Enjoy guilt free holiday eating

For dinner we had turkey and blazing pudding, and after dinner the Uncles sat in front of the fire, loosened all buttons, put their large moist hands over their watch chains, groaned a little and slept. -from A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas, 1914-1953.Some things don’t change. We can all identify with Dylan Thomas’s uncles and their after holiday dinner stupor.

Nowadays, dieticians have concerns about the impact of holiday overeating and drinking on health and weight. The American National Foundation for Cancer Research warns, “the combination of stress, fatigue and high fat foods-factors that traditionally go with the holidays-can over time increase you risk of cancer.”

Yet who wants to be a Scrooge and give up humbugs and all other goodies? It is possible to combine healthy eating and the holidays.
Minimize health risks
A dietician with a hospital in Akron, Ohio, gives simple tips for maintaining weight during the holidays. And the Cancer Research Foundation offers food tips that minimize your cancer risk from poor food choices.

Here’s a compilation of the best advice fromhese two sources:

Best holiday food tips:

  • Plan ahead and balance your high calorie foods with the rest of your daily intake. But don’t skip meals to “save up” calories. This usually leads to overeating.
  • Eat something light before going to a party. Then have a small portion of rich foods you especially enjoy. Pig out on fresh vegetables, crackers and fruit.
  • If you are bringing food to the party, take a dish light in calories and fat. This guarantees you’ll have at least one healthy choice to enjoy.
  • Don’t stand around the buffet table. Make your choices, then move on and enjoy the company.
  • Skin the turkey. You’ll reduce the amount of fat and calories significantly.
  • Use healthier cooking methods-roasting, baking, broiling or grilling instead of frying and sautéing holiday meals. This reduces fat-and also allows the true flavour of foods to come through.
  • Cook with lower fat dairy products. There’s little difference in taste-but a significant decrease in fat (which is used by cancer cells to grow).

Next page: More holiday food tips

  • More holiday food tips…
  • Include fish in your holiday traditions. Omega-B oils in tuna steak, salmon, mackerel and sardines protect the linings of cells so they can fight off cancer growth. Avoid tuna packed in vegetable oil.
  • Eat five to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Research says this can cut cancer risk in half.
  • Serve a spinach salad. Spinach contains one of the top cancer fighting enzymes-sulforaphane. Iceberg lettuce is a nutritional weakling. Don’t drench salads with fat loaded dressings and counter the powerful effects of the spinach.
  • Drink green tea. Soda and alcoholic beverages are empty calories. Juice drinks can be loaded with sugar. Green tea is one of the best non-calorie drinks-plus it contains well-documented cancer fighting ingredients.

The most encouraging word is that you can combine holiday foods and healthy eating habits. As with so much else that is fun in life, let balance and moderation be your guides.