Contributed by our health partners at the Canadian Cancer Society
The science is clear: it’s the overall pattern of living that’s important. To help reduce your cancer risk, the Canadian Cancer Society recommends that you move more, stay lean and eat plenty of vegetables and fruit as well as other plant foods such as whole grains and beans. About one-third of all cancers can be prevented by eating well, being active and maintaining a healthy body weight.
It’s important to talk to your doctor about your ideal weight. Everyone’s different. Small, gradual changes to what you eat and how active you are can make a difference. Research shows that maintaining a healthy body weight helps reduce your risk of developing at least 8 different cancers. Being physically active, sitting less and having a diet that includes a variety of vegetables and fruit instead of higher-fat, higher-calorie foods can help you get to and stay at a healthy weight.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or time-consuming. It’s a habit you get used to, and every day it gets easier. The important thing is to get started now.
- Re-think your plate. Fill half your plate with vegetables, a quarter with grain products and a quarter with meat or alternatives.
- Prepare a shopping list that includes a variety of fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and fruit. When fresh vegetables and fruit are not in season, choose frozen, canned or dried. Most frozen and canned foods are processed within hours of harvest, so their flavour and nutrients are preserved.
- Visit a farmers’ market and buy fresh-picked vegetables and fruit.
- Think colours when planning a meal. Nothing looks less appetizing than chicken breast, cauliflower and boiled potatoes on a white plate. Instead, skip the boiled potatoes and add stir-fried red and green bell peppers along with roasted sweet potato wedges.
- Buy packages of pre-cut carrots, peppers, leafy greens or mixed fruit to make life a little easier if you’re rushing to make lunches each morning.
- Save time by using canned foods in recipes – most are cooked prior to packaging. Frozen foods also require little preparation as washing and slicing may already be done.
- Liven up the food you eat with crunch and colour. Put tomatoes and cucumber in sandwiches, berries in yogurt and cereal, or extra vegetables in pasta, rice, stir-fries and soups.
- Try a new vegetable or fruit every week.