The holiday season is a time where constant temptation is laid before us. From gifts of shortbread and almond rocha to trays of sausage rolls at the office and bottomless cocktails at the three parties a week you must attend. It is no wonder that holiday weight gain and fatigue seem as inevitable as the kitsch Christmas tie from Aunt Edna.

How do we find the balance between enjoying yourselves and the odd festive treat without  abandoning all self-control leading to regret and tight jeans on New Year’s Eve? For some simple guidance, follow the Swap Out Chart:

Swap Out Chart:

Instead of…. Have….
Going to a cocktail party on an empty stomach A healthy meal in advance and allow yourself 1-2 hors d’oeuvres at the party.
Mini quiches, pastries, cheese, sausages rolls Shrimp, crab legs, lettuce wraps, raw veggies, small handful of nuts
1 glass of eggnog 1 glass of champagne (half the calories of eggnog)
1 glass mulled wine (added sugar and brandy) 1 glass red wine (anti-oxidants with beneficial effects on cardiovascular health)
Shortbread, milk chocolate, gingerbread cookies, truffles 30 gram piece of 70% dark chocolate (more powerful anti-oxidant than green tea)

These tips are not solely to prevent the holiday pounds from piling on, but more importantly, to keep you healthy and well throughout the holidays. So in addition to the Swap Out Chart above, follow the Five Wellness Tips to keep your immune system strong and help manage holiday stress so you can enjoy this special time of year.

5 Wellness Tips For the Holidays:

Get your 5 a day Try to maintain a healthy diet by ensuring you consume five servings of vegetables and fruit per day. These foods are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, fibre and phytonutrients that promote optimal wellness. See smoothie recipe below.
Are you taking a Vitamin D supplement? Unless you are basking in the sun in Hawaii, you are likely not meeting your vitamin D needs through food or sunshine exposure. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends 1000iu/day for adults during autumn & winter. Vitamin D plays an essential role in bolstering our immune response.
Getting enough Vitamin Zzzzz (yes sleep) Lack of sleep can negatively affect immune system, lead to weight gain, increased stress levels, anxiety, depression. Try to get 7.5-8 hours a night.
Keep active As the days grow shorter and the cool temperatures set in, the last thing you may feel like doing is going for a run, walk or workout of any kind. However, research shows that exercise curtails stress levels, improves mood, boosts energy, reduces risk of chronic diseases as well as helps prevent weight gain.
Take some time for you Although it often feels like we have “no time”, try to carve out at least half an hour a day for you to decompress. Be it attending a yoga class, walking on beach, or simply soaking in a hot bath, take time to relax, reset and restore.



½ cup soy, almond or skim milk
1 orange, peeled and seeded
½ cup pineapple chunks (fresh or frozen)
½ medium carrot
½ cup raw broccoli
½ cup fresh spinach
1 cup frozen strawberries
Thumb nail size of ginger, sliced
1 cup ice cubes

Place ingredients in high powered blender (eg. Vita-mix). Blend on high until smooth. Add water to loosen if too thick. If blender cannot handle raw vegetables, omit the carrot and broccoli. Makes enough for 2. (Never mind the colour, it tastes great!)


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  1. thanks for the smoothie recipe! If you don’t want to spend the $$$ on a vitamix can you recommend another good high speed blender that is not as expensive? I find our regular blender just cant do it.

  2. Good question. Doing a quick look online, it seems that the Blendtec is another professional series blender very similar to the Vitamix. The catch, however, is that it is not that much cheaper. Currently, $449 at Costco. The Ninja NJ600 Pro Blender gets mostly great reviews on and comes it at $99. I haven’t personally tried these blenders, but it appears that the Ninja may be your best bet. Links:
    Ninja Reviews:

    Blendtec at Costco:

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