Tag Archives: nutrition

Cancer Fighting Foods

It has been estimated by the National Cancer Institute that approximately one-third of all cancer deaths may be diet related. Although no single food item can cure cancer itself, filling your diet with the right nutrients can help prevent cancer, and in some cases aid in cancer survival.

“The easiest, least-expensive way to reduce your risk for cancer is just by eating a healthy diet,” says Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon, PhD, MPH, RD, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute. By eating a healthy diet you are decreasing your risk of obesity which can lead to many forms of cancer. When it comes to a diet rich in cancer-fighting substances, most experts agree that your plate should consist of at least two-thirds plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes) and minimal animal fats. “If you have two-thirds of plant food on your plate, that seems to be enough to avoid excessive amounts of food high in saturated fat,” says Karen Collins, RD, nutritional advisor for the American Institute for Cancer Research. That being said, complete elimination of animal foods is not necessary, however, be sure to keep your intake under control and chose leaner options.

CancerFightingFoods

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

Look for foods rich in folate, vitamin D and antioxidants. Berries (blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries), citrus fruits (grapefruit, oranges, lemons), dark leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, arugula), cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts), legumes (beans, peas, lentils) and whole grains are all known for having cancer fighting agents. Tea contains flavonoids, known for their antioxidant effects. Ginger, garlic, tomatoes, red or purple grapes, turmeric and soy are also known as cancer fighting foods.

WHAT TO AVOID:

Avoid refined sugars and processed foods all together and keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. As for animal fats, make sure they do not fill more than one-third of your plate and chose lean meats like naturally raised chicken, turkey, and fish while opting for skim milk and low-fat cheeses.

Sources:

American Institute for Cancer Research http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/

WebMD http://www.webmd.com/cancer/features/top-cancer-fighting-foods

Building a Healthy Plate – Vegetables

When building a healthy plate at meal time, you want it to be filled with one half non-starchy vegetables, one quarter lean protein and one quarter quality carbohydrate. Read on for part three on vegetables, in our three week series on building a healthy plate. Perfect-Plate

 

Vegetables are natural, nutrient rich foods that provide the vitamins and minerals vital for health and maintenance of your body such as potassium, fiber, folate and vitamins A, E and C. Vegetables are low in calories and have practically nonexistent fat and cholesterol content. Eating a diet rich in vegetables may reduce your risk for stroke, cancer, heart diseases, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes and many other chronic diseases. So, how many vegetables should you be consuming each day? For each meal you should aim to fill half of your plate with vegetables. This will equate to approximately 1 cup of most raw or cooked vegetables or 2 cups of raw leafy greens per meal, but don’t hold back! J Your vegetables may be consumed in any form: raw, cooked, frozen, canned, or dried. If you are one of the many individuals who find vegetables to be bland, try experimenting with different seasonings. On the other side, covering your vegetables with high fat sauces and dressings will contradict their health benefits mentioned above. Below are some vegetable ideas to fill your plate:

 

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Making a Healthy Smoothie

Green smoothies are gaining popularity because of all the nutrition and hydration you can pack in a convenient glass on your way out the door in the morning. They are quick to make, clean up and you only need a blender to get started. Since nutritional deficiency has been proven to lead to chronic overeating and poor quality food choices, the green smoothie can be a game changer for those looking to effortlessly add more nutrition to their diet for weight improvement. A smoothie made with the right ingredients contains high amounts of water, fiber and protein so you feel as satisfied as you would normally after eating a meal. Below are some ingredients to consider adding to your smoothie and some ingredients to avoid.

 

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The BEST choice is to choose unsweetened options.

Water, coconut water, fat free or low fat cow’s milk, and unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, and soy milk.

 

smoothie steps-02The BEST choice is to use raw, leafy green veggies.
Spinach, kale, romaine, bok choy, swiss chard, collards, dandelion, turnip greens, beet greens, carrots, avocados, cucumbers.

 

smoothie steps-03

The BEST choice is low sugar fresh or frozen fruits.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and tangerines.

 

smoothie steps-04

The BEST choice is choosing a high protein ingredient.
Protein powders, hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seed, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cayenne pepper), vanilla extract, acai powder, unsweetened cocoa powder and natural nut butters.

 

Once you added your ingredients, add a few ice cubes to your blender and then start blending until you have a smooth consistency. If you want your smoothie thicker, add more ice cubes. If you are using frozen fruits, you might not need any ice cubes at all. If you are getting chunks of ingredients after you mix up your smoothie, then you might want to consider upgrading your blender.

Stay away from ingredients like sugar-sweetened fruit juice or concentrate, sweetened or flavored yogurts, ice cream/sorbet, whipped cream or any kind of sugary candy. If you are trying to improve your weight, then I would also avoid high sugar fruits such as grapes, bananas, mangos, sweet cherries, apples, pineapples, pears and kiwi fruit.

