Healthy Uses for Pinterest & Other Social Media

I’m a member of the Facebook-posting, Twitter-tweeting, LinkedIn-loving Generation Y. As such, I am usually interested in the newest technological gadget, not only for my own enjoyment, but also for the potential health implications. Sure, sitting in front of a screen all day is bad for you, but there are also positive aspects of technology use… for example, the fact that you can read this nutrition blog on the internet!

Pinterest_PrimaryLogo_Red_RGBThere’s a new (well, new-ish) kid on the social media block, and it’s called Pinterest.com. For those of you who haven’t heard of it yet, here’s the basic idea. As stated on their website, “Pinterest is a tool for collecting and organizing things you love.” Users make profiles and create various “boards” related to their interests. They can then “pin” items to these boards. These pins are images or videos that are taken from a website or uploaded directly. When you click on a pin, it links back to the original source, sort of like an internet bookmark. Users can “repin” others’ items and make comments on the pins.

Okay, enough background. My point is that, if used wisely, I believe Pinterest can play a fun, unique role in helping people to stay fit and eat healthy. Let me explain how.

Benefits: Users can create boards related to any topic. This includes recipe collections, workout ideas, and even inspiration boards filled with motivational quotes and pictures. These tabs can serve as an easy way to store and organize all of your favorite health-related websites and blog posts.

For example, let’s say you decide you want to try a veggie burger recipe for dinner tonight. You might search on Google and come up with 10 different delicious-sounding recipes. Since you can’t try them all right now, you can pin them to your recipe board and come back to them in the future, when you’re ready to experiment with another new version. Or, if you’re tired of your usual cardio-only workout plan and want to spice up the routine with some different calisthenics circuits, you can pin links to your favorite workout blogs so that you remember where to look next time you’re itching for a good 10-minute ab-blasting workouts.

Risks: Since users can pin anything at all, there is no filter to what you will see on the website. So you better believe that there are as many unhelpful pins on Pinterest as there are helpful ones! If you’re not careful, it’s easy to get sucked into pinning recipes for delicious, calorie-laden treats instead of the healthy dishes you meant to pin. In addition, the comments that accompany recipe pins are not monitored, so users might make claims that a given recipe is “healthy” or adheres to a certain type of diet. While some of these claims may be true, others are not. So, as with all internet-based material, you need to have your lie detector radar working on overtime to identify and expose too-good-to-be-true information.

With this in mind, here are some tips for using Pinterest, or any other social media site for that matter, to your advantage.

  • Create boards for recipes, workout ideas, and motivational images or quotes. You might also make unique boards dedicated to workout fashion, health blogs, sports competitions you’d like to enter, or anything else that interests you.
  • Don’t be shy—pin the things you like, whether you think others will enjoy them or not!
  • Use your account to help plan weekly dinner menu and exercise schedule. Otherwise, how will you remember all those awesome new things you wanted to try?! (But don’t be surprised if your get sidetracked considering your favorite outfits, a weekend home improvement project, a craft idea for your kids, etc.!)
  • Create two recipe boards: one for healthy items, and another for less-than-healthy items. This way you won’t be tempted to make chocolate lava cake for dinner instead of the veggie burgeryou had planned.
  • Don’t re-pin comments related to recipes, diets, or workout results if you’re not sure they’re true.
  • Don’t believe all the claims you read about certain pins. Check source websites to verify.
  • Follow your favorite pinners so that their recent pins show up on your board when you log in.
  • Create joint boards with friends or family members who share similar tastes and interests.
  • If you try a recipe that you’ve pinned, post a comment stating your results. This way, people will know what you thought and can benefit from your experience.
  • Don’t get discouraged if a Pinterest-inspired recipe or activity doesn’t give you the results you expected… just like cooking from a cookbook or following any other prescribed exercise plan, there is always a risk that some things just won’t work for you. Just keep trying new things until you find the right ones!

There’s a “Pin it” button on the left side of this page… might I suggest making this blog post your very first pin?!

Copyright: All content © 2010-2018 Nutrition Strategy Advisors LLC. Photographs © Donna P Feldman, unless otherwise attributed. Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited.