Enjoying a healthy snack boosts your energy, curbs cravings, and prevents getting hangry!Continue reading
Did you know that there are more than 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States and 32 million around the world?
National Cancer Survivors Day is observed annually on the first Sunday in June to celebrate cancer survivors. All around the nation, communities come together to host charity events, races, galas, and more to honor cancer survivors. Whether you are a cancer survivor or know someone who is winning their battle with the disease, this is a time to celebrate and honor their resilient journey. Here is some information to get you connected and help you learn more about cancer survivorship.
Challenges That Can Affect Cancer Survivors and Their Families
- Economic burdens from medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced productivity
- Denial of health and life insurance coverage
- Difficulty finding jobs
- Schedules may be focused around treatments and appointments
- Family members may have to become caregivers to provide emotional support, transportation, care coordination, manage finances, and help with decision making
Life After Cancer
- Maintain regular follow-up screenings
- Don’t smoke. If you smoke, talk to your healthcare provider about quitting
- Maintain a whole-foods, balanced diet to keep your weight healthy and decrease your risk of a cancer recurrence
- Stay active. Do yoga, walk, garden, or join a gym. Physical activity will be the key to help you keep unwanted weight off, manager stress, and prevent a cancer recurrence
- Keep your emotional health in check. If you need to, talk to a counselor, psychologist, or join a support group
- Improve the cancer experience for others through advocacy or volunteer work
Support groups can help many people, including loved ones, cope with the emotional burdens of cancer and survivorship. There are different types of support groups, such as:
- Peer-led or self-help groups run by group members
- Professional-led groups run by a trained counselor, social worker, or psychologist to lead the conversation among the members
- Informational support groups led by a professional facilitator to provide cancer-related information and education. These groups will often invite speakers, such as doctors, who can provide expert advice
- Online support groups that meet through chat rooms, webinars, or discussion groups
- Telephone support groups where everyone dials into a phone line, like a conference call, and participants can share their experiences
The following links can help connect you with organizations that provide emotional, practical, and financial support services for people with cancer and their families:
If you are interested in getting involved or participating in local community events, visit these websites to find events near you.
More Helpful Resources
World Health Day is a chance to celebrate health, and this year’s theme is Universal Health Coverage: Health for all – everyone, everywhere. Advocacy events will be held around the world fueling momentum for the #HealthForAll movement to highlight a fairer, healthier world.
Health care is important. What can be equally as helpful is staying healthy and preventing chronic illnesses that warrant the need for health care.
Did you know, the food patterns that we develop over our lifetime can help or hinder us? In the United States, we have access to an abundance of foods running the gamut from very healthy to very unhealthy.
Would you like to improve your eating pattern? Check out the following infographic that shows how to make small changes over your day. Remember, every change that you make, no matter how small will have an impact on your overall health.
Here’s to your health!
Every food choice you make is an opportunity to move towards a healthier eating pattern. Making small changes over a week, a day, or even a meal— can make a big difference. Here are some examples of realistic, small changes that will help you adopt a healthier eating pattern for more good years®!
What you eat each day affects your health and how you feel now and in the future. Good nutrition plays a major role in helping you lead a healthy lifestyle. When combined with physical activity, your diet can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, and promote overall health and wellbeing.
Creating and maintaining healthy eating habits doesn’t have to be hard. If you start by incorporating small changes into your daily habits, you can make a big impact on your eating pattern and create lasting, healthy eating habits. Try including at least six of the following eight goals into your diet by adding one new goal each week.
1. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert. The more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to be healthy.
2. Make half the grains you eat whole grains
Switch from a refined-grain food to a whole-grain food. For example, choose whole-wheat bread instead of white bread. Read the ingredients list and choose products that list a whole-grain ingredients first. Look for things like: “whole wheat,” “brown rice,” “bulgur,” “buckwheat,” “oatmeal,” “rolled oats,” quinoa,” or “wild rice.”
3. Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
Both have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but fewer calories and less saturated fat.
4. Choose a variety of lean protein foods
Protein foods group includes not only meat, poultry, and seafood, but also dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds. Select leaner cuts of ground beef (where the label says 90% lean or higher), turkey breast, or chicken breast.
5. Compare sodium in foods
Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose lower sodium versions of foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals. Select canned foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”
6. Drink water instead of sugary drinks
Drink water to cut back on unnecessary calories from sugary drinks. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar and calories in American diets. To add flavor to your water, add a slice of lemon, lime, apple or fresh herbs like mint or basil.
