Video: Maintain, don't gain weight during holiday season
Experts from Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center show ways to cut calories and pack in flavor to holiday dishes
We want to show people that healthy food can be part of the holiday meals and can also be delicious same time.

Contact: Jeffrey Stensland
(602) 747-7901

GILBERT, Ariz. (Dec. 18, 2019) – The temptation of holiday treats seems to be everywhere we go: at home, at work, at the homes of relatives and friends. According to the National Institutes of Health, the typical American will gain five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. However, some simple swaps with your holiday meals—and the treats you enjoy in between—can mitigate that weight gain.

Now is not the time to focus on losing weight, said Vivianne Swart, a registered dietician with Banner Health. Instead, she suggests you "maintain, don’t gain."

"We want to show people that healthy food can be part of the holiday meals and can also be delicious same time," she said. "We talk about foods that are high in antioxidants; we talk about foods with cancer fighting properties like green tea, blueberries or pomegranate seeds that are really popular around holidays."

Heather Metell, executive chef at Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert, Ariz., said harvesting seeds from pomegranates is amazingly easy, can cost a fraction of pre-packaged seeds at the store, and retain their many nutritional benefits when served in their natural state. They also happen to be in-season this time of year.

“When it’s in season, you know it’s probably local, it’s going to have all of its nutrient value, it's going to be inexpensive, and you are going to be able to eat with a lot of color," Metell said. "That color is going to be nice and vibrant because it is in-season and it is ripe."

Metell and Swart follow guidance from the American Institute for Cancer Research, which recommends at least two-thirds of your plate be plant-based.

"You can make vegetables a star of the meal," Swart said. "You don’t just have to hide them."

Cooking Class B-Roll: view here, download here

Pre-Produced Story: view here, download here

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, located on the Banner Gateway campus, delivers cancer care to patients in Arizona through the partnership of Banner Health and MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner MD Anderson offers focused disease-specific expertise in the medical, radiation and surgical management of the cancer patient; an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to patient care; access to clinical trials and new investigative therapies; state-of-the-art technology for the diagnosis, staging and treatment of all types of cancer; oncology expertise in supportive care services. For more information, visit


A full transcript of the pre-produced story
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Step-by-step instructions for all of the dishes created during the "Maintain, Don't Gain" demonstration.
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