Looking to Eat Healthy?
Take this list with you to the grocery store.
This article was first published online on September 9, 2016.
Calcium-fortified soy milk
Good for: muscles, heart, bones Many people who are lactose intolerant turn to soy milk. Because of the added calcium, this drink has the same benefits as milk — plenty of calcium and protein, not to mention it contains no cholesterol, which is beneficial to those with a heart condition.
Try this: Add a splash of soy milk to your coffee, smoothie or oatmeal to skip the lactose and maintain healthy bones.
Good for: muscles, bones
With a good source of calcium and protein, low-fat cheese helps keep muscles and bones healthy.
Try this: Lightly coat two slices of whole wheat bread with extra virgin olive oil. Spread low-fat goat cheese on both slices and add some sliced cucumbers. Toast in a heated pan until both sides are golden brown.
Good for: heart, bones
Vitamin D helps your body absorb bone-healthy calcium and also helps to lower your blood pressure.
Try this: In a blender, combine a peeled orange, vanilla, honey, low-fat milk and nonfat Greek yogurt. Add ice and blend until smooth.
Good for: heart, digestion
Probiotics help with digestive health, proteins for muscular health and potassium for heart health.
Try this: Create a tasty breakfast parfait with some low-fat yogurt, fresh raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Sprinkle a tablespoon of granola on top for extra crunch.
Good for: bones, digestion
Your bones and teeth will benefit from this phosphorus-rich drink. There’s also plenty of calcium for bone health and probiotics that keep your digestive tract healthy.
Try this: Beat together eggs and sugar, then add kefir, cream and some vanilla. For extra flavor, add ingredients like honey, dark chocolate or fresh strawberries. Transfer to an ice cream machine and freeze.
Good for: heart, skin, prenatal care, preventive care
Healthy fats in an avocado help lower cholesterol while folates help during pregnancy and with cell regeneration. Vitamin B helps prevent infection and the combination of vitamins is beneficial to skin.
Try this: Mash an avocado up and mix with fresh salsa, lemon juice and salt to create your own guacamole.
Good for: heart, digestion, mental health, weight management
Pistachios, almonds and cashews are nuts that have healthy fats and are good for brain function and your heart, while fiber helps with digestion and feeling less hungry.
Try this: Toss some nuts in a summer salad or top your toast with some almond butter and honey.
Good for: heart, skin, eyes
Healthy fatty acids help regulate cholesterol, vitamin E helps with skin and eyes and vitamin K helps with blood clotting.
Try this: Cut up some carrot sticks and dunk them in olive oil-rich hummus.
Good for: skin, eyes, prenatal care
Peanuts have high folate levels and are especially good for pregnant women. They also contain vitamin E for your skin and eyes.
Try this: Add peanuts to soup or toss them in a wok with stir-fried vegetables.
Good for: heart, mental health
High in omega 3 fatty acids, walnuts help lower blood pressure.
Try this: Rather than using walnuts to top an ice cream sundae, add some to homemade trail mix.
Good for: heart, digestion Potassium and vitamin C help keep a heart healthy and an apple’s high fiber level promotes digestive health.
Try this: Whisk together plain low-fat yogurt, dill, honey mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil. Add sliced apples, grilled chicken, Swiss cheese, onion and lettuce and toss to coat in the yogurt mixture. Place on a whole wheat tortilla and fold into a wrap.
Good for: heart, weight management
High levels of potassium help to lower blood pressure and the healthy starch helps keep you feeling full longer.
Try this: Slice up some bananas and freeze. Once completely frozen, blend in a food processor until creamy. Add some dark chocolate, walnuts or other healthy toppings of your choosing.
Good for: heart, bones, digestion
Full of fiber and the antioxidant polyphenol, blackberries help prevent cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Try this: In a blender, combine cooked beetroot, frozen blackberries and cranberry juice. Whisk in low-fat yogurt for a nutritional smoothie.
Good for: mental health, weight management
High in manganese, blueberries help to speed up your metabolism and contain flavonoid, which helps maintain memory as you age.
Try this: For a quick energy boost before a workout, blend together blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, honey, lemon juice and ice until the mixture has a smoothie-like texture.
Good for: skin
Rich in vitamin C, cantaloupe increases cell reproduction to give your skin a healthy glow.
Try this: Scoop pieces of cantaloupe with a melon baller or round tablespoon. Drizzle honey or mint to add extra flavor.
Good for: heart
Cherries contain the antioxidant anthocyanin, which helps reduce inflammation and lower your cholesterol levels.
Try this: Add ripe, halved cherries, celery, walnuts and mustard vinaigrette to cooked quinoa for a quick side dish or snack.
