22 December 2017
The festive season is a time to surround ourselves with loved ones and laughter, but amongst all the merriment and memory-making, we can have a tendency to let our health take a holiday too. This silly season, we’ve collected the top tips to ensure your Christmas Day receives the Cancer Council SA tick of approval, whether you’re a host or a guest.
1. Give a gift that makes a difference
Opening presents on Christmas morning is one of our favourite childhood memories. But as we get older, new toys tend to lose their sparkle much sooner. This Christmas, why not choose your gifts in line with the true meaning of the season: to make more people smile? You can choose to send Cancer Council SA cards or ecards to your loved ones, accompanied by a donation on their behalf toward Cancer Council SA’s vision of a cancer free future.
2. Go easy on the feasting
There is mounting evidence that tells us having a healthy diet and reducing the amount of alcohol (any type of alcohol i.e. beer, wine or spirits) can reduce the risk of many types of cancer. Having said that, there are plenty of ways to still enjoy the festivities without dampening the party!
Firstly, it’s okay to serve up ‘sometimes’ foods. Christmas may not be the same without Nanna’s famous home-made mince pies, or Aunty Sue’s crunchy crackling. What you can do is consider serving small portions so guests can enjoy a little of everything, and most importantly offer up plenty of healthy options to keep the balance in check. We socialise over drinks and grazing food too, so make sure these are also tasty and nutritious as well. Here are a few of our favourites:
- If preparing platters, limit the amount of cold/processed meat and soft cheeses. Instead, opt for harder cheese varieties and include alternatives like homemade vegetable dips with pita bread or veggie sticks. It might surprise you just how many veggies your guests will gobble down!
- Fruit and nut mixes are filling and healthier than many other snack foods. Find a raw nut mix as these have less oil than roasted nuts.
- Prepare jugs of fruit-infused water, and have them readily available for guests to fill up their glasses. Use clear jugs so your guests can be enticed by your creativity.
- Mix alcoholic beverages, such as wine, with low-sugar soda or fruit juice to make sangria. It will reduce the percentage of alcohol in each drink, and your wine stretches further too.
3. Suggest some after-lunch activities
It only takes an hour a day of moderate activity every day to reduce the risk of some types of cancer. An hour may seem like a lot, but if you’re doing something you’re enjoying it actually flies by. After a couple of courses at Christmas time, everyone can start to feel a little sleepy. Why not suggest some lawn games that will keep your guests entertained while also getting the heart rate up? Street cricket is always a good one, and tennis or footy are also crowd favourites. If you’ve got family over from interstate, why not go on a walk around the neighbourhood, or head down to the local park to show them around?
4. Protect yourself in the sun
Being SunSmart is not just for at the beach. Australian summers can have extremely high UV levels, and we have one of the highest rates of skin cancer worldwide. When the UV is 3 or above, it’s essential to engage in SunSmart behaviours, including slip, slop, slap, seek and slide. If you’re hosting an outdoor affair during the day, that means the barbecue and outdoor dining should be in the shade, and SPF 30 or higher sunscreen should be kept handy for easy reapplication by the family. The free SunSmart app has a two-hourly sunscreen reminder to keep everyone protected.
Whatever shape your Christmas Day might take, spend quality time with your family and friends and consider these simple ideas around food, drinks, activities and sun protection – it can go a long way over the festive season. For more information on Cancer Council SA’s prevention recommendations, visit cancer prevention pages.
Education & Information Manager
Cancer Council SA