. It is important to note that it does not take the place of a doctor, and its coaches are not medical experts. 

These are just a few of the hundreds of health and nutrition apps available. It’s always a good idea to check for app reviews and follow these guidelines from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine when choosing apps: 

NNLM Before You Use a Health App guidelines to follow

Here’s to marching into wellness this month of March by working on learning and improving our nutrition!

Sara Churchill

Sara Churchill is the Digital Services Specialist and Assistant Supervisor in the Information Services Department at Main Library. A major fan of technology devices and computer research resources at work, she enjoys helping everyone learn to use their devices and the library's many online resources.  She loves reading Science Fiction/Fantasy books, British cozy mysteries, True Crime and other true stories, plus a past reader of horror fiction by the likes of Stephen King and John Saul (among others).  Also, she’s a big fan of Sci-fi, action, horror, spaghetti westerns, and based-on-a-true story movies.  Her blogs are for adults and the entire family to enjoy reading and trying out the many online resources free for PLYMC library cardholders to use.