7. Eat some seafood
Seafood has protein, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids (heart-healthy fat). Adults should try to eat at least eight ounces a week of a variety of seafood. Children can eat smaller amounts of seafood. Seafood includes fish such as salmon, tuna, and trout and shellfish such as crab, mussels, and oysters.
8. Cut back on solid fats
Eat fewer foods that contain solid fats. The major sources for Americans are cakes, cookies, and other desserts (often made with butter, margarine, or shortening); pizza; processed and fatty meats (e.g., sausages, hot dogs, bacon, ribs); and ice cream.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
To maintain your healthy eating habits, try the following tips.
Add More Fruits & Veggies
- Mix veggies into your go-to dishes. Swap meat for peppers and mushrooms in your tacos or try veggie pasta instead of grain pasta like one made out of black beans for more plant-based protein.
- Use fresh fruits and veggies whenever possible. Watch for sodium in canned veggies and look for canned fruit packed in water instead of syrup.
- Pack your child’s lunch bag with fruits and veggies: sliced apples, a banana or carrot sticks.
Prepare Healthy Snacks
- Teach children the difference between everyday snacks such as fruits and veggies and occasional snacks such as cookies and sweets.
- Keep cut-up fruits and veggies like carrots, peppers, or orange slices in the refrigerator.
- Prepare your meals for the week by making them ahead on weekends or on a day off.
Reduce Fat, Salt, and Sugar
- When eating out, choose baked or grilled food instead of fried and do the same at home.
- Make water your go-to drink instead of soda or sweetened beverages.
- Read labels on packaged ingredients to find foods lower in sodium.
- Reduce amounts of salt added to food when cooking and use herbs and spices instead to add flavor like paprika, turmeric, black pepper, garlic or onion powder.
Control Portion Sizes
- When preparing meals at home, use smaller plates.
- Don’t clean your plate if you’re full, instead save leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
- Portion sizes depend on the age, gender, and activity level of the individual.
Practice Healthy Eating in School
- Bring healthy snacks into your child’s classroom for birthday parties and holiday celebrations, instead of providing sugary treats.
- Pack healthy lunches for children including whole grains, fruits and veggies, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.1
Reflect, Replace, and Reinforce
Making sudden, radical changes to eating habits such as eating nothing but cabbage soup, can lead to short-term weight loss but it won’t be successful in the long run. To permanently improve your eating habits:
- Reflect on all your habits, both good and bad, and your common triggers for unhealthy eating.
- Replace your unhealthy eating habits with healthier ones.
- Reinforce your new, healthier habits.
- Keep a food diary for a few days to evaluate what you eat every day. Note how you were feeling when you ate – hungry, not hungry, tired, or stressed?
- Create a list of “cues” by reviewing your food diary to become more aware when you’re “triggered” to eat for reasons other than hunger. Note how you’re feeling at those times.
- Circle the cues on your list that you face on a daily or weekly basis.
- Ask yourself about the cues you’ve circled; is there anything else you can do to avoid the cue or situation? If you can’t avoid it, can you do something differently that would be healthier?
- Replace unhealthy habits with new, healthy ones.
- Reinforce your new, healthy habits and be patient with yourself. You can do it! Take it one day at a time! 2
To make sure your meals are balanced and nutritious, use the MyPlate, MyWins at choosemyplate.gov to create healthy eating solutions that work for you.
- U.S. Department of Human Services: https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/eat-healthy/how-to-eat-healthy/index.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/eating_habits.html
Diabetes is a leading cause of heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and amputation. It also leads to more sick days and less productivity on the job. The good news is, type 2 diabetes can be prevented, and it isn’t as hard as you might think.
Losing just 7% of your body weight (which translates to 14 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) and exercising moderately (like brisk walking) 5 days a week can reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes by 58%. Lifestyle changes can also prevent or delay diabetes complications.1
Diet & Exercise
Nutrition and physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle whether you have diabetes or not. Along with other benefits, following a healthy meal plan and being active can help you keep your blood glucose level, also called blood sugar, in your target range. To manage your blood glucose, you need to balance what you eat and drink with physical activity and diabetes medicine, if you take any.