Everyone’s tastes buds and nutritional needs are unique and there are a million different combinations of ingredients when it comes to green smoothies. Take time to experiment and find what combination works best for you (and your family) and then share your favorite RAWkstar recipe on our Weigh and Win Facebook page!

Healthy Lunch Do’s and Don’ts

Do'sRemember to measure out proper portions ahead of time. A well-balanced plate includes:

  • Quality Carbohydrate (the size of your fist) i.e. whole grain breads, rice, quinoa, etc.
  • Lean Protein (the side of your palm) i.e. turkey, chicken, seafood, lean beef, tofu, etc.
  • Fruits and Vegetables – fill up the rest of your plate with your favorite fruits and veggies!
More Tips:
  • Pack your lunches ahead of time or plan to make enough at dinner for healthy leftovers the next day.
  • Use condiments like hummus, mustard, balsamic dressings, pesto, and salsa to flavor your dishes.
  • Purchase some compartmentalized Tupperware containers for easy lunch storage.
  • Pack additional small snacks to eat throughout the day i.e. nuts, fruit, veggies, protein bar, cheese stick, Greek yogurt etc.
  • Put some thought into packing your lunch. If you throw something together as you are running out the door in the morning chances are you may not be too excited about it when lunch time comes around and you may be tempted to make a trip to your cafeteria instead.
  • Take a break to eat your lunch. Remove yourself from your desk and invite a co-worker to join you for lunch outside or in another common area to remove yourself from your work for a few minutes and to allow your brain time to recharge.
  • Make sure you are properly storing and heating your lunches brought from home.
  • Always have back-up staples on hand so on the days when you wake up and realize you don’t have a lunch planned you will always have something easy to fall back on. i.e. a bag of spinach and cooked chicken for a salad.
  • If your schedule allows, go on a walk after lunch!

lunch-don'ts

  • Avoid using excess creamy sauces and condiments – i.e. cheese sauces, creamy dressings, mayonnaise, etc.
  • Avoid including sugary sweets/desserts in your lunch.
  • Try to avoid purchasing your lunch every day since you cannot be 100% positive of what is going into your meal if it is made by someone else. You will save money too!
  • Don’t make it a habit to eat your lunch at your desk every day. This can lead to mindless eating.

HEALTHY-IDEAS

  • Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with hummus and veggies
  • Tuna and whole wheat crackers with a side of fruit
  • Spinach salad topped with chicken, craisins, feta cheese and balsamic dressing
  • Whole wheat crackers, sliced turkey, cheese and a side of your favorite fruit or veggie
  • Combine turkey bacon, lettuce and tomato in a whole wheat tortilla to make a BLT wrap
  • Rice bowl with brown rice, chicken and chopped peppers and onions

Check out the Nutrition section of your daily coaching emails for more healthy lunch ideas!

 

Healthier Pasta Ways

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Healthier “Pasta” Ways

While pasta may be a staple meal in your home, it is important to be mindful of the ingredients included in your favorite dishes.  Here are some ways that let you enjoy comfort food while getting some extra nutrients along the way.

Add More Vegetables

Make a meat sauce with lots of fresh vegetables. Instead of using canned pasta sauce, which tends to be loaded with sugar, make a sauce using sautéed and blended vegetables. Bake, roast or grill carrots, leeks, onions, celery, peppers and tomatoes until thoroughly cooked. Use a hand blender to puree the mixture for a sauce that now has a full serving of vegetables, and no sugar!

Choose Whole Grains

When picking from different types of pasta, choose a whole grain option when possible. When compared to the traditional, bleached pastas, whole grains give you more Vitamin B and tons of added fiber.

Try Pasta Substitutions

Spaghetti Squash: Simply using a fork to scrape out the insides of the cooked squash gives it the same appearance as spaghetti. It has vitamins A and C, and magnesium and can protect against some forms of heart disease.

Zucchini Noodle: Using a peeler, zucchini can make the perfect spaghetti substitute. This option is rich in fiber and can even help lower cholesterol.

Soba Noodles: Made from buckwheat and originally from Japan, Soba noodles are high in protein and could lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Find them in the Asian foods aisle of your local grocery store.

Quinoa Pasta: Known as a super grain, quinoa tastes just like regular pasta, but has more potassium, magnesium and calcium for stronger bones and teeth.

Black Bean Spaghetti: Although the dark appearance might be something to get used to, black bean pasta has almost 20.5 grams of protein per serving.

Control Portion Sizes

Determining the correct serving size can be difficult. Keep in mind appropriate portion sizes when eating pasta. Stick to ½ cup or a fist size portion of carbohydrates and pasta.