Oh how we don’t want to pack on the pounds or mistreat our bodies during the holidays, but there are so many goodies put in front of us. Mark Saunders, writer and 11 year cancer survivor and co-author of Prostate Cancer offers good advice on how to have a healthy holiday. 

Restaurants during the Holidays

  1. Say, “No thank you” to the bread or chips and salsa that automatically arrive on your table. These high-glycemic carbs are metabolized like sugar. You are essentially “packing on the pounds” before your meal even arrives.
  2. Start your meals with a small salad. Salads usually arrive first and take the edge off your hunger, and your meal has a healthy start. Go with a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing.
  3. Instead of ordering an entree, consider ordering a couple of side dishes or something from the a la Carte menu. That way, you can get your vegetables and still feel satisfied.
  4. Avoid “all you can eat” buffet-style restaurants. They promote overeating.
  5. Skip dessert. You will feel lighter, look leaner, and have fewer health issues if you do. If having something for dessert feels better than staring at everyone as they indulge themselves, ask if fresh fruit is an option.

Holiday Parties

  1. Eat a healthy mini-meal at home before you go. Include some veggies, protein, and healthy fats. Try a simple spring-mix salad with some chicken or canned tuna, with a couple of slices of avocado, a little tomato, and a vinaigrette dressing. It takes under 10 minutes to prepare.
  2. Bring a couple of glass bottles of sparkling water. Alcoholic beverages are the kings of “empty calories.” Alcohol is metabolized into fat in your liver. If you drink alcohol, alternate between alcoholic beverages and sparkling water.
  3. Arrive a little late. You’ll spend less time “grazing” the finger food and knocking back the eggnog.
  4. Bring your own healthy side dish or appetizer. That way, you have a go-to item — instead of filling up on nachos, chicken wings, seven-layer dip, cookies, candy, or fudge.
  5. When it’s time for pie, ask for a small slice, and savor it slowly.

The Holidays at Work

  1. Bring your own lunch. This practice will save you $10-15/day, and gives you more control over what you eat. While this is a good year-round practice, it is especially helpful during the holidays when people bring in all the sweets they don’t want tempting them at home.
  2. Eat fewer crackers, cookies, and bread. You’ll lose weight and lower your insulin resistance. If you bring your own lunch, make yourself an open-faced sandwich. If you eat out, ask if they offer a lettuce wrap.
  3. Avoid sodas, colas, and energy drinks. If you feel run down, have an unsweetened cup of coffee or tea. If your job allows, take a 10-minute walk. It’s amazing what a short walk can do to clear your mind and restore your energy — especially when it’s cold outside.
  4. Bring your own bottled water (unless your work provides it). Think Flint, Michigan. Avoid the estrogenic compounds by drinking water from glass bottles (instead of plastic ones) whenever possible.
  5. Avoid crashing and burning by keeping a ready supply of healthy snacks in your desk, locker,
    car, or work refrigerator. Nuts, seeds, low-glycemic fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and bottled water will
    keep you from being a frequent visitor at the break room holiday snack table.


Mark B. Saunders is a writer, editor, publisher, public speaker, and 11-year cancer survivor. As an active surveillance prostate cancer patient, Mark did not receive traditional treatment like surgery or some form of radiation. Instead, he dramatically overhauled his lifestyle and his cancer went away and hasn’t come back since.

As a prostate cancer survivor, Mark has dedicated his life to sharing what he has learned about health and wellness. A journey that he calls, Inside out, round-about, and back again.

Mark is the co-author of Prostate Cancer: A New Approach to Treatment and Healing and Do You Have Prostate Cancer: A Compact Guide to Diagnosis and Health



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