Top tips to look your best for video calls

Have you been using video calls for everything these days?  It’s a challenging transition for some people and an exponential learning curve for others.  So if you’re unsure how to set yourself up for video call success you’re not alone!  What I’ve learned from years of working online is that it takes time to discover what best suits each team and situation.  For example, this week my Entrepreneurship class students successfully conducted mock interviews online, I joined virtual team meetings with flair and shared engaging presentations with colleagues.  Each video call had different challenges and this is becoming the new normal.  After reflecting with others about their recent video call learning journey I discovered some easy tips that can help any video caller look and feel their best.  Here are my top tips to support your online video calls.

  1. Elevate your camera
    Do you notice when people are looking ‘down’ at you from their laptops and as you watch them you can almost see up their noses? Or do you sometimes see a ceiling while the other person is only in partial view?  These are common problems when people have their devices sitting on a table or in their lap during a video call.
    TIP: Elevate your computer or phone camera to your eye level.  Use a stack of books like I did in the image above. (You can spy some of my favourite cookbooks in the pile under the laptop). A shoe box or other sturdy cardboard can also help raise your computer or phone so you’re eye to eye in video conversation.
  2. Make eye contact
    Sometimes it’s hard to know where to look on a video call. You may have documents open and papers on your desk. You may also be looking at yourself to see if all is going well with you on line. However, when you’re speaking it’s important to look up and make eye contact directly with the camera for the best connection with others.
    TIP: Place a sticky note behind your camera to draw your attention to the right place to look at, which is directly at the lens.
  3. Leverage light
    Light makes everyone look good, but it has to come from the right direction. Not from the side, or from the screen’s blue light underneath your face, or from the ceiling above your head.
    TIP:  Sit facing a window and let the daylight brighten your face. You can also place a simple desk lamp behind your computer. Position the lamp right over the lens of your device to limit shadows and cast a soft light on your face.
  4. Eliminate background distractions
    Cluttered backgrounds and movements are all distractions. You may want to check any personal items that are behind you and remove those you don’t want to share in view. If possible don’t have people walking around behind you. If you’re on a mobile device don’t walk around because your background changes distract viewers.
    TIP:  Find as neutral a background as possible and stay there while on a video call.
  5. Smile often
    Do you like to see a happy face? Most people do! So why not draw a happy face icon on the sticky note and place it above your video camera. When you see a smiley face looking at you, you’ll more likely smile back too. Remember to sit back and not get too close to the camera because the lens might distort your face and exaggerate your nose and chin.
    TIP:  Sit back and smile often at the happy face sticker above your camera.

Good luck as you prepare to look your best for video calls! Feel free to share our infographic with tips widely.

Clean and sanitize your kitchen surfaces like a food safety pro during COVID-19

You can protect yourself from COVID-19 by preventing the spread of germs. Although there are not many studies on COVID-19 specifically, scientists suggest that what we know works against other coronaviruses could work against this new strain too. Well known food safety cleaning and sanitizing practices can kill many different kids of harmful germs that cause disease.  Consider these expert tips for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces you use for food handling and preparation to reduce your risk of COVID-19 exposure.

3 Food safety rules to sanitize kitchen surfaces

  1. CLEAN: Remove dirt by washing down surfaces using warm soapy water & rinse with clean water.
  2. SANITIZE: This step reduces the harmful germs to safe levels on surfaces so illness is less likely to occur. Before preparing meals food safety pro’s make sure that counters, cutting boards and work surfaces are sanitized first. Chemicals approved as sanitizes for food-contact surfaces in food-service are chlorine, iodine and quaternary ammonium. Diluted chlorine bleach is a very effective sanitizer that is easy to make at home too. You can make your own sanitizing spray using 1 tsp (5 mL) bleach for every 3 cups (750 mL) of water. (Ministry of Health & LTC Ontario)  This sanitization method works for both plastic and wooden cutting board, taps, sinks and other surfaces. (Note: Bleach is NOT recommended for marble or stone countertops!)
  3. AIR DRY: Let surfaces air dry or dry with a clean disposable paper towel.

 

More tips on cleaning and sanitizing in the kitchen are available at this link: https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/foodnut/kitchen-sanitize.pdf

Serving food safely during COVID-19

Since COVID19 arrived, you already know about the importance of hand washing. This is a great first step in handling food safely. Remember to use the WHO method to wash your hands every time before touching food or setting the table.

When it comes to serving food safely there are some additional simple steps you can take to help you keep germs at bay. For example, don’t let your fingers touch the surfaces of of dishes or utensils that come into contact with mouths or food. Here are some examples and tips to help you build your healthy habits and serve food safely during COVID-19 and beyond.

  1. Don’t put your thumb on top of a plate to hold it.
    Hold plates underneath with your thumb on the rim.
  2. Don’t touch the inside or lip of a cup.
    Use the cup handle instead
  3. Don’t let others touch the lid of your beverage container that comes in contact with your mouth!
    Ask the cup to be handed to you and place the lid on yourself.
    If others bring you a lidded cup consider removing it before you drink it.
    Pour canned or bottled beverages into a clean cup instead of bringing the can or bottle to your lips.
  4. Keep your hands off  the bowl of a spoon or prongs of a fork.
    Grip utensils by the handle and don’t let handles touch the food.
  5. Don’t share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils.
    Wash your dishes well in hot soapy water after each use.

