I love giving food-related gifts during the holiday season. They are fun for everyone, from food connoisseurs to your friend whose idea of cooking is boiling water for pasta. I try to give gifts that are tasty, healthy and encourage the recipient to try something new. While everyone indulges a bit over the holidays, it’s great to help others prevent cancer through healthier food and fitness-related gifts.
One of my favorite ways to flavor and season vegetables is also turning into one of my favorite gifts to give. Working with individuals trying to lose weight, I often hear people talk about how much they dislike vegetables. Flavored balsamic vinegar and olive oil can change that.
Why olive oil? It’s rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and including it in your diet can help lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. However, since olive oil is also high in calories, highly flavorful oils – like lemon or walnut – can boost the taste of your food with small amounts. Continue reading
This holiday season teach your kids how to bake healthier desserts without compromising taste.
The CDC shows kids today consume an excessive amount of sugar, with teens ages 14-18 trumping all other age groups with an intake of about 34 teaspoons a day. The roughly 550 calories those teens consume each day provide no nutritional benefit for cognitive and physical development, and potentially may be harmful. Young children are not trailing too far behind, either. Kids ages 4 to 5 consume on average about 17 teaspoons a day.
Get your kids in the kitchen! They won’t refuse to help out when preparing desserts. Use the time cooking together as an opportunity to teach basic math to little ones or organizational skills to older kids. Cooking also teaches kids about self-sufficiency, a life long skill with the potential to increase their health as adults.
Here’s 7 tips for making healthier desserts. Continue reading
It’s that time of the year when we’re inundated with endless family feasts, work parties, eggnog, and chocolate covered everything. We celebrate a figure who consumes millions of calories of cookies in a single night, whose stomach shakes like a sandwich topping, and whose employees’ dietary staple is the candy cane. Food and drink are constantly on the brain.
We’ve been repeatedly told that we’ll be carrying around at least 5 extra pounds after the damage is done. As Yanovski and colleagues note in the New England Journal of Medicine, this message has been perpetuated by certain news outlets and medical associations alike. This year is no exception, with bad science reinforcing the idea to sell product. There are in fact no studies that show, on average, that this much weight gain occurs. It would be surprising if they did, given that the average annual weight gain is fewer than 2 pounds. Even so, that doesn’t preclude a risk of holidays on weight, and given the strong links between weight gain and cancer it is worth an exploration of the research.
By my count, there are 9 studies on weight gain over Thanksgiving or the whole holiday period (Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day), however most have low numbers of participants, are in specific populations (like college students), or are too short to draw definitive conclusions. Continue reading