Q: I’m determined to provide my children with healthy after-school
snacks this year.
What should I give
A: Since most Americans, young and old, don’t eat enough vegetables
and fruits, try including them in an afternoon snack.
Fresh fruits, raw vegetable sticks, baby
carrots, raisins, unsweetened applesauce and frozen grapes or bananas are all
Sometimes a dip made from
plain yogurt or cottage cheese makes veggies more fun for kids to eat. Some
children need more substantial snacks than others, depending upon how big a
lunch they eat, how early they eat dinner and how much of a growth spurt they
are in at the time.
For snacks that will
sustain a child more than just an hour or two, try including a little bit of
low fat protein.
You could offer a piece
of string cheese with fruit, cereal with milk and fruit, whole grain English
muffins with peanut butter or melted reduced-fat cheese, or hummus dip with
vegetables and a couple pita bread wedges.
Children also enjoy making their own snack combinations. Ask for a hand
in making a trail mix of dried fruits, bite-size cereals, pretzels and a few
nuts; a yogurt, fruit and cereal parfait; or homemade fruit and yogurt
Q: Do neutropenic diets really help protect people during cancer
A: Neutropenic (nu-tro-PEE-nik) diets aim to protect people if
their immune system weakens during cancer treatment.
Most food contains some bacteria, but
normally our immune systems quickly destroy it.
People with fewer white blood cells to provide immune function may not
be able to do so, and neutropenic diets can help these patients avoid risky
food and drink. Neutropenic diets usually allow:
meat, chicken and fish only if cooked
well-done; vegetables and fruits only if cooked, canned or frozen; pasteurized
canned or frozen juice; vacuum-packed luncheon meat; and well water if boiled
at least one minute.
Yogurt and other
dairy products with active cultures, soft or mold-containing cheese (Brie,
feta, blue), and raw or stir-fried vegetables and fruits must be avoided.
Although these diets are often prescribed in cancer treatment centers and
hospitals, research support is limited; some studies suggest that the extra
steps in a neutropenic diet may add little additional protection. But since
infections can delay treatment or even pose life-threatening risk, treatment
teams may choose to take the extra precaution. Even if a neutropenic diet is
not ordered, do note that the basic food safety precautions that the Food &
Drug Administration (FDA) urges all of us to use become more important than
ever when immune function is low.
include: washing hands thoroughly before cooking and eating, cleaning cutting
surfaces carefully and avoiding cross-contamination.
Q: Is it true that steaming maintains phytochemical content better than
other ways of cooking broccoli?
A: Not necessarily.
in large amounts of water, whether on the stove or in the microwave, has been
shown to allow loss of broccoli’s vitamin C content as well as a decrease in
glucosinolates (cancer-fighting compounds found in cruciferous
The good news is that
steaming, stir-frying and microwaving with just a little added water all seem
to maintain these protective compounds.
The American Institute for Cancer Research
(AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of
nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets
the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has
contributed more than $86 million for innovative research conducted at
universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has
published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the
field and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a
wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make
dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate
program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its Web site, www.aicr.org.
AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.
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