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Tips for healthy holiday meals

December 12, 2017 | by CTCA

healthy holidays
Eating healthy before, during and after cancer treatment may help patients feel better and stay stronger, and help fight infection.

Between the neighborhood get-togethers and office parties, the last-minute shopping and wrapping, and the cookie baking and exchanging, eating healthy during the holidays—when dips, desserts and casseroles often taken center stage—is challenging for most people. But for cancer patients, it’s especially important. Eating healthy before, during and after cancer treatment may help patients feel better and stay stronger, and help fight infection.

It's important to not only eat healthy during the holidays to maintain your nutritional status, but also to stay well.” - Crystal Langlois, RD, CSO, LD, Director of Nutrition at our hospital near Atlanta

When heading out to a gathering, Langlois has a few suggestions on how to make healthy choices.

Healthy eating tips:

  • Eat something small before you go, such as fruits with nut butters, yogurt with fruit, or vegetable sticks.
  • Use a salad plate, to encourage smaller portions.
  • Be picky and only take foods you feel like eating.
  • Fill up on high-fiber foods first, such as nuts, salads and whole grains.
  • Wait 20 minutes before getting seconds.
  • Mingle to reduce unconscious snacking.
  • Sip on water, which helps you feel full and digest your food.

Another key ingredient to eating healthy during the holidays is making sure your food is fully cooked and doesn’t spoil. “Many cancer treatments leave patients with impaired immune systems, so they are more prone to food-borne illnesses,” Langlois says. “That’s why it’s critical to practice food safety when dining out and reheating food.”