Most of the recipes I develop are targeted toward people living their daily lives, from packing school lunches to hosting football parties. As we know, healthy eating doesn’t only have its place in a child’s lunchbox or on a coffee table. And it isn’t just about giving our kids brain food or our friends an alternative for hot wings.
Our lives – our whole lives – depend on it.
A healthy diet is undoubtedly beneficial and important for everyone. It helps us to feel our best while preventing and recovering from disease – all in an effort to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. Eating a healthy diet can even help to prevent diseases like breast cancer.
Here are some healthy eating tips from Susan G. Komen for the Cure for overall health and possible protection against different types of cancer and other diseases:
Maintain a healthy weight by limiting high-calorie foods and beverages and living a physically active lifestyle.
Eat the following:
- At least 2½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day.
- 100 percent whole grain foods (ex. 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa).
- Eat “healthy” fats – aka polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (ex. olive and canola oil, nuts and natural nut butters, avocado and olives).
- Limit the following:
- Red meat and processed meat. Instead, eat chicken, fish or beans.
- “Bad” fats – aka saturated and trans fats (ex. red meat, fatty deli meats, poultry skin, full fat dairy, fried foods, margarine, donuts and microwave popcorn).
The recipes below incorporate the guidance above, with a focus on a specific naturally occurring plant chemical that can help to prevent breast cancer, among other forms and diseases: carotenoids. These are the plant pigments that create the color in apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, leafy greens, oranges, sweet potatoes, cooked tomatoes, watermelon and winter squash. I love the color that carotenoids bring into food and that, given their wide range of flavors and textures, they’re easy to incorporate into your diet.
Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chicken and Quinoa Chili
It’s finally cooling down in Augusta, and temps have dropped below the 90s! This calls for chili.
This recipe includes three vegetables that are high in carotenoids – carrots, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. It also incorporates Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s guidance above with the use of whole grains (quinoa), chicken (instead of red meat) and no “bad” fats.
- 6 sweet potatoes, baked, cut down the middle
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, uncooked
- 2-14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes no salt added
- 1-15.25 oz. can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1-15.5 oz. can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1-15.5 oz. can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1-15.25 oz. can no-salt-added corn, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 carrot, shredded with box grater
- 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. paprika
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup goat cheese crumbles
- 2 cups or 12 oz. Greek or soy yogurt
- Cilantro, to taste
- Add all ingredients, except for the optional ones, to the slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or until the chicken is completely cooked through and chicken can be shredded easily. Mix all ingredients.
- Divide chili among open-faced potatoes, and top with desired toppings.
If you’re looking for something with which you can pair this, I recommend a spinach or kale salad. Try some carrots, tomatoes and feta or goat cheese on top with your choice of healthy fat (avocado, nuts, olives, olive oil). Spinach, kale, carrots and tomatoes are all carotenoids.
- 2 cups kale
- 1 banana
- 3 oz. plain Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp. powdered peanut butter or reduced-fat natural peanut butter
- 8 oz. almondmilk (just enough to drench most of the kale)
- About 10 ice cubes (to fill line)
- Place all ingredients into a blender or single-serve blender cup, and blend.
Butternut Squash Soup
Check out this recipe, which I shared in March for a segment of healthier lunch foods as part of a “Clean 2016” series.