Becoming more active and making changes in what you eat and drink can seem challenging at first. It is easier to start with small changes and get help from your family, friends, and your health care team. Eating well and being physically active most days of the week can help you:
- Keep your blood glucose level, blood pressure, and cholesterol in your target ranges
- Lose weight or stay at a healthy weight
- Prevent or delay diabetes problems
- Feel good and have more energy
What foods can I eat if I have diabetes?
Eat smaller portions. Learn about serving sizes and how many servings you need in a meal. The key to eating with diabetes is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, in the amounts your meal plan specifies.
The food groups are:
- Non-starchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes
- Starchy: includes potatoes, corn, and green peas
- Fruits — includes oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes
- Grains — at least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains
- Includes wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, and quinoa
- Examples: bread, pasta, cereal, and tortillas
- Lean meat
- Chicken or turkey without the skin
- Nuts and peanuts
- Dried beans and certain peas, such as chickpeas and split peas
- Meat substitutes, such as tofu
- Dairy — nonfat or low fat
- Milk or lactose-free milk if you have lactose intolerance
Eat foods with heart-healthy fats, which mainly come from these foods:
- Oils that are liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Heart-healthy fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
- Use oils when cooking food instead of butter, cream, shortening, lard, or stick margarine1
What foods and drinks should I limit if I have diabetes?
Foods and drinks to limit include:
- Fried foods and other foods high in saturated fat and trans fat
- Foods high in salt, also called sodium
- Sweets, such as baked goods, candy, and ice cream
- Beverages with added sugars, such as juice, regular soda, and regular sports or energy drinks
Drink water instead of sweetened beverages. Consider using a sugar substitute in your coffee or tea.
If you drink alcohol, drink moderately — no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman or two drinks a day if you’re a man. If you use insulin or diabetes medicines that increase the amount of insulin your body makes, alcohol can make your blood glucose level drop too low.1
How much can I eat if I have diabetes?
Two common ways to help you plan how much to eat if you have diabetes are the plate method and carbohydrate counting. Check with your health care team about the method that’s best for you.
The plate method shows the amount of each food group you should eat. This method works best for lunch and dinner. You can find more details about using the plate method from the American Diabetes Association.
Carbohydrate Counting Method
Carb counting involves keeping track of the amount of carbs you eat and drink each day. Because carbs turn into glucose in your body, they affect your blood glucose level more than other foods do. Carb counting can help you manage your blood glucose level. If you take insulin, counting carbs can help you know how much insulin to take.1
Most carbs come from starches, fruits, milk, and sweets. Try to limit carbs with added sugars or those with refined grains, such as white bread and white rice. Instead, eat carbs from fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and low-fat or nonfat milk. Learn more about diabetes meal plans at American Diabetes Association.
Why should I be physically active if I have diabetes?
Physical activity is an important part of managing your blood glucose level and staying healthy. Physical activity:
- Lowers blood glucose levels
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves blood flow
- Burns extra calories so you can keep your weight down if needed
- Improves your mood
- Can prevent falls and improve memory in older adults
- May help you sleep better 2
What physical activities should I do if I have diabetes?
- Ask your health care team what physical activities are safe for you. Many people choose walking with friends or family members.
- If you have been inactive or are trying a new activity, start slowly, with 5 to 10 minutes a day. Then add more time each week.
- Walk around while you talk on the phone or during TV commercials.
- Do chores, such as work in the garden, rake leaves, clean the house, or wash the car.
- Park at the far end of the shopping center parking lot and walk to the store.
- Take the stairs instead of elevator.
- Make your family outings active, such as a family bike ride or a walk in the park. 2
The layout of the grocery store and the aisles you walk down will have a great impact on what you purchase.
Food Group Shopping Guide
The middle aisles can be intimidating as these are often where you will find the processed foods such as chips, snack cakes, breads and frozen or canned meals. They do also contain many staple pantry items such as breads, crackers, nuts, seeds, and baking/cooking products.
The outskirts of the store will hold the freshest foods. The bakery, deli, and if the store has a coffee shop will typically all be located at the front perimeter of the store. The fresh bakery and deli foods of the grocery store even tends to be on the outside area with the produce because it is fresher then pre-packaged baked goods and deli meat.
Specialty products are often placed on the end caps to make shoppers aware of them and increase their sale. These end cap items are often hard to avoid as you still pass by when you stay on the perimeter of the store so it is important to go in with a list and plan.
