Once you're done with treatment, the best nutrition and wellness plan for you will help you regain strength and zest for living. While researchers are still working to find out whether eating unhealthy food can increase the risk of a breast cancer recurrence, making positive changes in your diet helps you play an active part in the process of staying well and feeling good. Here are some tips to help you ease into healthful cooking:
- Go for variety. Buy a new fruit, vegetable, or whole-grain product every time you go to the grocery store. Healthy eating means you are eating a VARIETY of foods. Sure, carrots are full of vitamins, but if all you ate were carrots, you wouldn't be healthy. Treat yourself to a really big, firm pink grapefruit. Don't be afraid to try something new! Put a pomegranate or mango into your cart. Many stores have instructions on how to prepare them. If yours doesn't, ask someone in the produce section for help.
- Choose low-fat milk and dairy products. If you're used to drinking whole milk, mix whole milk with skim or low-fat milk to ease you through the change.
- Avoid salt-cured, pickled, and smoked foods. They tend to have a lot of salt and nitrates, which can contribute to high blood pressure in some people.
- Choose small portions (about 6 ounces) of lean meat and poultry (without skin) per day. So if you eat meat twice a day, each portion should be about 3 ounces.
- Bake or broil food instead of frying. Hydrogenated vegetable shortening, often used for frying, contains trans fats, which can raise cholesterol.
- Cover your plate with fresh, nutrient-dense foods. Fill your plate with two-thirds vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans, and one-third or less of meat and dairy products. Try spinach lasagna, vegetarian chili, or vegetable stir-fry to get more vegetables in your diet.
- Choose 100% juice and whole-grain breads at breakfast. Add raisins, dried cranberries, or dried cherries to your oatmeal. Add a banana or berries to your cold cereal. If berries aren't in season, look in the freezer section for frozen blueberries — they thaw in the bowl and keep your milk cold.
- Eat healthy snacks. Try baby cut carrots, bell pepper strips, orange sections, fat-free yogurt, or a handful of almonds.
- Cut down on saturated fat. Try to limit your saturated fat intake to less than 10% of your total calories per day. Choose lean cuts of meat and poultry. Trim excess fat from meat and remove the skin from poultry. Try a tuna or salmon steak instead of beef or pork. Limit your use of margarine.
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