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OP-ED: Recipe for Healthy Holidays

December 22, 2017
Press Release

By: Mrs. Brenda Fleischmann

Recipe for Healthy Holidays

The holiday season is in full swing, which means parties, indulgent meals and busy schedules—not exactly the ingredients for healthy living. Eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and doing regular physical activity are important to your overall health and can reduce your risk of cancer. Unfortunately, these aren’t always priorities, especially this time of year. Let’s change that.  This year, mix in new traditions focused on wellness. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your own recipe for healthy holidays.

  • Give health and fitness gifts. You might expect a “Bah! Humbug!” from recipients of these gifts, but put thought into what each of your family members and friends would appreciate. Whether it’s a new yoga mat for your best friend, a basketball for your niece or nephew, a fitness tracker for your brother or sister, or a gym membership for your partner, your gift can provide extra motivation to loved ones for a healthy start to the new year. On a budget? Give “fitness date” coupons to be shared by you and a loved one.
  • Organize family (or workplace) outings that revolve around activities rather than food. Run or walk a 5K race, take a stroll around the neighborhood to see the festive lights or volunteer at a food bank together. If your office hosts a holiday gathering, suggest an activity, such as bowling or ice skating, rather than a party centered on food.
  • Bring a salad or vegetable to your holiday meal. Casseroles and desserts are never in short supply at potluck dinners, so make sure plenty of vegetables and salads make it to the table too.
  • Plan your workouts and meals ahead of time. The family calendar is hectic this time of year. Schedule your workouts in advance so they are part of your routine. Meal planning and prepping on the weekend can help you make smarter choices throughout the week.  

You might not be able to resist your office cookie exchange or give up the family movie marathon after dinner, but moderation is key. By making your health a priority this season, you’ll have many more holidays ahead of you to celebrate. To learn more ways you can reduce your cancer risk, visit

Brenda Fleischmann is a member of the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program, and the spouse of U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann