Cancer-Fighting Holiday Foods

UT MD Anderson experts share their grocery list of healthy holiday foods

MD Anderson News Release 11/15/12

Adults can avoid holiday weight gain by stocking up on the cancer-fighting foods listed in the new Holiday Food Grocery List, created by experts at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“People tend to gain weight in colder months because they’re indoors more, less active and overeat high calorie, holiday foods,” said Mary Ellen Herndon, MPH, RD, LD, wellness dietitian at MD Anderson. “And, unhealthy weight gain, in the long-run, may make it harder for the body to fight off diseases like cancer.”

Herndon recommends people use this grocery list to find healthier food options when shopping for holiday meals.

“Plant foods are packed with cancer-fighting nutrients. So, make sure you fill two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains or beans,” Herndon said. “On the remaining one-third of your plate, choose a lean animal or plant protein.”  

Herndon also suggests men aim for meals with no more than 500 calories and women aim for no more than 400 calories.

 Diet and physical activity, including being overweight or obese, contribute to one-third of all cancer deaths in the United States each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Maintaining a plant-based diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans, and being physically active are the best ways to reduce cancer risks.

For more information on making healthy choices during the holidays and year-round, visit