Welcome to Week 1 of the Eat the Rainbow Fruit and Veggie Challenge! This is a 12-week challenge focused on what you CAN eat instead of what you can’t.
By now, you have likely been told to “eat more fruits and vegetables” countless times by friends, doctors, dietitians, etc. But have they ever explained why eating more fruits and vegetables is beneficial for a cancer survivor? What about how to add more fruits and vegetables into your diet? Lastly, with all of the conflicting nutrition information out there, how are you supposed to tell what is a myth versus what is a fact?
In this 12-week series, we will do all of that for you! We are going to:
- Explain why fruits and vegetables are important for cancer survivors
- Help you increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet
- Bust some common myths about fruits and vegetables
Every week, you will receive an email containing some great information as well as a delicious and easy recipe highlighting different fruits and vegetables.
This week, let’s start off with the basics!
Fruits and vegetables are two types of foods that can help reduce risk for cancer diagnosis and recurrence. This is because fruits and vegetables are full of good things like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (natural substances) – all of which contain cancer-fighting properties.
The American Institute for Cancer Research has suggested that covering ⅔ of your plate with plant foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans can reduce your risk for cancer and other chronic diseases.
If you are not already eating this way – don’t stress! You do not have to completely change your eating habits overnight. Start by making small changes like adding in an extra serving of veggies at dinner, or a handful of berries on top of your cereal in the morning. Even small changes can improve your health.
Tracking Your Habits!
As part of the challenge, I am asking you to keep track of your fruit and vegetable intake. At the end of each week, you can submit your intake via this form! I don’t need you to track everything you eat, just when you eat fruits/veggies during the day. Use an app on your phone or a simple piece of paper with a pen. I often use this printable form to track my weekly progress. Remember: you only need to track if a fruit or vegetable was present at the meal! No need to write servings or amounts, a simple checkmark by breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack for each day is all you need to record for this challenge.
This is not required to participate or complete the challenge, but it is helpful to track your progress. The printable/weekly form will make you aware of what you are eating for each meal throughout the week. The form will also make you aware of your hunger and energy levels while eating fruits/vegetables. It should be pretty simple, but if you have any questions let me know!
One final thing – each week of this series, you will be given a “challenge” to help you on your journey to eating more fruits and vegetables.
Give each challenge a try, and let us know how you are doing by posting photos on our Eat the Rainbow! Facebook group page!
Week 1 Challenge:
Add 1 extra serving of a fruit or vegetable to your day 2x this week. This can be at breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a snack!
Produce Highlight of the Week: Cabbage
Cabbage is part of the cruciferous vegetable family (along with broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc.), and has some great health benefits!
This group of vegetables are known for their cancer-preventing properties, and many studies have linked increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables to decreased incidence of several types of cancer.
Cabbage and its cruciferous friends are high in fiber, folate, vitamin C, and compounds called glucosinolates.
Glucosinolates are compounds that have been shown to prevent cancer by increasing carcinogen elimination from the body and increasing production of tumor-fighting proteins.
How to Make it Delicious!
Raw, steamed, or roasted – cabbage can be eaten in a variety of different ways! It often gets a bad reputation for being bitter and smelly, but if prepared correctly it is delicious!
Try out this Roasted Cabbage recipe for the easiest way to prepare it, just a few slices, brushing with oil and into the oven until it’s crispy!
Easy Roasted Cabbage
- 1 head of green cabbage
2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and black pepper
Lemon slices for serving (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 450ºF. Spray a roasting pan or baking sheet with nonstick spray or olive oil.
Cut the head of cabbage into 8 wedges of equal size, cutting through the core and stem end of the cabbage. Then, cut away the core/stem from each wedge, and place them onto your roasting pan/sheet. Space them apart equally.
Put your olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl, and whisk to combine. Brush each cabbage wedge with the mixture and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast the cabbage in the oven for 15 minutes, then carefully flip over and roast for 10-15 minutes longer, until the cabbage is cooked and lightly brown.
Serve hot, with additional lemon wedges if desired.
-Julie & The Interns