Keep well and remember it is important to get information from credible, trustworthy sources during this time. Dietitians are regulated health professionals committed to providing evidence-based advice and information that is tailored to your personal needs and challenges. For the latest and most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit Health Canada at www.canada.ca/coronavirus

COVID-19 Q-A on food and nutrition

Food is essential and unites us all. You may have some questions about how to eat, prepare and shop for food during these uncertain times. Here are top five COVID-19 related food and nutrition Questions and Answers  to help you manage. Dietitians are registered health professionals who translate the science to deliver reliable life-changing advice.  What’s your food and nutrition question?  Send them to us here or via social media Twitter/Instagram @LuciaWeilerRD 

  • Q 1: Can I get sick with COVID-19 from touching food or food packaging?
    A: Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.  Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects. For that reason, please be mindful when shopping. If you touch it you buy it!  Also continue to follow general food safety advice including these:
    1.  Wash hands thoroughly after handling shopping bags and before preparing food.
    2.  Clean food preparation surfaces with soap and water.
    3. Wash fresh food well before eating it, especially if you eat the skin and are not cooking it.
    4. Cook meat thoroughly and separate cooked and uncooked foods.
    5.  Refrigerate cooked food within 2 hours and at eat leftovers within 3 days or put in freezer for later use.
  • Q 2: Can I boost my immune system through my diet?
    A: Simply put, you cannot “boost” your immune system through diet, and no specific food or supplement will prevent you catching COVID-19/Coronavirus. Good hygiene practice remains the best means of avoiding infection.  Many nutrients are involved in the workings of a healthy immune system and dietary recommendations are to eat a variety of healthy foods each day to support the body’s immune function.
  • Q 3: Can eating garlic help prevent infection?
    A: Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties, however, there is NO evidence that garlic protects people from  COVID19 infection.
  • Q4: How do I wash my hands properly?
    A: With soap and water (warm and cold are both OK). Take your time…20 seconds and use the WHO approved techniques shown in this image:
  • Q 5: What could I do to prepare for Covid-19 food-wise?
    At this time, it makes sense to stock up on non-perishable food items so that you do not need to go shopping if you become sick, but avoid panic buying.  Add a few extra items with a long shelf life to your grocery cart that are easy-to-prepare foods you already enjoy.
    • Veggies & Fruit – any of fresh, frozen, canned are OK. Fresh carrots, potatoes, onions, squash, beets and cabbage tend to last longer at room temperature.
    • Grains – dried pasta, rice, oatmeal, popcorn
    • Protein – canned or dried beans, canned fish, meat, powdered milk or shelf stable milk alternatives.
    • Ready to eat, heat and serve foods are OK. Veggie soups, ready to eat frozen meals can help fill the gap.
    • You can still ENJOY your meals; COOK more often, EAT TOGETHER in your home as much as possible while practicing social distancing.

Keep well and remember it is important to get information from credible, trustworthy sources during this time. Dietitians are regulated health professionals committed to providing evidence-based advice and information that is tailored to your personal needs and challenges. For the latest and most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit Health Canada at  www.canada.ca/coronavirus

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 food & nutrition trends for 2020

Are you looking to keep up with food, beverage and nutrition trends? As dietitians we love helping people unlock the power of food for health and wellness. Our team is on top of food and nutrition movements and we know how to translate the latest science on key trends. Here we share some highlights that are of interest to many of our clients.

  1. Fragmented food communities
    Consumers are splitting into ‘tribes’ to meet their health goals based on philosophies and preferences. Wellness communities are emerging that bring people closer together.
  2. Food as medicine
    What’s a fact what’s a myth? Celebrity opinions, friends/family, blogs and social media influence food choices but there are risks! Personal beliefs and opinions may be confused with scientific evidence and hold people back from achieving their health goals. To unlock the power of food for health, look for credible science based facts from registered health experts.
  3. Fat has rehabilitated
    What are healthy fats and how are they good for you? Discover fat quality for health and culinary arts.
  4. Protein sources are pivoting
    Plant forward proteins are all the rage, but do you know how to get enough? What’s happening to meat, dairy and alternatives?
  5. Carbohydrates are under the microscope
    Are all sugars created equal? Discover the dietitians’ Carb quality meter for best bets.
  6. Vitamins, Minerals and phytochemicals have important health impact
    Vitamins and Minerals are powerful partners in health & wellness. Which are of key public health significance? Determine the latest science behind other food compounds such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
  7. Shifting focus to food relationships & mental health
    Healthy eating is about so much more than food – how people eat is important too. Look for mindful eating, enjoying food and the power of planning to eat well and live well.
  8. Digestive comfort
    Get to know your microbiome & how to be a good host to your friendly gut bacteria.
  9. Taking care of our planet
    Sustainability and waste reduction are here to stay. What can you do to make a positive difference?
  10. Taking care of people – health and wellness as a business strategy
    The future is bright for integrating health science and wellness into workplaces. From recruiting to retention and employee assistance programs (EAP) dietitians help people and businesses unlock the power of food for healthy living.

Do you want to leverage food and nutrition trends for yourself and your business?

Studies show the strength and benefit of interprofessional, collaborative teams in business and education. Dietitians can enable a culture of change that supports healthy living for all Canadians. We translate the science, look beyond the fads and gimmicks to deliver reliable, life changing advice. Contact us with your questions! We’d love to hear from you.

Join us for the 13th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course on April 28, 2020.
Get our expert nutrition insights, trends & sparks!
Register at www.NutritionForNonNutritionists.com