Good for: heart, digestion, skin Known for their vitamin C contents, citrus fruits also contain flavonoid antioxidants, which may help prevent cancer as well as protect against heart disease. They’re also a good source of fiber.
Try this: Although most citrus fruits are delicious on their own, try adding some freshly squeezed orange juice to a blender with strawberries, bananas and lime juice.
Good for: heart, digestion, skin, preventive care
Cranberries contain antioxidants that help prevent urinary tract infections. They also provide plenty of vitamin C and fiber.
Try this: Spice up your morning oatmeal with sugar-free dried cranberries, honey, vanilla and cinnamon.
Good for: heart, digestion, skin, prenatal care
Pomegranates have many beneficial qualities, including vitamin K, which helps blood clot to prevent excessive bleeding. It also has plenty of fiber, vitamin C, folate and heart-healthy potassium.
Try this: Add pomegranate seeds to your summer salad, low-fat yogurt parfait or bowl of oatmeal.
Good for: heart, skin, prenatal care
One cup of strawberries contains more vitamin C than an entire orange, as well as plenty of folate and fiber. The redder the berry, the higher the level of heart-healthy anthocyanin.
Try this: For a savory spin on strawberries, toss together chopped strawberries, avocado, onion, cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice. Serve over pork tenderloin or as a salsa with baked tortilla chips.
Good for: digestion, preventive care, mental health, weight management
Less processed than white rice, brown rice has a higher fiber level as well as an array of vitamins and antioxidants that may help prevent cancer, aid in mental health and help control weight gain.
Try this: Add edamame, lime juice, rice vinegar, sesame oil and salt and pepper to cooked brown rice for a nutrient-packed side dish.
Good for: heart, muscles
Millet, a gluten-free grain, helps repair muscular damage, is high in protein and helps prevent high blood pressure.
Try this: Millet is delicious when mixed with roasted chickpeas and cauliflower. Add a mixture of nonfat Greek yogurt, lemon juice, tahini, low-sodium soy sauce and garlic drizzled on top.
Good for: heart, preventive care, weight management
Oatmeal will keep you full for hours, thanks to its high fiber content. It also helps control cholesterol and improve your immune response to infections.
Try this: Top cooked old-fashioned oats with blueberries, pure maple syrup, chopped pecans and nonfat Greek yogurt.
Good for: skin, eyes, bones, muscles, prenatal care
This grain is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine amino acids people require for a fraction of the fat or cholesterol of meat. It promotes healthy skin and eyes with vitamin E, and is a good source of fiber and folates.
Try this: For a boost of energy and extra nutrients, combine cooked quinoa, black beans, tomatoes, scallions, olive oil, salt and pepper for a hearty grain salad.
Good for: mental health, heart, skin, eyes Whole wheat contains far more B vitamins and vitamin E than its more processed counterparts. It also has been shown to contain nutrients that prevent breast and colon cancer.
Try this: Add some sautéed garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to whole wheat pasta for a quick dinner.
Good for: muscles, digestion
With plenty of fiber to help your digestion, protein for your muscles and iron to boost your energy, beans and lentils are great protein substitutes for more fatty meats.
Try this: Whisk together lime juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Combine cubed baked sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes and peppers and toss ingredients together. Serve over baby spinach.
Good for: muscles, mental health, weight management
The high level of protein compared to the low level of calories makes this ingredient particularly filling. It also has B vitamins that help the nervous system and brain.
Try this: While whisking together eggs, add some peppers, onions, spinach, tomatoes and low fat cheese to enjoy a twist on traditional scrambled eggs.
Good for: heart, mental health
Omega 3 fatty acids help brain function and heart health.
Try this: Season salmon with cayenne and salt and place on the grill. Mix sliced peaches with onion, vinegar, cayenne, salt and mint. Place grilled salmon on a bed of cooked quinoa and top with the peach mixture.
Lean Ground beef
Good for: muscles
The protein in lean ground beef is great for your muscles and the iron helps with blood oxygenation, giving you more energy.
Try this: In a large heated skillet, combine chopped onions, green bell peppers and lean ground beef. Once the beef is browned, add tomato sauce and paste, mustard, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, sugar and oregano. Top whole wheat rolls with this nutritious Sloppy Joe mix.
Good for: muscles, weight management
With plenty of energy-producing B vitamins, pork loin is high in protein and low in fat.
Try this: In a hot pan, add dark sesame oil, sweet rice wine vinegar, low-sodium soy sauce, orange juice and grated ginger and garlic until syrupy. Add sliced, pan seared pork and top with toasted sesame seeds.
