With eggnog, sugar cookies, and cheese balls among the most popular dishes served at holiday parties, it’s no wonder the season causes even the biggest health nuts and strictest dieters to stray from their nutritious paths. A healthy lifestyle is an important weapon in the fight against disease, so this holiday season Texas Oncology encourages people to make small changes that could result in big health payoffs. To make it easy, Texas Oncology introduces its Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection, with this year’s featured Merry Mulling Mix recipe, and shares tips to promote healthier eating and exercise during the holidays.
According to a recent report by 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 around the world has increased by 20 percent in less than a decade to around 12 million new cases a year. WCRF named cancer, along with other chronic diseases like heart and lung disease and diabetes, among the world’s biggest health challenges.
“Adopting a healthy lifestyle with a well-balanced diet full of nutrients is important for overall well-being and critical to preventing and fighting cancer,” said Dr. Lalan Wilfong, medical oncologist at Texas Oncology. “This season, give the gift of health to yourself and others by making better choices and simple adjustments to your regular holiday routine that can help reduce the risk of disease later in life.”
Small Changes, Big Health Pay-Offs
The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly a third of cancer deaths could be prevented by improving nutrition, limiting alcohol intake, participating in more physical activity, and quitting smoking.
When planning holiday gatherings and creating new traditions, here are some tips to help you stay on track 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.
- Cook with This, Not That. Limit foods that are high in fat and added sugars and substitute ingredients in these popular dishes with more nutritious ones:
o Shortbread: Reduce the sugar by half and intensify the sweetness by adding vanilla.
o Brownies: Substitute butter with baby prunes to cut more than half the fat and calories.
o Salad: Replace iceberg lettuce with arugula, spinach, or kale to add more nutrients.
o Stuffing: Instead of dry bread crumbs, use rolled oats for added fiber.
o Breakfast Casserole: Use lean turkey or Italian prosciutto instead of bacon to cut calories and fat.
- Leave Santa a nutritious midnight snack. Promote healthy eating to children early by encouraging them to leave Santa apple slices and apple cider with Merry Mulling Mix 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, go on a family holiday hike, 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 physical activity, like cutting down your own tree, building a snowman, or playing a friendly game of 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.
Give the Gift of Health this Season
Texas Oncology’s Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection offers several healthy recipe and gift ideas—from Holly Jolly Biscotti and Gingerbread Granola to Jingle Jam and Holiday Crunch Time—that are delicious and nutritious. The latest recipe in the collection, Merry Mulling Mix is 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.
Merry Mulling Mix contains orange peel with antioxidants that have the potential to lower cholesterol and help normalize blood pressure. Orange peel also contains vitamins that have been shown to reduce the growth of lung and skin cancer cells. The nutmeg provides a good source of minerals like calcium and potassium – the latter of which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. The spice is also rich in Vitamin C and folic acid, which are essential to optimum health. Cranberries are a powerful source of flavonoids, a family of phytonutrients with antioxidants.
Texas Oncology is looking out for Texans’ health, providing them with the top technologies and treatment options available.
About Texas Oncology
Texas Oncology delivers high-quality cancer care with leading-edge technology and advanced treatment and therapy options available to help patients achieve “More breakthroughs. More victories.”® in their fights against cancer. Texas Oncology, a pioneer in community-based cancer care, is an independent oncology practice with sites of service throughout Texas and southeastern Oklahoma. Texas Breast Specialists and Texas Urology Specialists, which focus on all areas of breast and urologic care, are a part of Texas Oncology.
Texas Oncology patients have the opportunity to take part in some of the most promising clinical trials in the nation for a broad range of cancers. Texas Oncology participates in innovative clinical trials from Phase I through Phase IV through US Oncology Research, which has helped to develop 43 FDA approved cancer therapies.
Texas Oncology is united in healing with The US Oncology Network, one of the nation’s largest community-based cancer treatment and research networks focused on advancing cancer care in America. As an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, Texas Oncology is united with more than 1,000 physicians and 10,000 cancer professionals nationwide. The US Oncology Network is supported by McKesson Specialty Health.
For more information, visit http://www.TexasOncology.com or call 1-888-864-I CAN