Healthy eating: The local classes helping families make better choices

MILWAUKEE -- These days it's trendy to eat healthy -- but some people haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet because they don't know how. But Kohl's Healthy Families and the American Cancer Society are trying to change that. Laurie Bertrand, executive director of the American Cancer Society in Wisconsin joins Real Milwaukee to talk about healthy choices.

Healthy Choices, a nutrition program at Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, just received a grant from the American Cancer Society (ACS) and Kohl's Healthy Families to help those it serves make healthy food choices and break the cycle of obesity. With the help of ACS and Kohl's, the director of Healthy Choices Tatiana Maida is adding new resources that will teach families how eating healthier also can help prevent cancer.

Why is eating healthy so important?

  • Many people know it's important to be healthy but aren't aware how important it is from a cancer prevention standpoint
  • The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 20% of all cancers diagnosed in the US are related to body fatness, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption and/or poor nutrition.
  • Farmers markets, community gardens, healthy cooking classes and recipes, produce refrigerators at food pantries, healthy eating programs at schools all create greater access to nutrition resources and lower cancer risks
  • It can be hard staying active/eating healthy during the winter.
  • Even if the weather is bad, there are still a lot of ways to exercise - take the stairs, put on a free at-home workout video, play an active video game (like Wii tennis or bowling), walking at the mall or an indoor track; aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.

Other tips:

  • Keep a food journal and slowly work to incorporate healthier recipes; seeing it on paper will help you see where you have room to improve.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals; one short-term goal that has a long-term effect is the 30 day water challenge to drink eight 8 oz. glasses (64 oz.) per day.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Soup
4-6 servings

•1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
•1/2 tbsp coconut oil (or other oil)
•3 garlic cloves, minced
•2 cup diced sweet onion (about 1/2 large)
•1 jalapeno, seeded if preferred and diced
•1 large sweet potato (350 g), peeled and chopped to 1/2-1 inch dice (2.5-3 cups)*
•1.5 tsp ground cumin
•1 tsp chili powder
•1/2 tsp ground coriander
•6 cups vegetable broth
•1.5 cups cooked black beans (one (15-oz) can rinsed and drained)
•fine grain sea salt and black pepper, to taste (I used 1/2 tsp salt or a bit more)
•1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or red pepper flakes)
•2 handfuls Spinach or Kale leaves
•toppings: avocado, cilantro, lime juice, green onion

1. In a medium-sized pot, add quinoa along with 1.5 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cover with tight fitting lid. Simmer covered for about 17 minutes or until the water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat, fluff with fork, and keep it covered until ready to use.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large wok or pot. Add garlic and onion and sauté for a few minutes over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Now add in the jalapeno and sweet potato and sauté for 5-7 minutes more.
3. Stir in the quinoa, beans, cumin, chili powder, coriander, cayenne and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes uncovered, or until the potatoes are tender.
4. Just before serving, stir in the spinach or kale Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding more spice if desired.
5. Garnish soup with cilantro, green onion, avocado, and lemon

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