Use the Food Group Shopping Guide below to help you focus on what to purchase and cook at home! And remember, if you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it!
You can download the Food Group Shopping Guide infographic by the pressing the button below.
If you are like most people, navigating the grocery store can be a daunting and frustrating task especially when you are trying to make healthier meal choices. This can be especially difficult when you are in a time crunch or forget the grocery list at home. However, changing the way you think about the grocery store and the way you see food can be a helpful way to manage this task. Creating a plan and having a strategy in place when you enter the grocery store will help you avoid filling your cart with junk and instead with the foods that will help nourish your body.
Have a Plan for the Grocery Store
Prior to entering the grocery store door, you should have a plan in place to keep you focused and on track. Time and time again we enter the grocery store with one specific item in mind and walk out buying five other things and forgetting the one thing we actually needed. Having a plan for the store can not only keep you focused on purchasing only the food you need, but can save you time and money! If you are unsure on where to start with building your grocery store plan, consider these tips.
1. Create a Master Grocery List
- Have your family write down things you need throughout the week on one master list so that at the end of the week you can take the list to the store and purchase the things you need without playing the guessing game down the aisle.
- Keep the list in an easily accessible place such as the refrigerator and remember to bring it with you to the store with a pen to easily cross off items you have already put in your cart.
- Separate your list into categories such as produce, meat and protein, and dairy to increase your efficiency in the grocery store and take less time overall to get back home.
2. Look for Sales
- Before you head to the grocery store review the store’s sales ads. Look for produce that is on sale; typically, this means that it is in peak season and will be the freshest. Buying food that is currently on sale will not only save you money, but also help you plan meals based on the ingredients you purchased.
- Also, don’t forget to look for coupons as they can save you additional money at the grocery store! Stores often have additional incentives on their website or easily available on their app available on your mobile phone.
3. Prepare Yourself
- Whatever you do, avoid the grocery store when you are hungry. Chances are, we are all familiar with what occurs when we step into the grocery store when we are hungry and leave the store with double the amount of junk food which are often high in calories, sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.
- Make sure when you plan your trip to the grocery store you wear comfy shoes and allow yourself adequate time to get everything on your list.
Tips for Mastering the Aisles
We all know by the end of the week there are a lot of things that have piled up on the grocery list, so once you step into the grocery store try these tips to successfully shop.
1. Stick to the List
Your shopping list is your best friend at the grocery store and will keep you from getting into trouble at the checkout and once your shopping is complete, in your pantry.
2. Shop the Perimeter of the Store
The perimeter of the store is often where you can locate the foods you need to stay on track with properly nourishing your body and managing your weight. Foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, seafood, and low-fat dairy products can typically all be found without stepping down a center aisle where temptations may sprout.
3. Buy in Bulk
If you have a family more than likely you understand the concept of buying in bulk when you have several mouths to feed. Buying in bulk often saves you money as the per unit price is lower with the larger quantity. Buying in bulk is especially helpful when food you regularly eat is on sale. For example, if chicken breast is on sale this week purchase extra to freeze for next week when it is no longer on sale.
4. Read the Labels
Learning to read the Nutrition Facts Label can help you gain freedom from strict diet planning as you are aware of how to make healthy choices and tell the difference between a food that is healthy and the one that only appears to be.
- Check the label for serving size, calories, total saturated fat, total sugar, and sodium content (see example to the left; Visit FDA.gov for details).
- Reading the ingredient list is also another great method to avoid buying products that appear to be healthy when they truly are not. If there is a list of ingredients you are unable to pronounce, it is not a good choice.
- In general, purchase whole foods as much as possible that have not been processed or preserved.
5. Plan to be Busy
We all know life happens and things don’t always go as planned. In addition to your grocery list make sure you:
- Add 1 or 2 healthy options that you and your family can take on the go, for example, ingredients to make a healthy snack wrap or fresh prepared salads offered in the deli section of the grocery store.
- Avoid frozen convenience foods as a go-to meal.
Tips on How to Fill Your Cart
1. Fruits and Veggies
- Fresh produce is always a winner in the grocery cart and can be incorporated into every meal or snack to provide you with essential nutrients your body needs to thrive. Aim for half your plate to be fruits and vegetables for every meal.
- If you find yourself limited on time for meal preparation, grocery stores offer pre-cut fruits and vegetables at a slightly higher price.
- Frozen steam bags are also another quick method to incorporate veggies into your diet regularly.
