Skip to main content

Hofer: Are you living smart?

Eating well and getting exercise are good for you. It’s as simple as that. Here’s a quiz from the American Cancer Society to see where you rate in nutrition and physical activity. To find out the steps you and your family can take to eat healthier and be more active – important steps on the road to staying well – be sure to visit our Web site at In the meantime, see how well you do. … and see if you are living smart.

How do you rate? (Answer “yes” or “no” to the questions below)

I eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruits each day.

I eat at least three servings of whole-grain bread, rice, pasta every day.

I drink reduced-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt, and I seldom eat high-fat cheeses.

I rarely eat processed and red meat – like bacon, hot dogs, sausage, steak or ground beef.

I take it easy on high-calorie baked goods such as pies, cakes, cookies and doughnuts.

I rarely add butter, oil, sour cream or mayonnaise to foods.

I rarely (less than twice a week) eat fried foods.

I maintain a healthy weight.

I get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise five or more days per week.

I usually take the stairs instead of the elevator.

I try to spend my free time being active, instead of watching TV or at the computer.

I never or rarely drink alcohol.


0-4 “Yes” Answers: Uh oh. Diet alert!

Yikes, your diet is probably too high in fat and too low in vegetables, fruits and grains. Maybe take a look at your eating habits and find ways to make some changes. Need to increase your fruits and veggies? Trying to watch your fat? Recipes below.

4-8 “Yes” answers: Not bad! You’re halfway there!

You still have a way to go, though. Check your “no” answers to figure out which areas of your diet need to be improved, or whether you should exercise more.

9-12 “Yes” Answers: Hey, good for you! You’re living smart!

Keep up the healthy habits and keep on looking for ways to improve.

Eating the right foods and getting plenty of exercise can reduce cancer risk. In fact, approximately one of three cancer deaths in the United States could be avoided through a good diet and physical activity.

Below are the Nutrition & Physical Activity Guidelines for the Prevention of Cancer from the American Cancer Society:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods, with an emphasis on plant sources.
  • ??Eat at least five servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.

  • ??Choose whole-grain breads, cereals, rice and pasta instead of refined grains and sugars.

    Tip: Remember that serving sizes of grain foods are fairly small – 1 slice of bread, ½ bagel, 1 ounce ready-to-eat cereal, ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta.
  • Limit consumption of processed and red meats.

    Tip: When you eat meat, select lean cuts and small portions. Aim for 3 or 4 ounces – about the size of a deck of cards or a bar of soap, and think about meat as a side dish to your meal, instead of the entrée. Prepare meat by baking, broiling or poaching rather than frying or charbroiling. Little known tip: Look for “ground turkey breast” on the label; if it just says “ground turkey” it has the high-fat skin ground up with it
  • Adopt a physically active lifestyle.

    Adults: Exercise 30 minutes five or more days a week; 45 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous activity on five or more days per week may further reduce your risk of breast and colon cancer. Children and teens: Exercise 60 minutes a day five days per week.
  • If you drink alcohol, limit consumption.

  • For men, limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day; for women, 1 drink a day (a drink is 12 ounces of beer or five ounces of wine).

Below are two healthy recipes. For more recipes, or for tips and tools to help you get your skinny on and shape up, contact the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345 or

Healthy beverage recipes for kids

Kool-Aid Slush

1 tsp. Kool-Aid powder (unsweetened)

2 tbsp. egg substitute

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 cup crushed ice

Blend all ingredients in blender until they are the consistency of snow. Serve immediately.

Nutritional information: 120 calories and 4 grams protein.

Banana Nut Milk Shake

1 cup vanilla ice cream

4 oz. half and half

½ ripe banana

1 pkg. vanilla Carnation Instant Breakfast

½ to 1 capful of black walnut extract

Blend all ingredients in blender. Serve immediately.

Nutritional information: 555 calories and 18 grams protein.

About the American Cancer Society

At the American Cancer Society, our vision is a world with less cancer and more birthdays. As part of that vision, we are fighting cancer in every community, for every family, to help save lives. We recognize each community has different needs and we’re here to help everyone stay well and get well, to find cures, and to fight back against cancer. For cancer information, contact us at or (800) 227-2345.

Charlotte Hofer is public relations manager for the American Cancer Society in South Dakota. She is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and her work for ACS focuses on cancer education through the media. Contact her at