From Zaw M. Bo, MD, a board-certified medical oncologist and hematologist with OHC

February 6, 2019

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, their lives are forever changed. It can affect every aspect of their physical, emotional and financial well-being. At OHC, we’re experts at treating cancer and providing support services to surround our patients with everything they need. We’re also here to help you discover what you can do to prevent it.

It’s common knowledge that a healthy diet and regular exercise can have a significant impact on our overall health. It’s also shown to help prevent cancer. Most people know this means we should eat more vegetables, fruits, grains and less meat, sugar, carbs and fat, but what many people don’t know is how much of what to eat.

Here’s some helpful information to support you in your efforts to make good choices that promote cancer prevention. The USDA Dietary Guidelines suggests that people age 50 or older choose foods every day from the following:

  • Fruits: 1½ to 2½ cups
  • Vegetables: 2 to 3½ cups
  • Grains: 5 to 10 ounces
  • Protein foods: 5 to 7 ounces
  • Dairy foods: 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk
  • Oils: 5 to 8 teaspoons

These are excellent and tangible guidelines to follow, but what happens when you don’t have a food scale or measuring cups on hand? Here are some common items that can help you determine how much to eat when you can’t measure your food.

baseballOne cup cooked vegetables, salad, baked potato = baseball
dice1 to 1½ ounces cheese = four dice
handThree ounces of meat or poultry = palm of hand
cupHalf cup fruit, beans, rice, noodles, or ice cream = cupcake wrapper
fingerOne teaspoon margarine or oil = tip of first finger
compact discOne pancake or tortilla = compact disc

Another option is to get a portion control plate. These plates are divided so you can easily fill half of it with vegetables, one-quarter with protein, and one-quarter with starches. They’re especially useful for home or to take to work. There are numerous places where you can buy portion plates.

You can learn more about nutrition and its link to cancer by browsing the blogs on our web site, If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, contact OHC’s cancer specialists at 1-888-649-4800 or visit

Source: National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging

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