We’re at the peak of summer barbecue season, which typically involves getting together with friends and family over big food gatherings. I’ve had many patients asking me recently for tips to eat healthier at parties, especially with the 4th of July coming up. The abundance of
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calorie-dense foods poses a constant challenge if you are trying to lose or even maintain your weight.
This 4th of July – and beyond – here are a few ways to host a summer barbecue gathering that is both tasty and cancer-preventive.
The Main Dish: add some color
Instead of the traditional cheeseburgers and hotdogs served with white bread, get creative and add some color to the main dish. I’ve been loving kabobs lately – they are a great way to combine lean protein, vegetables (and even fruit). Here are some ideas:
For protein options try chicken, shrimp, heartier fish — like salmon, tuna or swordfish — or extra firm tofu. Mix up the vegetables: try peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant or mushrooms. Use pineapple to add a sweet touch.
Thread your skewers, then top with a light marinade. Marinating the skewers adds flavor and helps reduce the carcinogens created when grilling foods. Right now, my favorite is tuna kabobs with onion, red pepper, and peach or pineapple. I marinate the whole skewer with a soy and ginger mix for about an hour then grill. Continue reading
Before the fireworks light up the sky, chill out with our easy Health-e-Recipe for Pasta Salad with Tomatoes for your 4th of July celebration – or anytime.
Tomatoes, green pepper and basil are tossed with whole-wheat bowties, penne, spirals or any other favorite small-sized pasta. Along with the garlic, these plant foods contain compounds that may be cancer protective. They also provide fiber, as does the whole-wheat pasta. Fiber has been associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer by strong evidence in AICR’s CUP report. It also is digested more slowly than white pasta, which keeps blood sugar levels in a healthy range.
The dressing for this salad is a vinaigrette made with olive oil and sweet-tart balsamic vinegar, both healthier than the mayonnaise-based dressings many pasta salads use.
Find more delicious healthy recipes at the AICR Test Kitchen. Subscribe to our Health-e-Recipes.
The cover story on this week’s issue of TIME Magazine is making waves – and driving sales at the nation’s checkout counters. The article traces the recent history of nutrition science, specifically the 20th-century vogue for health messages about cutting consumption of saturated fat. It does a nice job laying out how those messages were seized upon by food marketers to create today’s grocery aisles thronged with “fat-free” and “low-fat” processed foods.
But ironically, in its effort to rehabilitate the reputation of saturated fat by showing how that food component has been isolated and demonized, the article effectively demonizes carbohydrates, blaming them for the same health conditions once widely linked with saturated fat.
It’s only the latest article in the popular press to do this. But while it makes a compelling read, singling out any one food or food component for blame oversimplifies a field of study marked by complexity and nuance.
As a cancer research and education organization, we should note that AICR’s expert reports and their updates have found no strong links between dietary fat itself –whether saturated or unsaturated – and cancer risk. Instead, it’s the fat we carry on our bodies that is strongly linked to increased risk for eight different cancers. Continue reading