The holidays are quickly approaching and our schedules are filling with Christmas concerts, pageants and parties. It seems as though each time we get together, food is involved in some fashion. It can get overwhelming and difficult to make healthy choices in a snow squall of indulgences!

This past weekend, I hosted a Christmas dinner, attended a birthday celebration and a Grey Cup party! Wow wee! It sure was fun but there was an abundance of food! Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy nibbling on some of the typical holidays treats like hors oeuvres and Christmas squares, however I do like to have a plan in place so that I don’t overeat on those types of foods.

First, I eat before I go to a party! I know, it sounds silly if you are going to a dinner party but there is some good thought behind this strategy. Eating at a dinner party is typically later in the evening than it would be normally. I don’t want to go to the party feeling desperate for food and eat more than I would normally eat at a meal. As tasty as hors oeuvres are, they are little calorie and fat bombs.

Second, I always have a big glass of water before I leave the house. At parties, there is usually plenty of sugary drinks offered. Even just one of those drinks can easily contain 10 teaspoons of sugar! If alcohol is a part of your festivities, it is especially important to drink water before you arrive at the party and throughout the evening. Alcohol is dehydrating so be sure to replenish with water throughout the evening. If you are hosting a party, make sure that you make water available to your guests. Make it fancy by adding fresh berries or lime slices.

Third, I bring a healthy dish to the party. Sometimes it is a veggie tray with hummus, a fresh fruit platter or a tasty salad. I really like all the festive flavours in this quinoa salad recipe. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein, fibre and iron. It is quick and easy to cook too.

This article first appeared in the Elmira Independent, December 4 2014.

Festive Quinoa Salad

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Easy, Healthy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 290kcal
This is a quick and easy blend of festive flavours all in one dish!
Print Recipe


  • 2 cup quinoa cooked
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds sliced & toasted
  • 1/4 cup cranberries dried & unsweetened
  • 2 tbsp orange juice freshly squeezed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • Cook quinoa and allow to cool. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add in celery, almonds and cranberries. In a small glass jar, squeeze orange juice and olive oil. Put lid on jar & shake. Drizzle dressing over salad and add sea salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl & enjoy!


Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 394mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 49IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 3mg