Holidays, Make it Healthy!

Christmas is a Filipino favourite holiday. We start dusting off our Christmas decors and put up our colourful lights once the ‘Ber’ month hits. 2020 sure have changed the way we celebrated Christmas – from big company parties to virtual ones, huge family reunions to immediate family celebrations. With the pandemic still looming, celebrations are still kept within small circles. Adversities though do not stop Filipinos from finding a light at the end of the tunnel. December this year comes with a little hope for next year’s awaited return to our Covid-free normal. 

The past 2 years have made us see how important health is for everybody. That’s why this year and the next years of Christmas to come, let’s holiday-proof our plans, prepare our favourite meals with everybody’s health as first priority and enjoy the Christmas season in the best healthy versions of ourselves. 

Here are some reminders to keep in mind as we enjoy in health the Christmas season!

  1. Plan and Cook from (and for) the heart. 
    1. Be creative with recipes that use less butter, cream, lard, vegetable shortening, and other ingredients rich in saturated fats. Prepare white meat such as chicken and fish instead of red meat.
  • Make way for fruits and vegetables. Vegetables are great for snacks and even better for side-dish and main dish even. While chocolate and candies add a twist to your dessert, using dried fruits as ingredient for your dessert seems to be a better choice. Don’t forget to include them when you plan out your Noche Buena.
  1. Use whole-grain breads, rice and pasta – it wouldn’t hurt to be conscious of the amount of fiber you consume even during holidays. Remember that fiber helps in controlling your blood sugar level as well as your cholesterol levels. Moreover, fiber also helps you maintain a healthy tummy. 
    1. Social distance with booze.  
      1. Wine, beer, and mixed drinks range from 150 to 225 calories. Having them with your breakfast, lunch and dinner Christmas meals really mount up. Try to keep tabs on how much you are drinking, and intersperse alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones. If you drink alcohol, have a glass of water or juice-flavored seltzer in between drinks.
      2. Avoid alcohol on an empty stomach. Alcohol increases your appetite and diminishes your ability to control what you eat.
  • Don’t Give Yourself A Christmas Stuffing! 

Research suggests that we consume around 3,000 calories in our Noche Buena alone – more than the recommended daily intake for an adult! This huge feast not only contributes to weight gain but also to indigestion and heartburn – not to mention lethargy for the rest of the day. It takes a few minutes for your brain to get your stomach’s signal that it’s full already. After finishing your first plate, take a 10-minute break. Make conversation. Drink some water. Then recheck your appetite. You might realize you are full or want only a small portion of seconds.


  • Keep moving!

Don’t sit down all day. Plan out different activities. Encourage the family to get up and take out any new outdoor gifts, like bikes, scooters, footballs. Set up a Zumba or dance session with your mom and aunties. Don’t wait for the New Year to begin, start burning off the extra holiday calories even during the festivities. 

Don’t stress out as you plan and celebrate your Christmas meals. There are already widely available healthy recipes out there that can sure help you while you’re planning. You can find some of them from Gardenia! 

Gardenia offers various healthy bread options such as Gardenia High Fiber Whole Wheat Bread, Gardenia High Fiber Wheat Raisin Loaf, and Gardenia Wheat Cranberry Loaf as some. These breads are not only rich in whole-grain goodness but are also a good source of vitamins and minerals, perfect for healthy Noche Buena meal. 

You can try Gardenia Cranberry Chicken Toast, a recipe made with Gardenia Wheat Cranberry Loaf. Serve it as one of your appetizers for your friends and family this holiday season.

Gardenia Cranberry Chicken Toast


  • 2 slices of Gardenia Wheat Cranberry Loaf
  • 1 pc Chicken Breast Fillet
  • 1 tbsp Pesto Sauce
  • 5 leaves Basil
  • 4 slices Tomato
  • 4 slices Cucumber
  • 1 tbsp lite mayonnaise


  1. Toast Gardenia wheat cranberry loaf until golden brown. Set Aside.
  2. Marinate chicken in pesto sauce and grill until well done

To assemble:

  1. Spread lite mayonnaise onto the bread.
  2. Place basil leaves, sliced tomatoes, and sliced cucumber then add the grilled chicken pesto.
  3.  Insert a toothpick in the middle to secure the chicken and slice into 4. 
  4. Serve and enjoy!

There are different ways to enjoy Christmas without sacrificing one’s health. While we all practice social distancing, let’s keep our distance away too from the unhealthy junk we are used to find in our Noche Buena platters. Eating healthy and being active may take effort but this will increase your likelihood of celebrating more Christmases and holidays with your loved ones. So be healthy and have a happy holiday!