How do you know which foods help fight cancer? I know it can be a scary word, but kids know what it is and we don’t need to skirt around the issue. Most of the kids we work with in the Sprouts – Get Out and Grow Program know someone who has had cancer or currently has it. And the more knowledge around healthier lifestyles we can give to youth, the more likely they will make the right choices.
As the kids are learning about antioxidants and phytochemicals, here are some of the foods the kids said would help fight cancer:
Swiss chard (can you believe this was voted vegetable favorite two years in a row?)
Smart! In our third season of our garden and cooking program for kids, we are focusing on cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables. And we planted a lot of those in our garden. We are so grateful for our partnership with The Hormel Institute, a world renowned cancer research center. Each week, a representative comes out to educate kids on the power within their food they eat. Even just starting with a little bit of education about cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables has given the kids the power to change their lifestyle and possibly prevent cancer. Knowing is half the battle which is the goal of Sprouts: Planting the seeds for healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
o Children making healthier choices through increasing fruit and vegetable intake
o Teaching the connection of fresh food to good health
o Teaching preparation of healthier meals and snacks
o Reinforcing positive perceptions around healthy foods.
We have collaborated with The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR), based in Washington D.C., to utilize some of their lessons in teaching kids about cancer and how to prevent it. The AICR suggests that if we all ate smarter, moved more and made healthy choices, about 1/3 of the cancers in the United States could be prevented – that’s 400,000 cases per year. Wow!
Whatever your choices are today, they become tomorrow’s habits. Kids grow fast which means cells replicate rapidly and are vulnerable to the effects of lifestyle choices. Eating foods that have lots of natural color to them like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy work to produce healthy cells. Poor food choices and lack of activity causes damage that may lead to a higher risk of cancer now and in the future.
Our horticulturist, Aimee, focused on good bugs and bad bugs in the garden. This activity was a winner, because each time the kids come out to the garden, they love to look for bugs. This activity helped them identify which bugs benefit the garden and which ones harm the garden. You could use the same idea with food – which ones benefit, which ones can cause harm.
After harvesting some naturally colorful ingredients needed for the day’s recipe, the kids were set to put it all together.
— Jen Haugen, RD,LD (@jenhaugen) July 17, 2013
Bean and Veggie Wrap
- 4 whole wheat tortillas
- 1 cup refried beans
- 1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
- 4 large leaves of lettuce
- 1 bell pepper (whichever color you choose), sliced
- 1/2 cup salsa
- Lay tortilla flat on plate. Spread 4 tablespoons refried beans over each tortilla.
- Sprinkle 4 tablespoons shredded cheese over refried beans.
- Lay lettuce leaf over top and add slices of bell peppers.
- Top with 2 tablespoons of salsa. Roll up tightly and cut in half.
Another thumbs up recipe! Try it at home for a quick and easy lunch.