October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
The Scoop: October is one of those milestone months in the year; a time when the kids are back in school and work kicks up a notch; a time when you tuck away your summer clothes to the back of the closet and pull out the comforter from your linen shelf. Just as the changing colors of the leaves signal a new beginning, the color pink–in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness–reminds us to celebrate life and to do so by taking steps to protect ourselves from breast cancer.
One way we often celebrate special moments with family and friends is by enjoying meals out at restaurants. And when dealing with a health issue, it is important we take care of our bodies by eating nutritiously. While no “superfood” is strong enough to prevent cancer, the National Cancer Institute offers some dietary recommendations. These suggestions include increasing intake of fruits, veggies and whole grains, decreasing fat intake to less than 30 percent of calories and maintaining a healthy weight. For help on how to apply these suggestions when eating out, check out the bite-sized tips below.
1.) Look for meals that emphasize veggies and fruits. Fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, which have been shown to slow or possibly prevent the development of cancer. You may have heard a lot about antioxidants in the news lately, and that’s because they protect cells from damage by interacting with unstable free radical molecules that may lead to cancer. The National Cancer Institute recommends eating 5 or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day. To do this, order an entree-sized salad or a main dish with sides of veggies/fruits.
2.) Avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol is closely tied to the risk of developing breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, women who consume 2 to 5 drinks daily have about 1∏ times the risk of women who drink no alcohol. But you can still celebrate any occasion with nonalcoholic beer, sparkling water or iced herbal teas.
3.) Choose whole grains whenever possible. Whole grain foods are often rich in fiber, which according to the American Dietetic Association, may offer protection in the prevention/treatment of cancers. Whole grains also contain folic acid, which aid in DNA replication. While studies are mixed on the role of folate in preventing breast cancer, there is evidence that folate reduces the incidence of breast cancer in women who consume alcohol. Suffice to say, whole grains are essential to a nutritious diet, which is good for everyone! Many restaurants are now offering whole wheat pastas and breads, brown rice and oatmeal.
4.) Reduce fats, especially saturated and trans fats. These “bad” fats, generally found in red meat, cheese and heavy sauces, have been linked to the likelihood of developing breast cancer. Don’t be afraid to ask your server for sauces on the side, and request that olive oil, which is lower in saturated fats, be used instead.
5.) Go Mediterranean. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that post-menopausal women who followed a Mediterranean diet may have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Healthy Dining lists a number of fantastic Mediterranean style restaurants, maybe a great time to try one out!
6.) Decrease total calories. There is strong evidence that shows a link between breast cancer and weight gain, especially after menopause. You can stay on track with your weight goals by choosing lower calorie meals. Now that restaurant chains are required to make their nutritional information public, and many smaller restaurants are providing this information due to increasing requests from their customers, you don’t have to worry about hidden calories. And of course you can find the best options on our website, www.HealthyDiningFinder.com.
7.) Preplan! Whenever following a special diet, it is important to preplan meals. That way you won’t be stuck trying to navigate a restaurant menu for their healthiest options while out with friends and family.
HealthyDiningFinder.com can help you choose healthier dishes from a wide selection of restaurants. And if you have a particular Healthy Dining restaurant in mind, you can select that restaurant and then sort the menu items by categories like saturated fat and calories.
Not only can we reduce our risk of developing certain forms of cancer through dietary changes, but we can also help in the fight against breast cancer by supporting businesses that bring attention to the cause. We here at Healthy Dining are pleased to highlight some of our participating restaurants that are taking action in creative ways:
Panera Bread is offering their signature Pink-Ribbon bagel during the month of October. The bagels are made with cherry chips, dried cranberries, vanilla, honey and brown sugar. Plus, a portion of proceeds go to benefit breast cancer charities.
–Healthy Dining Recommendation: Mediterranean Veggie Café Sandwich. Calories: 610; Fiber: 9g; Fruit/Veggies: 1c.
Hooters is living up to their namesake with their contribution of over $200,000 to breast cancer research.
-Healthy Dining Recommendation: Grilled Chicken Garden Salad. Calories: 265; Fiber: 4g; Fruit/Veggies: 2.5c. (Note: Dressing not included in analysis.)
KFC is helping fight breast cancer with every pink bucket of chicken. That’s right, the famous red bucket is going pink! The popular chicken chain has teamed up with Susan G. Komen for the Cure in a national “Buckets for the Cure” campaign which runs in the spring.
-Healthy Dining Recommendation: Meal Combination #2 (Grilled Chicken Breast, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, Corn and Green Beans). Calories: 445; Fiber: 5g.
The Yard House is also a proud supporter of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. For 10 years and running, the restaurant sponsors the Race for the Cure held in September.
-Healthy Dining Recommendation: Caesar Salad with Ahi. Calories: 260; Fiber: 3g; Fruit/Veggies: 4.25c. (Note: Dressing not included in analysis.)
By dining at these Healthy Dining restaurants, you can feel good about what you are eating and take pride in the fact that you are supporting the fight against breast cancer!
About Healthy Dining
Spanning fast food to upscale dining, coast to coast, every menu item on the site is approved by Healthy Dining’s registered dietitians and meets Healthy Dining’s criteria. HealthyDiningFinder.com empowers you to enjoy dining out as a delicious part of your healthy lifestyle. The site also offers inspiration and education through free e-newsletters, blogs, coupons, nutrition tips and recipes.