Posted 1 month ago

Create a Plate for Cancer Prevention

Choosing what to eat can sometimes be the most difficult task of the day, especially when trying to eat healthy. Most of us know what encompasses a healthy diet, but developing and implementing these habits can be the tough part. Diet plays a large role in chronic disease prevention and especially cancer risk. Luckily, with the help of research and backed by evidence-based recommendations, the American Institute for Cancer Research has developed a blueprint to build a balanced meal. And the great part is, it’s easy to follow and implement! They coined it as the New American Plate.

The New American Plate provides a model to which individuals can base their meals around. This plate heavily encourages the inclusion of plant-based foods, which are the components shown to be beneficial for overall health and the prevention of cancer. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes contain cancer-fighting properties such as fiber, nutrients, and phytochemicals and are the focus of plate, making up at least 2/3 of the meal. Completing the other 1/3 of the plate are animal proteins, ideally chicken, fish, turkey, and low-fat dairy products. Research shows that the inclusion red meat and processed meats increase risk of various cancers and are recommended to be limited. The overarching goal of the New American Plate as defined by AICR is “portion and proportion”. Following this guide can help in achieving a well-portioned, balanced plate that is realistic and can be used long-term.

Making the transition to the New American Plate can present as a daunting task because habits can be hard to adjust. To make the change less overwhelming, take one step at a time by making small adjustments. Examples could be finding a new vegetable to try with dinner nightly, switching one grain source to a whole grain or whole wheat product, or substituting one meal each day to include a lean protein source rather than red meat or processed meat.

You are not alone when it comes to navigating your eating habits. As Registered Dietitians, we are dedicated to providing guidance when developing healthy lifestyle choices. Please do not hesitate to reach out to one the Registered Dietitians at Ironwood Cancer and Research Centers for more information. We are here to help you!

Lauren Duda, RD

Lauren PhotoLauren was born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona and has lived throughout the Valley her entire life. She attended Arizona State University and graduated with her undergraduate degree in Nutrition (Dietetics) and a minor in Family and Human Development in December 2017. Lauren completed her dietetic internship through Arizona State University and became a registered dietitian in August 2020.

Lauren’s interest in nutrition peaked at the age of 14, when she experienced a personal journey in developing her relationship with food. She decided that she wanted to help people like herself and educate the general public about nutrition.  Becoming a registered dietitian was a clear career path and quickly became a dream of hers at a young age. Throughout the years, Lauren began to realize how necessary nutrition is in the management of disease, especially when witnessing her family members experience major health concerns. With this deepening her desire to care for others, Lauren ultimately knew that it was her goal to provide nutrition therapy in way that also values empathy, compassion, and kindness.

When she’s not working, Lauren loves spending her free time with friends, family, and her dog, Zeppelin. She enjoys listening to music, attending concerts, styling clothes, and hiking/biking during the cooler months.