With eggnog, sugar cookies and cheese balls among the most popular dishes served at holiday parties; the season often causes even the strictest health nuts to stray from their nutritious paths. While an occasional indulgence is expected, it’s also important to remember that a healthy lifestyle is an important weapon in. The fight against the disease. Exercise

Exercise

According to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), healthier lifestyles and better diets could prevent up to 2.8 million cases. Of cancer each year. The number of cancers worldwide has increased by 20 percent in less than a decade to around 12 million new. Cases a year. The WCRF named cancer, along with other chronic diseases like heart and lung disease and diabetes, among the world’s biggest. Health challenges. Exercise

Exercise

The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly a third of cancer deaths could be prevented by improving nutrition, limiting alcohol intake, participating in the more physical activity and quitting smoking. This holiday season, Texas Oncology is encouraging people to make small changes that could result in big health pay–offs in the long run.

Cook With This, Not That

While no one expects you to totally skip the sweet potato casserole or cornbread stuffing, there are small substitutions that can cut calories and improve the nutrition of your favorite holiday recipes. Exercise

Substitute ingredients in these popular dishes with more nutritious ones:

  • Shortbread: Reduce the sugar by half and intensify the sweetness by adding vanilla.
  • Brownies: Substitute butter with baby prunes to cut more than half the fat and calories.
  • Salad: Replace iceberg lettuce with arugula, spinach or kale for a more nutrient–rich dish.
  • Stuffing: Instead of dry bread crumbs, use rolled oats for added fiber.
  • Breakfast Casserole: Use lean turkey or Italian prosciutto instead of bacon to cut calories and fat.

Give the Gift of Health

Give the gift of health to yourself and those around you by making healthier choices and simple adjustments to your regular holiday routine that can help reduce the risk of cancer and another disease later in life. Here are some ways to encourage healthy living while still spreading holiday cheer:

  • Start the day with a hearty breakfast. Fill–up on fiber–rich foods, such as oatmeal, and lean protein, such as turkey sausage, to stay full longer and get your metabolism going.
  • Sprinkle your table with healthier dishes. Challenge yourself to make holiday menus more nutritious by adding fresh vegetables and fruits and other dishes that are high in dietary fiber such as whole grains and beans. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends filling at least two–thirds of your plate with these types of foods.
  • Leave Santa a nutritious midnight snack. Promote healthy eating to children early by encouraging them to leave Santa apple slices and cider beside the fireplace.
  • Sneak in a workout. Make a goal to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. If you’re unable to break away for a jog or the gym, play with your kids, take the dog for a walk or pick the farthest parking spot to get moving and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Create “active” family traditions. Create healthy, fun family traditions that include a physical activity like cutting down your tree, building a snowman or playing flag football.
  • Give delicious, healthy treats as gifts. Make healthier items to give to neighbors, coworkers, and friends instead of candy and high–fat baked goods.

To make giving the gift of health easier, Texas Oncology has introduced its Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection that offers several ideas for tasty, yet healthy, treats including Merry Mulling Mix, an easy–to–make, healthy alternative to high–calorie beverages. This blend of dried oranges, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cranberries, and ginger can be combined with tea, apple cider or fruit juice to create a nutritious and delicious holiday beverage served hot or cold.

For more tips and to download Texas Oncology’s healthy holiday recipes, visit   www.TexasOncology.com

By Billie Marek, M.D., Texas Oncology–McAllen

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