Good for: muscles, heart, mental health
Rich in high quality proteins and B vitamins that help maintain memory and reduce heart risk, poultry is beneficial to your overall health.
Try this: Grill lightly seasoned chicken breast. Combine low-fat yogurt, cilantro, cucumbers, garam masala, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Slice the chicken and add the yogurt mixture, lettuce and tomatoes to a whole-wheat pita pocket.
Good for: eyes, preventive care
The root is full of cancer-fighting antioxidants and the leaves contain lutein for good eye health.
Try this: Combine chopped beets, pineapple and jalapeno in a juicer for an energy boost.
Good for: heart, bones, digestion, skin, prenatal care, preventive care
A vegetable superhero, broccoli is packed full of beta carotene, which may help prevent lung and colon cancer. It’s also a great source of folate, vitamin C and fiber.
Try this: Toss broccoli in extra virgin olive oil, salt, chopped garlic and red pepper flakes. Roast in the oven for a new twist on a side dish.
Good for: heart, skin
Steamed Brussel sprouts may help lower cholesterol and contain vitamin C, which is beneficial to
Try this: Toss Brussel sprouts with oil, maple syrup and some salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for a tasty side dish.
Good for: eyes
Cooked corn supplies your body with high levels of blindness-fighting antioxidants.
Try this: Place a husked ear of corn on the grill for about five minutes. Mix together low-fat yogurt, lime juice, chili powder and salt and pepper and coat the corn with this zesty Mexican-style topping.
Good for: heart, skin
This leafy vegetable is filled with vitamin C, which helps fight heart disease and also protects your skin from damage.
Try this: Discard stems from kale and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and grated parmesan. Spread leaves in a single layer on a pan and cook at 275º for twenty-five minutes.
Good for: heart, preventive care
Onions encourage a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure. It’s also full of antioxidants that may help prevent lung cancer.
Try this: Combine finely chopped tomatoes, raw onions, chilies, salt and lime juice for a fresh salsa.
Red Bell Pepper
Good for: heart, skin, eyes, prenatal care
This low calorie vegetable has a large dose of vitamin A for eye health. It’s also full of heart healthy vitamin C, as well as folates that help prevent birth defects in unborn children.
Try this: Chop up a red bell pepper and cucumber and add to a bowl of cooked quinoa. Stir in some olive oil, salt and white wine vinegar to complete the dish.
Good for: eyes, hair, preventive care
Spinach is rich in antioxidants, which help to prevent blindness in older adults. Cooked spinach leaves are preferred if you want all of the health benefits. It’s also chock-full of iron, which is beneficial for healthier hair.
Try this: If you crave something heartier than a salad, add some cooked spinach to whole-wheat pasta along with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese.
Good for: preventive care
High in beta-carotene, this antioxidant-rich potato may reduce the risk for many diseases, including breast and ovarian cancer in post-menopausal women.
Try this: Coat cubed sweet potato with a mixture of cayenne, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon and maple syrup. Roast until tender and sprinkle with fresh lime zest. WW
A Plant-based Diet Helps to Fight Cancer
Most cancer survivors know the importance of following a plant-based diet and limiting processed and red meat intake. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, “plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans contain a variety of cancer fighters including vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals.” Lauren Talbert, RD, CSO, LDN, a board-certified specialist in oncology nutrition and registered dietitian with the Program in Women’s Oncology at Women & Infants Hospital, offers ten simple tips to add more plants to your diet.
1. Add berries to whole grain cereal or try a fruit smoothie for breakfast.
2. Add sautéed spinach, peppers and onions to scrambled eggs.
3. For lunch, try roasted red peppers, caramelized onions or sliced cucumbers in your sandwich. Swap vegetables and dip for chips. If you really crave that salty crunch, try snap crisps made from peas, which are rich in fiber and protein.
4. Add fruit and/or nuts to your salad. Try berries, apples, peaches or even watermelon on your greens. A few teaspoons of crushed nuts give a nice savory crunch.
5. Make a wrap with hummus and tabbouleh instead of lunch meat.
6. For an afternoon pick-me-up, try whole grain crackers or whole grain bread with nut butter. The fiber, protein and healthy fat combination will hold you over until dinner.
7. For dinner, grill a portabella mushroom instead of a hamburger.
8. Replace meat in recipes with beans.
9. Make zoodles. Using a spiralizer, transform zucchini into spaghetti.
10. Make banana ice cream. Slice and freeze a ripe banana, then blend it with a little bit of milk. Add a nut butter or cocoa for extra flavor.
Nutrition guidance for cancer patients and survivors is available through the Program in Women’s Oncology at Women & Infants Hospital by calling 401-453-7540.