Healthy and Happy You: Nutritious Holiday Shakes


Drop the eggnog, candy cane martini and hot chocolate. The holidays shouldn’t mean ditching your otherwise healthy diet. While it’s natural for most of us to waver from our usual nutrition-filled routine in the cold winter months, the importance of staying healthy and hydrated doesn’t change.

It’s easy to replace our nutritional diets with unhealthy holiday treats amidst the alcohol, calorie laden holiday coffees and sugar-filled cocoas. The problem is that it ultimately sacrifices our health and overall well-being during a time spent with family and friends. Bryon Bell, owner of Goose Juice, a shake and health juice bar in the LA Fitness gym in Waterloo, Ontario, explains that one of the best ways to stay healthy and hydrated over the holiday season is with various shakes and nutritional, sugar-free juices that provide nutrients the body needs without taking time out of our busy holiday schedules.
“Shakes are used for all types of different people,” says Bell.  “Some people don’t have the time to make healthy, solid [meals], so the next best thing, or sometimes the even better thing, to do is to have a quick nutrition or protein shake, which will give you the energy and nutrition you need throughout the day.”

According to a 2010 study conducted by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Americans gain an average of one pound during the winter holiday season. For some people, one pound may seem trivial and a price they are willing to pay for that extra cup of eggnog or marshmallow in their hot chocolate. The issue with that reasoning is that one pound leads to another, and it can get out of hand quickly. The same study suggests that this extra weight can accumulate through the years and become a major contributor to obesity and other weight related issues, like diabetes, down the road. This one extra pound often sticks with us for the rest of the year.

Olivia McGuire, a nutrition and wellness specialist at Riverstone Golf and Country Club in Brampton, Ontario, explains that staying healthy and lean through the holiday season is often as easy as eating properly and choosing nutrient and protein-filled meal and beverage options. “I would suggest a shake that includes low-fat, low carbohydrate protein powder and water or skim milk,” says McGuire. Add fruit like bananas or berries along with flaxseed and in one shake you will have the perfect blend of protein, carbohydrates and fiber. Shakes like these are also ideal before and after a workout.

“If a person is looking to lose weight they should mix in a small shake with breakfast and then one right before a workout so they have more energy to burn fat and if a person is looking to gain muscle, shakes should be taken immediately after a workout so the protein then goes straight to the [targeted] muscle being worked on,” says Bell.  Shakes full of protein and fiber consumed immediately after a workout are most beneficial for muscle strength, growth, repair and body composition.

Try one of these delicious, holiday-inspired healthy shakes instead of reaching for that calorie-filled glass of eggnog.

Holiday Pumpkin Spice Shake

2 scoops vanilla whey powder
8 oz. water
1 tbsp. flax oil
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. Splenda brown sugar
8 oz. yogurt
4-6 ice cubes

This low carbohydrate, ‘diet’ shake is filled with nutritional ingredients like whey powder, which controls cholesterol and helps increase lean muscle mass. It also contains flaxseed oil, which helps with daily fiber requirements.

Holiday Peppermint Smoothie

1 ½ cup (375 mL) skim milk
1 ½ cup (375 mL) low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 ½ cup (375 mL) ice cubes
5 peppermint leaves, torn
1 tbsp. (15 mL) ground cinnamon
A few drops peppermint extract (optional)

Peppermint has the ability to reduce headaches, soothe the digestive tract and limit indigestion. The skim milk and low-fat yogurt provide essential doses of dairy that may otherwise be missed throughout the day.

Coconut Chai Date Swirl Shake

2 frozen bananas
1/2 cup vegan chai concentrate
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 cup ice cubes
1 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger powder
5 dates, chopped

This shake is completely vegan and is filled with nutrients and protein suitable for every diet. Chai helps prevent and fight many different types of cancer and is known to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. Dates are a great source of dietary fiber and a beneficial addition to daily nutrition.

For information about Goose Juice visit or e-mail Bryon Bell at

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