- Meat is a great source of protein; however, it is important to consider the saturated fat content and choose low-fat options by reading labels and looking for those that specifically say lean.
- Purchasing skinless meats, turkey, very lean beef, lean hamburger, sirloin steaks, and pork loin are great additions to your grocery cart!
- Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt can provide protein and calcium which is essential to you body.
- Look for low-fat and skim milk options to get the most benefit from this food group!
- When buying grain items like bread, cereal, or pasta choose those that are whole grain to provide you with the most nutrients and fiber.
- Make sure you read the labels to ensure that the first ingredient is whole wheat or another whole grain such as whole barley or whole buckwheat for example. Oatmeal is also another great example of a whole grain. Make sure you choose plain oats that do not have added sugar.
As times change, so does the way we shop. If you find yourself strapped for time, several grocery stores now offer a delivery service that allows you to shop from the comfort of your own home. Simply look up the food items you want to purchase and add them to the cart on your computer or smart phone and wait for them to arrive promptly at your front door. This method ensures that you cannot be tempted with store displays or hunger cravings as you get only what you placed in your cart.
An eating pattern can be defined as the combination of foods and beverages that make up an individual’s complete dietary intake over time. It represents all of what individuals habitually eat and drink, and these dietary components work together to impact health.
Healthier Eating Habits
A healthy eating habit should be tailored to the individual’s personal, cultural and traditional preferences as well as food budget. An individual’s healthy eating pattern will vary according to their calorie level. Healthy eating habits can help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient needs, and reduce risk for chronic disease.
The most nutritious or nutrient-dense foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, eggs, beans and peas, unsalted nuts and seeds, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and lean meats and poultry – all with little or no saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.
- Create healthy eating habits across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choosing a healthy eating habit at an appropriate calorie level can help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient needs, and reduce risk for chronic disease.
- Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across all food groups in recommended amounts.
- Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Create an eating habit low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components.
- Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.
- Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities.1
Create healthy eating habits that account for all food and beverages within an appropriate calorie level and include:
- A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups— dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
- Fruits, especially whole fruits
- Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
- A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
A healthy eating pattern limits:
- Saturated and trans fats
- Added sugars, and
Several components of the diet should be limited which are of particular public health concern, and the specified limits can help individuals achieve healthy eating habits within calorie limits:
- Consume less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars
- Consume less than 10% of calories per day from saturated fats
- Consume less than 1 teaspoon of salt per day
If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation – up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men – and only by adults of legal drinking age.1
How much should you eat?
You should eat the right amount of calories for your body, which will vary based on your gender, age, and physical activity level. Find out your daily calorie needs or goals with the Body Weight Planner by visiting www.supertracker.usda.gov/bwp.
Nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods.
Individuals should aim to meet their nutrient needs through healthy eating patterns that include nutrient-dense foods. Foods in nutrient-dense forms contain essential vitamins and minerals and also dietary fiber and other naturally occurring substances that may have positive health effects. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing one or more nutrients that otherwise may be consumed in less than recommended amounts.
Healthy eating patterns are adaptable.
Individuals have more than one way to achieve a healthy eating pattern. Any eating pattern can be tailored to the individual’s socio-cultural and personal preferences.
Consult with your healthcare professional before making significant changes in diet and nutrition.
Tips to Save More at the Store
Stretch your dollar with these helpful tips:
- Eat before you shop. Grocery shopping hungry can lead to impulse buying and unhealthy food choices.
- Read the sales flyer. Sales flyers are usually released mid-week and can be found at the store’s entrance, in the newspaper, or on their website.
- Use coupons – but only for items that you know you’ll use. If you don’t need an item right away, save the coupon and see if it goes on sale.
- Look up and down for savings. Stores often stock the priciest items at eye level. You can save big by looking at the upper and lower shelves too.
- Check for store brands. Most stores offer their own brand of products that often cost less than name brands.
- Choose fresh foods. Stores typically stock shelves from back to front, placing the newest items behind the older ones. Reach in the back for the freshest items especially in the produce, dairy, and meat aisles.
- Ask for a rain check. If a sale item has run out, ask the store for a rain check. This allows you to pay the sale price after the item is restocked.
- Join your store’s loyalty program. Most stores offer a free loyalty program. Get special offers and discounts that non-members do not.2
- Health.gov, Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/healthy-eating-patterns/
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/budget-save-more