Tips for a healthy grocery list

Mother and daughter looking at grocery list

Supermarket shopping can be overwhelming for anyone trying to add cancer prevention to their daily diets. With the right info, though, cutting cancer risk through healthy eating can be stress-free, and could help you find new favorites for your family’s table.

Read on for tasty tips for grocery shopping with cancer prevention in mind from Candice Schreiber, RD, LD, a clinical dietician with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

Go green (and lots of other colors)

Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables — all the colors of the rainbow. They’re full of nutrients and vitamins that will make you healthier and help ward off cancer and other diseases. Schreiber recommends plant-based diets for everyone, especially cancer survivors.

Eat local

“Eat what’s in season,” Schreiber says. “Produce is healthier when it’s local — when it travels a long way, it loses nutrition.”

The heat is on

“It’s better to roast or sauté vegetables. When you boil them, you lose a lot of flavor and nutrition, unless you’re making soup,” Schreiber says.

Frozen fruit

In the winter, rather than getting bland and unripe strawberries or blueberries shipped from hundreds of miles away, buy frozen fruit for your smoothies. In addition to the flavor benefits, freezing preserves the fruits’ nutrients.

Berry good

Those berry benefits are well worth the effort, Schreiber says. “They have a lot of nutrition and are high in fiber and lower in sugar than many other fruits, such as apples and pears.”

Wash up

When you prepare conventional produce, be extra diligent in washing to remove any residual pesticides, and grit from leafy greens. Examples of foods that are farmed with more pesticides than others include apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries and bell peppers. On the flip side, fruits and vegetables such as avocados, sweet corn, cabbage, eggplant and sweet potatoes are farmed with fewer pesticides.

Take a chance

Sample new fruits and vegetables on a regular basis to find out which ones you can add to your menu rotation. “If you don’t think you like Brussel sprouts, try them again, but experiment with preparations.” Schreiber says. “I roast them in the oven or sauté them in the skillet and add toasted nuts and dried cranberries.”

Eat less meat

It’s important to include protein in your diet, but there are many meatless ways to do this, including adding lentils, nuts, edamame and beans to your dishes.

Be canny

Speaking of beans, the canned versions are healthy and delicious — and a lot less work than rehydrating and cooking dried beans.

Whole is better

Cut down on heavily-processed foods that contain a lot of ingredients and preservatives. Instead, cook with whole foods when possible.

Bar none

Many cereals and energy bars have lots of added sugars. “Some energy bars have as much sugar as candy bars,” Schreiber says.

Smarter sweet tooth

You know you have one — and it needs attention every now and then. It’s a good idea to choose dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate when the craving hits, but in moderation. “Look for dark chocolate that’s at least 72 percent cocoa — it has more anti-oxidants,” Schreiber says.

Accurate, early cancer diagnosis matters

The James Cancer Diagnostic Center gives patients direct, expedited access to diagnostic testing and consultation with Ohio State cancer experts. Think you have cancer?

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