Nutrition and Cancer

Getting your kitchen spring ready

September 30, 2019 Word for Word Media 0Comment

Berna Harmse helps you get your kitchen and diet ready for the warmer months.

Declutter – get rid of all the junk in your kitchen

Processed sugary and fatty goods should be enjoyed sparingly. Here are items that must not be part of your weekly grocery shopping:

  • Processed and refined carbohydrates
  • Sugary sweets and cakes, biscuits or tarts
  • Potato and maize-based chips
  • Sugar-based sauces
  • Crumbed frozen meat and fish products
  • Pastries 
  • Sugar-coated breakfast cereals
  • Nuts that are roasted, salted, or sugar-coated
  • Milk chocolates
  • Cool drinks and cordials 

The kitchen essentials


Milk, and reduced-fat cheese (cottage cheese, feta, goats cheese and mozzarella)

Quick tip: Choose mature cheeses to satisfy the palate with smaller portions. Grate cheese instead of slicing. 

Fresh fruit and vegetables

Any type of fresh fruit is a must for easy snacks during the day.

Quick tip: Store fruit in the fridge for better retention of nutrients and longer-lasting freshness.

Fruits are great for curbing sweet cravings, use it as your snacks or puddings.

Veggie sticks 

For example, cucumber, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and celery.

Quick tip: Make an easy tzatziki with plain yoghurt and cumber. Great for veggie sticks.

Salads and salad dressing

Quick tip: Keep salad interesting by changing the things you add to it.

Always choose light or low-fat salad dressings, or simply drizzle with fresh lemon juice.


Eggs are a great source of protein and contain essential vitamins (A, D, B12 and B2) and minerals (folate and iron).

The best way to prepare eggs: 

  • Boil, with little to no added salt.
  • Scramble without butter.

Quick tip: Store boiled eggs in the fridge for your convenience.

Remember, if you fry eggs you increase their fat content by about 50%!

Frozen foods

This is for when you forgot to go to the shop.

  • Vegetables, frozen chicken (breast is best), fish fillets and seafood, and lean red meat. 
  • Low-fat frozen yoghurt or sorbet.


  • Bottled or from the tap.
  • Minimum 6-8 glasses per day (30ml to 1kg of your weight).
  • 1 glass = 250ml

Quick tip: Make sure your glass of water is always visible so that you actually drink it. Keep a bottle or a glass at your desk.

If you still struggle to meet your water quota, infuse with fruit, for a delicious thirst quencher. Drink it ice cold for extra thirst-quenching ability.

Cupboard basics


  • Oats and porridge
  • Whole-grain cereals
  • Whole-grain breads
  • Whole-wheat pasta and brown rice

Quick tip: Always choose whole-wheat or brown varieties that are high in fibre and nutrients. They will keep you fuller for longer. 

Tinned foods

Tinned tomatoes

Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, which helps to strengthen your immune system. The canning process also increases the amount of 

the antioxidant lycopene which helps fight against heart disease.

Tinned tuna

Tuna is a superfood, filed with essential nutrients such as omega 3, folate, protein and vitamin A.

Quick tip: Combine tuna and tomatoes, or use separately with your favourite pasta recipe.


These include beans, peas, lentils. They are great as a meat replacement because they have a high protein content.

Quick tip: Add them to soups, salads, stews or even pasta dishes for awesome variety.

Snacks and drinks


Quick tip: For healthier variety, pop your own at home with as little oil as possible. 

Herbal tea

Quick tip: Indulge a little. Herbal teas also add to your fluid/water intake for the day.

Nuts and seeds

They must be raw and unsalted.

How do these kitchen rules translate to your plate?

  • Everything in moderation.
  • Choose fats from plant sources, like avocado and olive oil. 
  • Eat more fish and chicken (two to three times per week).
  • Choose lean red meats (no more than four times per month).
  • Choose carbohydrates that are high in fibre and nutrients. 
  • Make fruit and vegetables the hero of every meal. 
  • Have more regular meals and snacks.
  • Drink plenty of water. 
  • Exercise regularly (at least 30 minutes per day for weight maintenance or 1 hour per day for weight loss).
Berna Harmse is a private practicing dietitian in Cape Town. She holds a MSc in Dietetics and has a special interest in oncology nutrition. She is also an external lecturer at Stellenbosch University Division of Human Nutrition.

MEET OUR EXPERT – Berna Harmse

Berna Harmse is a private practicing dietitian. She holds a MSc in Dietetics, and has a special interest in oncology nutrition. She is also an external lecturer at Stellenbosch University Division of Human Nutrition.

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