Healthy kids today, prevent cancer tomorrow

Published 4:20 pm Saturday, April 13, 2013


What do you value in life?

Is it health, is it success, is it family?  Have you ever taken the time to think about what really matters to you and narrowed it to your top three values? As my good friend Chere says, life is better when our values are in balance — meaning you are living your life with your values as your top priorities.

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It’s no surprise two of my values are family and health.  April brings another reminder to focus on family and health because it’s National Gardening Month and Cancer Prevention Month.

How do those two things go together?  Let me count the ways:

•Vegetable gardening almost ensures you are eating healthier because you eat what you grow.  And all those naturally colored vegetables provide key nutrients for cancer prevention.

•The American Institute of Cancer Research recommends 30 minutes of physical activity per day — gardening can easily help you achieve that.

•Both eating healthier from your garden and being active with gardening can help you maintain a healthy body weight, which studies show decreases cancer risk.

We can control three factors that could greatly reduce our risk of cancer: being active, being at a healthy weight and eating meals that include a lot of plant-based foods.

We all know someone who has had cancer, and it’s a powerful reminder to create a healthier future for you and your family by making simple, yet healthier choices. What can you do right now?

•Talk with your family about having a garden. What would you plant, where could it be, how big do you want it, what would you do with what you grow?

•Attend a garden workshop at Austin Hy-Vee where you and your child can get your vegetable garden started and take it home to care for it and then transplant it into your garden.

The class is 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, It’s an open house-style class; you can come anytime during the time slot. And for only $10, you can start six plants for your vegetable garden. All the supplies are included.

Habits form early.  Just think how hard it is to change a habit as we get older — and compare that to starting fresh, just like you can now with your family.

The American Institute of Cancer Research is dedicated to providing up-to-date and trustworthy resources for cancer prevention and cancer survivors.

This recipe appears on its site, Our Sprouts Garden will be incorporating their research this year in the garden to create healthier kids in our community.

Cauliflower potato bake

Serves 6

All You Need

•1 medium yellow or white potato, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

•1 medium red pepper, seeded and diced

•2 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite-size pieces

•1 tablespoon olive oil

•½ teaspoon garlic powder

•¼ teaspoon onion powder

•Salt and black pepper, to taste

•2 tablespoons fat-free milk

•¼ cup Parmesan cheese

•2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

All You Do

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9-inch baking dish with canola or olive oil cooking spray and set aside. In medium bowl, toss potato, red pepper and cauliflower with oil, garlic and onion powder. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Transfer vegetables to prepared baking dish. Drizzle milk evenly over top. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. If desired, brown cheese by placing dish under broiler for 30 seconds, watching carefully.  Garnish with parsley and serve hot as side dish.