National Nutrition Month

Health & Wellness Tips
National Nutrition Month Photo

Every year the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics puts forth a theme to celebrate the month. This year‘s theme, “Personalize Your Plate,” has special meaning to us. There is no one size fits all approach with regards to nutritional needs, especially when it comes to cancer. Every one of our patients is unique with different goals, nutritional needs, backgrounds, and taste preferences. Working as oncology dietitians, we see cancer patients strive to do their best every single day, and we do our best to help them be their best.

We may suggest adding protein to better help meet the increased demands that the body requires while undergoing treatment. It’s an important recommendation. We can help you do this! 

Sometimes it is necessary to change or tweak flavor profiles or change up key ingredients to accommodate for cultural preferences, taste changes from treatment, nutritional needs, etc. 

Whether you’re looking to include low energy-dense foods in your meal to help you feel full on fewer calories or whether you’re looking to up the calories and protein, there’s a personalized plate for everyone.

Our team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists celebrates the month and the beginning of the Spring season with a collection of ideas and recipes to help you to personalize your plate!

A few general tips: 

Already chopped up/bagged produce eliminates the need for re-washing (triple washed), trimming, chopping, slicing, dicing, and peeling. It also guarantees pieces are the same size and shape. Frozen foods defrost and/or cook fast and since you can stock up on them, it decreases trips to the supermarket.

Ideas For The “Salad” Base:

    Lettuce (try different varieties such as Green Leaf, Spring Greens, Iceberg, Boston, Butter, Romaine, Spinach, Microgreens) 
      Cauliflower salad
        Noodle salad
          Quinoa salad

          What should you add to your salad? Anything goes!

            Roasted vegetables 
              Sweet potato
                  Portobello mushroom
                        Shredded Brussels Sprouts
                          Raw Vegetables 
                                          Bell Pepper
                                                Brown rice
                                                  Tortellini pasta
                                                    Lentil pasta
                                                      Vegetable Pasta
                                                              Tortilla Strips
                                                                Wheat Germ
                                                                            Black-eyed peas
                                                                                Mandarin oranges
                                                                                    Grilled Pineapple
                                                                                      Dried cranberries
                                                                                                        Flax Seed
                                                                                                          Hemp Seeds
                                                                                                            Sesame Seeds
                                                                                                              Chia Seeds
                                                                                                                Poppy Seeds
                                                                                                                    Grilled or Shredded Chicken
                                                                                                                      Shredded pork
                                                                                                                        Turkey or Beef chop meat cooked w/ taco seasoning
                                                                                                                          Steak slices
                                                                                                                            Seared fresh Tuna or Canned Tuna
                                                                                                                              Shrimp, Crab or Lobster
                                                                                                                                  Cheese crisps
                                                                                                                                    Hard-boiled eggs
                                                                                                                                      Shredded Cheese (Cheddar, Mozzarella, Parmesan)
                                                                                                                                        Feta Cheese
                                                                                                                                          Goat Cheese
                                                                                                                                            Gorgonzola Cheese
                                                                                                                                              Cottage Cheese

                                                                                                                                              Suggestions For Homemade Dressing

                                                                                                                                                Make your own dressing and avoid adding sugar and salt; try some of these ingredients:
                                                                                                                                                  Flavor Infused Balsamic vinegar
                                                                                                                                                    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
                                                                                                                                                      Lemon Juice
                                                                                                                                                        Lime Juice
                                                                                                                                                            Maple Syrup
                                                                                                                                                              Dijon Mustard

                                                                                                                                                              See below to read 

                                                                                                                                                              Lauren’s recipe for Asian Sesame Pasta Salad

                                                                                                                                                              Michelle’s recipe for Sweetly Spiced Shrimp

                                                                                                                                                              Wendy’s Tips on Tofu And Herb & Spice Ideas

                                                                                                                                                              20 Minute Asian Sesame Salmon Pasta Salad


                                                                                                                                                                1)      1 bag Sesame Asian Dole chopped salad kit
                                                                                                                                                                  2)      3 cups whole wheat pasta cooked (1.5 cups dry)
                                                                                                                                                                    3)      3 6 oz. salmon filets
                                                                                                                                                                      4)      ½ cup brown sugar
                                                                                                                                                                        5)      ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
                                                                                                                                                                          6)      ¼ cup rice vinegar
                                                                                                                                                                            7)      2 garlic cloves minced
                                                                                                                                                                              8)      ¼ tsp pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                9)      ½ tsp salt
                                                                                                                                                                                  10)   ½ tsp sesame oil
                                                                                                                                                                                    11)   1 tbsp. cornstarch
                                                                                                                                                                                      12)   1 tbsp. water
                                                                                                                                                                                        13)   Sesame seeds for garnish


