About Sonja
Thanks to Sonja Goedkoop for guest blogging.

Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is a clinical dietitian at the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center. She has a passion for promoting a healthy lifestyle and reducing obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity. You can follow her on twitter @SonjaGoedkoopRD.

Putting a Healthy Twist on New Year’s Brunch

There’s nothing I love more than waking up on a holiday morning to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the scent of something baking in the kitchen. Last year I wrote about how to modify your favorite holiday foods (in this case, coffee cake) to make them more nutritious while maintaining the taste you love. This year, I have a new idea: let’s make over the entire New Year’s Day brunch!Raspberry scones

A typical brunch might include bagels, eggs, bacon and sausage and maybe even some pastries or doughnuts on the side. While it’s ok for everyone to indulge a bit – something I tell my patients all the time – there’s also good reason to limit these foods.

The brunch I just described is full of white (processed) flour, saturated fat (the kind that is harmful to heart health), sodium and sugar. Combined, these foods are a recipe for weight gain and increased cancer risk when eaten regularly. Moreover, this meal is completely lacking in the food components shown to help us live longer and healthier lives – vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber, to name a few.

Here are some ideas to start your New Year with a healthy New Year’s day brunch. Continue reading


Road Trips to Potlucks: Cancer-Fighting Summer Travel Tips

It’s summertime, and that means lots of fun BBQs, parties and traveling. Trigger-foods like sausage, chips and sweet/salty foods that you might normally keep out of the house can be hard to resist when you are away from home.canstockphoto4732007 You might also want to avoid offending your host by turning down the food they prepared.

You are not alone. Here are some tips to navigate four tricky common summer eating scenarios – it all starts with planning ahead!

At a potluck:

  • Bring a healthy side dish like a garden salad or fruit salad so you can eat this instead of high-calorie sides like macaroni or potato salad.
  • Be a food snob! If you don’t absolutely love the treat, don’t bother. If there is one dessert you like more than others, have just a small portion of that one.
  • Fill your plate once. Build your plate based around the guidelines for the New American Plate. Then walk away from the food so you aren’t tempted to get seconds.
  • Limit alcohol. If you have an alcoholic beverage, select a light beer or a glass of wine. Limit yourself to two drinks for men and one for women. If you have more than one, have a glass of water between drinks to slow you down and keep you hydrated. Continue reading


Making those Tempting Office Treats Healthy

June marks the 5th annual National Employee Wellness month, so this is the perfect time to start thinking about how you can make your workplace healthier. Have you found that there always seem to be tempting treats in the office? Maybe a cocanstockphoto2003820worker baked cookies to share, there’s that jar of chocolates at the front desk, or it’s hard to turn down the free pizza your boss ordered.

Whatever it may be, the workplace often seems to be filled with foods that are high in sugar, fat and calories – which can lead to weight gain and ultimately increase your risk for developing cancer. The good news is that there are things you can do to make your workplace healthier and limit the temptations.

1. Keep in mind the saying: out of sight, out of mind. You will be less tempted to grab that piece of candy if you keep it out of sight. Don’t keep sweets at your desk, and if your office keeps a candy jar out for everyone, suggest filling it with something you’ll be less tempted to overeat (such as breath mints).

2. If you usually get cake or other sweets for events such as staff birthdays, try suggesting a healthier “treat”. For example, the office could order a nice flower arrangement to add a little cheer on the birthday employee’s desk. Continue reading