In recognition of National Nutrition Month, Wellspring asked Registered Dietitian Shauna Lindzon for a few tips and tricks to help keep you healthy and energized. If you are living with cancer, these tips are also helpful in overcoming some of the many side effects of treatment, such as nausea, altered tastes and weight loss or gain.
- Choose at least two different vegetables at every meal. Vegetables are full of fibre and will help keep you feeling full. Challenge yourself to try at least one new vegetable every week.
- Incorporate plant-based protein such as beans, lentils and tofu into your meal preparation. Try to make one meal each week made only with plant-based proteins. See the recipe below that is very popular with Wellspring members.
- Include healthy fat choices at all meals. Fat helps absorb essential vitamins and antioxidants, and it makes food taste better. When your cancer treatment is over, help regain your strength using healthy fats such as olive oil-based dressings, avocados, pink fish, seeds and nuts.
- Use herb and spices regularly because they are not only flavour enhancers, but they also contain many valuable health properties. Herbs and spices contain anti-inflammatory substances that help boost your immune system. Add fresh herbs and spices to your green salads, in fruit salads and in tea.
- Always carry a snack. Healthy snacks include homemade trail mix with nuts, seeds and dried fruits; roasted chickpeas; popcorn, banana with nut or seed butter, or an apple with cheese. This will keep you from buying highly processed, unhealthy snacking choices.
LILY’S RED LENTIL SOUP
(From Nourish: Whole Food Recipes Featuring Seeds, Nuts and Beans by Nettie Cronish and Cara Rosenbloom)
Yield: 8 servings
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small shallots, minced
4 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large sweet potato, diced
2 cups dried red lentils, sorted and rinsed
8 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth or water
1-2 tsp dried dill, to taste
1-2 tsp salt, to taste
¼ tsp pepper
- Heat oil in large pot. Add garlic and shallot. Cook until fragrant and tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add carrots, celery and sweet potato and combine well. Cook about 5 minutes.
- Stir in red lentils and stock. Boil. Reduce heat, cover and let cook 20-25 minutes, or until lentils have thickened.
- Add dill, salt and pepper, adjusting to taste. Serve.
Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation offers Nourish, a variety of educational sessions that teach the fundamentals of good nutritional practices for cancer patients and their caregivers. Nourish programs include cooking demonstrations, food sampling and take-home recipes and like all Wellspring programs, are professionally led and provided at no charge. Learn more about Nourish and other programs near you at wellspring.ca.