                                                                                                                                                                                          1)      Fill a large bowl with a chopped salad kit and toppings
                                                                                                                                                                                            2)      Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside
                                                                                                                                                                                              3)      In a small saucepan, whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and sesame oil in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk cornstarch and water together. Slowly add cornstarch mixture into a saucepan
                                                                                                                                                                                                4)      Bring to a boil (about 1-2 minutes) until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and reserve ¼ cup of the sauce for later
                                                                                                                                                                                                  5)      Place salmon in the pan and pour sauce on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 15-17 minutes until salmon is opaque.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    6)      While salmon is baking, boil 1.5 cups of whole wheat pasta until al dente. Drain and place in the fridge to cool.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      7)      Once salmon is finished cooking, remove from oven and brush ¼ cup reserved sauce on top of salmon.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        8)      Combine salmon and pasta with the chopped salad. Top with prepared Asian dressing from the kit and garnish with sesame seeds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Michelle’s Recipe for Sweetly Spiced Shrimp 


                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 cucumber, sliced
                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 avocados, scoop out and slice 
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1  jicama, julienned
                                                                                                                                                                                                                ½ cup roasted corn
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ½ small red onion, chopped
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1½ pound large or jumbo shrimp, grilled (brush with a light coating of the dressing below)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Limes


                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Juice from 2 limes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 tablespoon honey
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 teaspoon lime peel, grated
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 clove garlic, minced
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper to taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ¼ cup avocado oil


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1.Combine the first seven ingredients in a bowl; gently mix. Add the shrimp 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2.To make the dressing, combine the lime juice, peel, honey, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; mix together. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3.Add the oil; whisk well to blend the ingredients.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4.Pour the dressing over the shrimp vegetable mixture; toss gently to coat the ingredients.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5.Cover. Refrigerate for 1 hour to marinate and blend the flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wendy’s Tofu Tips & Seasoning Suggestions

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Try making baked tofu! You can add tofu to just about anything, soup, salad, grain bowls, or, use it as the protein to your meal. It’s so versatile and takes on the taste of the flavors of what it’s seasoned with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The trick to baked tofu is to drain out as much water as possible! Take the block of tofu out of the package, put it on a cutting board, put a few paper towels on top, and then put a plate on top. Check in about 10 minutes and then do this process 2 more times. Then season to your liking and bake 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Preheat oven to 375°. Season (*see ideas below) the tofu and let sit for about 10 when uses dry spices and 20 minutes with liquid marinade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray (or use parchment paper). and put the tofu pieces on it. Cook for ~20 minutes, flip tofu over to make even on both sides, then bake for another 7-10 minutes. Recommend monitor for doneness as cooking time can vary depending on the size of the pieces. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Now that your tofu is ready you can either cut it into rectangular pieces or square chunks. Here are a few spice combos to try on the tofu before baking. Any recipe can be tweaked to accommodate ethnic and cultural preferences to eat more healthfully.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Seasoning Suggestions:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chinese Cuisine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bean Paste, Chile Oil, Ginger, Green Onions, Hot Red Peppers, Sesame Oil, Sesame Seeds, Soy Sauce

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mexican Cuisine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bell Peppers, Chiles, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Coriander Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Garlic, Lime, Onions, Oregano, Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Spanish Cuisine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Almonds, Bell Peppers, Cumin Seeds, Garlic, Olives, Onions, Paprika, Parsley, Saffron

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Italian Cuisine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Anchovies, Basil, Bay Leaves, Fennel Seeds, Garlic, Onions, Oregano, Parsley, Pine Nuts, Red Pepper, Rosemary

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Indian Cuisine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Black pepper, Cardamom, Chiles, Cumin Seeds, Curry, Fenugreek, Garlic, Mace, Mint, Nutmeg, Red Pepper, Saffron, Turmeric

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Greek Cuisine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cinnamon, Dill, Garlic, Lemon, Mint, Nutmeg, Olives, Oregano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Caribbean Cuisine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cinnamon, Coriander, Curry, Garlic, Ginger, Lime, Nutmeg, Onions, Oregano, Red Pepper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  North African Cuisine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cilantro, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cumin, Garlic, Ginger, Mint, Red Pepper, Saffron, Turmeric