At Christmas it is normal that we commit some excesses, however, we cannot forget that a balanced diet should always be the basis of our daily diet. Precisely because it is a period in which the consumption of foods rich in sugars and fats increases , it is important that we remember the moderation when planning traditional Christmas meals.
Mediterranean diet, also at Christmas
In this sense, the Mediterranean diet is one of the most recommended , according to numerous studies, because it is associated with a better quality of life and a lower incidence of diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases or some types of cancer.
Furthermore, if the Mediterranean diet has anything, it is its versatility to prepare very balanced dishes full of flavor ; so there are no excuses to turn to it on these dates and surprise ours with a proposal of healthy food at Christmas .
For this, it is enough to maintain a varied diet, in which all types of food are present in the appropriate proportions. Olga Muñoz, nutritionist from the Spanish Association Against Cancer, gives us some practical advice for these dates.
1. Make a calendar of Christmas parties
We tend to think that we will only overeat two days at Christmas, but the reality is that most of us eat a very unbalanced diet with abundant portions for 2-3 months. Drawing up a calendar from December to January with Christmas lunches, company dinners, holidays … can be very useful to us. For example, of all the days that you have special meals, mark the 2-4 meals in which you can exceed a little more (depending on your goals: maintain a healthy weight, make a diet low in salt, etc.). The rest of the days try to continue with a healthy and Mediterranean diet.
2. Plan the menu in advance
If we cook ourselves, planning the menu in advance is a bonus. Make a shopping list and select the right ingredients so you don’t have leftover food at home for days or even weeks. In addition, if we take care of Christmas meals, we can offer healthier and lighter options.
3. Vegetables, vegetables and fruits: the protagonists
Make sure that in the most powerful meals there is always vegetables and / or vegetables and fruits. For example, healthy and original salads how are you: crudités vegetable or cream cups pumpkin, peas or carrots with ginger, homemade fruit sorbets … We help satiate and reduce the total number of calories consumed.
4. Use healthy cooking techniques
One way to make our meals healthier is to prepare dishes that have gentle cooking techniques, such as boiled or steamed, baked or papillote. In this way, there will not be as much fat in the dishes and we will facilitate digestion after meals .
5. Reduce alcohol consumption
Limit alcohol consumption. Remember that the best amount of alcohol to prevent cancer is not to consume it . To hydrate, it is always best to consume water and avoid refreshing sugary drinks.
6. Enjoy food without haste
Eat slowly, without haste. Be aware while you eat, enjoy the flavor, the texture, the aromas …
7. Maintain your routine and exercise
Don’t neglect your routines and keep exercising during Christmas. A good idea is to go for a walk with the family after a hearty meal.
What to eat at Christmas during the oncological process?
People with cancer and their families may also wonder how to adequately adapt the diet at this time.
As we know, it is likely that during cancer treatment you will not have much appetite. “In that case, the Christmas menu should consist of festive dishes, but with less fat content and that are easy to digest (for example, cups of carrot cream or hummus or baked salmon). Thus, we will improve the feeling of discomfort and heaviness after meals ”, explains the nutritionist Olga Muñoz.
In addition, it should be borne in mind that, if you have low defenses and you are going to eat outside the home , it is better to opt for cooked food, avoiding raw meat, fish and eggs, and opt for pasteurized dairy products as a precaution.
In the event that you suffer nausea or vomiting derived from the treatments , you should avoid odors that can be annoying and try that Christmas meals are not too fat or highly seasoned.
If we have dryness or mouth sores derived from chemotherapy, we should prioritize dishes with sauce and soft textures (vegetables, stews, casseroles, puddings …) and avoid very dry or sticky foods such as toast, hard nougats, dry cheeses or fibrous grilled meats.
In summary, a person with cancer can enjoy Christmas meals just like their relatives and, only in case they have side effects derived from the treatments, it is recommended that the diet be adapted to enjoy Christmas without discomfort. In the event that it is necessary to modify the menu, it is recommended that it be the same for the whole family so as not to create differences.