It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and with the holiday season upon us, it can be hard to resist the temptation to splurge and indulge.
But keep in mind one-quarter of all cancers are preventable through maintaining a healthy diet and being physically active all year round, including the Christmas period.
Cancer Council Queensland shares five festive tips to help Queenslanders gift themselves a holly, jolly, and healthy Christmas.
1. Incorporate fruit and veggies into every dish
There can be too many options when it comes to Christmas dinner, and not all of them are usually healthy. Try and make fruits and vegetables the main element in your meals and mix up your serving style to keep it festive – think fruit platters using tree-shaped cutters and colourful salads.
Before heading out to an event, munch on a healthy snack to reduce the chance of over-indulging on high-kilojoule party food.
2. Portion your plate
When so much food is on offer, it can be easy to over-eat, so try to stop and enjoy what you’re consuming.
Focus on your portion sizes and fill most of your plate with delicious salads, a quarter of your plate with carbohydrate-based foods, and the final quarter should be a source of protein.
3. Stay hydrated and limit alcohol and sugary drinks
An easy way to reduce your kilojoule intake and reduce your cancer risk is to swap out sugary drinks and alcohol for water. A regular 600ml bottle of soft drink contains no nutritional benefits, rather around 16 teaspoons of sugar, and drinking one can of sugary drink a day can lead to 6.5kgs of weight gain in a year.
Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water; to give your drink a flavour boost, add a squeeze of lemon or infuse water with fresh fruit. Also, remember, while drinking alcohol may add to the enjoyment of your festive-events, alcohol consumption increases your cancer risk. If you choose to drink, limit your alcohol intake and always drink within the National health and Medical Research Council guidelines of no more than two standard drinks on any occasion.
4. Get active
With extra time on your hands over the Christmas break, why not get out and about with the family? By incorporating even 30 minutes of physical exercise into a fun activity each day, you can feel healthier and more energised.
Play a round of backyard cricket, take the dog on a family walk to the park, or go for a bike ride and explore your surroundings. When you shift the focus from indulging on food to indulging on having fun and spending quality time with loved ones, you move one step closer to a healthier Christmas.
5. Stay sun safe
An Aussie Christmas isn’t complete without the great outdoors, so don’t forget to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, and Slide to stay sun smart when outside. Keep an eye on the UV Index, and remember to be extra careful when the level is three or above, which is often from as early as 7.30am in Summer. After all, a happy and healthy Christmas shouldn’t include a nasty sunburn.
It only takes a few small changes to look after the health of yourself, friends and family, so feast to feel good and unwrap better well-being this Christmas!
More information about Cancer Council Queensland and healthy living is available at cancerqld.org.au.