Giving the Gift of Flavor

I love giving food-related gifts during the holiday season. They are fun for everyone, from food connoisseurs to your friend whose idea of cooking is boiling water for pasta. I try to give gifts that are tasty, healthy and encourage the recipient to try something new. While everyone indulges a bit over the holidays, it’s great to help others prevent cancer through healthier food and fitness-related gifts.

One of my favorite ways to flavor and season vegetables is also turning into one of my favorite gifts to give. Working with individuals trying to lose weight, I often hear people talk about how much they dislike vegetables. Flavored balsamic vinegar and olive oil can change that.

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Why olive oil? It’s rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and including it in your diet can help lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. However, since olive oil is also high in calories, highly flavorful oils – like lemon or walnut – can boost the taste of your food with small amounts. Continue reading


Cook meals – eat better, new study (it can help prevent cancer too)

We talk a lot about food and eating here because research shows it matters for cancer prevention. Now a study that quantifies the benefits of home cooking finds that if you frequently cook dinner at home you’re more likely to eat fewer calories, both at home and eating out, compared to those who seldom cook.canstockphoto18508832

The study was published in Public Health Nutrition yesterday.

People who cooked dinner the most, at least six nights a week, were eating 137 fewer calories per day on average compared to those cooking dinner only once a week or not at all.

Study authors used data from almost 9,600 adult participants of the government National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants answered questions about how many times they cooked during the past week and what they ate during the past 24 hours, along with questions such as about dieting.

The more people cooked, the less calories they ate. In 8% of adults’ homes, someone was cooking dinner once or less a week. These people were eating on average 2,301 calories a day. Almost half of households – 48% – were cooking dinner six to seven times a Continue reading


New Report: Americans Need More Red, Orange and Green

AmericaVegetable basketns need to add some pizzazz to our plates, specifically more colorful vegetables – red, green and orange according to a new report by the USDA. These veggies are important for overall health and in your cancer-fighting diet. Their low calories help with weight control and potent phytochemicals like carotenoids, vitamin C and flavonoids help keep cells healthy.

The report says we’re now eating about 1/4 cup daily per 1000 calories of these vegetables, far below the recommendation. The US Dietary Guidelines say you should eat at least double that. If you’re a woman you need at least 3/4 to 1 cup daily, men need at least 1 – 1 1/2 cups every day.

*For a 2,000 calorie diet Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Food Consumption and Nutrient Intakes Data Product

*For a 2,000 calorie diet
Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Food Consumption and Nutrient Intakes Data Product

Fortunately, this plate redesign doesn’t take a lot of time or money. Here are 5 ways to get your 1 cup of colored veggies: Continue reading