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May/June 2013
Jacalyn See is a clinical dietitian at Mayo
Clinic. She shares tips on how to eat healthy
during the holidays.
Food is an essential part of any celebration, and
the holidays bring with them a smorgasbord
of options. We often think of holiday food as
rich and fattening and perhaps not very good
for us. But you can find ways to eat healthy
by adding more “cancer-blocking” foods into
festivities. The below foods are good sources
of antioxidants, phytonutrients, omega 3 fatty
acids, fiber and/or other nutrients known to help
prevent cancer:
• Sweet potatoes
• Pumpkin
• Winter squash
• Cranberries
• Dried fruit
• Dark chocolate
• Salmon
• Shrimp
• Nuts
• Wild rice
• Popcorn
• Clementines and other citrus fruits
You can incorporate these and other healthy
foods in a variety of ways, such as:
• Serve sweet potatoes or winter squash as a
side dish in place of white potatoes. Deep
orange vegetables are loaded with beta
• Make pumpkin or cranberry bread.
Pumpkin contains more beta carotene than
any other food, and cranberries contain
• Serve cranberry relish or sauce as a
condiment or side dish; use cranberry juice
in the holiday party punch.
• Give or treat yourself to a box of
clementines as a gift.
• Snack on popcorn. Did you know that
popcorn is a whole grain?
• Wild rice is also a whole grain. Use it for
soups, stuffing or as a side dish.
Put healthy foods in your
holiday eating plans
• Make a dip out of smoked salmon.
• Serve shrimp along with raw vegetables.
Don’t forget the cocktail sauce and salsa.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of
lycopene, vitamin C and potassium.
• Add dried fruits and nuts to salads.
• Consider making dips made from legumes,
such as hummus or black bean dip,
which are good sources of fiber and other
• Make a snack mix out of dried cranberries,
almonds and dark chocolate bits. All nuts
are high in antioxidants, protein, fiber,
healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.
• Use dark chocolate and walnuts in
baked goods. Dark chocolate has more
antioxidants (known as flavonols or
phenols) than milk chocolate.
And don’t think you have to avoid sweets.
Contrary to popular belief, sugar doesn’t feed
cancer. But it can contribute to unwanted
and unnecessary calories, so you may want to
practice moderation.