Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is the lead registered dietitian at Zesty, Inc. She is passionate about helping others improve their health through diet and physical activity and believes eating nutritious food should be easy and taste great. You can follow her on Twitter @SonjaGoedkoopRD.
Stir-fries have always been one of my staple dinners. They are quick, versatile, and pack a variety of flavors and textures into a one-pot meal. Moreover, they are typically full of nutritious ingredients. Stir-fries are made up of mostly vegetables, making it easy to follow AICR’s cancer-protective New American Plate model: fill 2/3 of your plate with plant-based food and 1/3 or less is animal food.
This shrimp and pineapple stir-fry incorporates some of my favorite summer produce: snap peas, pineapple, basil, and bell pepper. The more colorful your plate is the better, since color is often an indication of the type of nutrients found in the food. For example, the bright red color you get from red bell peppers comes from the profile of carotenoids found in peppers, which are compounds that can help prevent eye disease and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
This entire stir-fry only takes about 15 minutes to cook, making it a great option for a busy week day. You can also make up a large batch early in the week and save leftovers in the fridge for additional easy meals throughout the week.
Two of my favorite ingredients in this recipe are the water chestnuts and pineapple. Water chestnuts add a nice crunchy texture to the dish, while pineapple adds natural sweetness to contrast the tart vegetables. Many restaurant stir-fry sauces are high in sugar and sodium, so using fresh ingredients and making your own healthier sauce ensures you are still getting the maximum nutritional benefit out of your dinner.
You can swap out the vegetables for any other vegetables you have on hand and also substitute the shrimp with chicken, tofu or another protein food. Eat the dish as is, or serve it over your whole grain of choice, such as brown rice, quinoa, or brown rice noodles. Sprinkle the basil on top right before you serve it to preserve its bright green color.
The American Institute for Cancer Research helps the public understand the relationship between lifestyle, nutrition and cancer risk. We work to prevent cancer through innovative research, community programs and impactful public health initiatives.