Christmas is the time to eat, drink and be merry!

But it shouldn’t mean all the hard work you’ve put into your health and fitness goals throughout the year goes out the window.

LiveLighter has compiled a list of helpful tips to make sure your festive season is happy and healthy, including:

  • Getting creative with your two and five. A fruit platter or vegetable sticks with dips make great snacks. For salads, try adding slices of orange, mango or beetroot for extra colour while snow peas and bean sprouts can add more crunch;
  • A lot of energy (kilojoules) comes from alcohol, so “low-carb” beers and wines aren’t always a healthier choice. Choose “light” beers and low-alcohol wines instead. Add ice cubes or soda water to further reduce the amount of alcohol you drink; and,
  • Prepare a gourmet food hamper as a healthy gift idea. Fill a basket with fresh, seasonal or exotic fruits, unsalted nuts, speciality teas and healthy sauces, preserves and chutneys. You could even include a healthy recipe book for extra inspiration.

Further tips can be found by clicking here.

Healthy barbecue options on the menu


Planning a barbecue Christmas lunch?

Then make sure you grab a copy of the new Healthy Barbecue Guide developed by Healthy Together Wodonga.

The free guide includes healthy menu ideas and basic catering tips, perfect for a happy and healthy festive season.

Copies of the guide are available from Wodonga Council or online at

Aspire put the best foot forward


Aspire Support Services has been announced as the winner of the Wodonga 10,000 Step Challenge.

Aspire won the Biggest Agency Average Stepper Award with the participating employees walking an average of 11,546 steps a day.

The Biggest Individual Stepper Award went to Karen Murison of Gateway Health for an average of 22,063 steps per day, while Aware Industries was awarded Most Improved Stepper Business.

The award for Most Innovative 10,000 Steps Business went to North East Catchment Management Authority, which actively involved its chief executive officer, senior managers and board in recruiting and supporting employees to be part of the challenge.

This included the CEO Neil McCarthy providing a subsidy to employees who wished to buy their own Fitbits, as well as prizes for the first three staff members to hit 10,000 steps on day one.

Overall, nine Wodonga businesses and 250 employees participated in the challenge in October and based on the total kilometres, walked around Australia three times.

The total steps combined was over 64.6 million, which is the equivalent of almost 49,000kms.

The average steps recorded by participants per day was 11,132.

Small business mental health seminar

MH seminar

Running your own business can be hugely rewarding, but it can also be very stressful and damaging to your mental health.

The focus is often on the success or failure of the business, cash flow or on the health and wellbeing of employees.

But Healthy Together Wodonga is encouraging small business owners to take some time out for themselves and attend a mental health seminar to help better identify and manage the signs of heightened stress levels.

The free seminar, sponsored by Gateway Health, will be held from 5.30pm to 6.30pm on Tuesday, December 8 at Gateway Health.

RSVP to Peter Muldoon on (02) 6055 3030 or

Community Garden Collective visit to Bungam


You are invited to join Hume Murray Community Garden Collective in a tour of Bungam Community Garden on Wednesday, December 16.

Located on the corner of Englehardt and Stanley streets, this community garden is run by a group of gardeners who live close by and are growing produce in these lovely little garden beds.

Launched in July 2015, the group is transforming a space into something full of colour, activity and community. Come and learn their tips and tricks!

The Hume Murray Community Garden Collective meets on a bi-monthly basis. It aims to strengthen community gardens in our region by supporting a network where people who are interested in community gardens can get together.

The tour of Bungam Community Garden will be held from 11am to 1pm on Wednesday, December 16.

For further information contact Narelle Vogel on (02) 6023 8753 or

If you would like to more about the Hume Murray Community Garden contact Brydie Foran at Gateway Health (02) 6022 8888.

This summer, stay healthy in the heat


With heatwaves becoming a regular feature of the Victorian summer, it’s important to plan ahead and consider how you can look after yourself and others when the extreme heat hits.

If you know extreme heat is on the way think about how you can keep your house cool, places you could go to escape the heat, friends, family or neighbours who might be especially vulnerable and how you could look out for them.

Heat-related illness can affect anybody, including the young and healthy, however the elderly or frail, pregnant women, babies and young children and people with a disability are more at risk.

When the heat hits:

  • Stay cool indoors: Keep air circulating around you, using an air-conditioner if possible. Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath. If it’s just too hot at your place consider visiting an air-conditioned shopping centre or public library.
  • Keep up your fluids: You need to drink more water during hot weather, regardless of how active you are. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. Avoid alcohol or drinks that contain lots of sugar.
  • Protect yourself outside: If you must be outdoors, remember to protect yourself from the sun – ‘slip, slop, slap’ by covering exposed skin with lightweight clothes, using sunscreen and wearing a hat, ‘seek’ shade and ‘slide’ on sunglasses.
  • Take it easy: Whether it’s work or play, too much physical activity on a hot day can lead to heat stress. If you can, restrict activity or travel to cooler parts of the day.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars: Even on cool days or if the windows are left open a fraction. Cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly.
  • Watch out for others: Check on older, sick or frail people who may need help coping with the heat (at least twice a day).

For more information visit

Study into workplace stress


Gateway Health and La Trobe University have teamed up to conduct a workplace stress and mental health research project.

The project involves recruiting 60 or more Gateway Health workers to complete mental health questionnaires and then undertake physiological testing to measure stress levels.

The findings will help improve understanding of the relationship between workplace stress, the physiological indicators of stress and self-reported health.

It will then be used to inform an evidence-based intervention to reduce workplace stress to be implemented early next year.

Introducing the seven-minute morning routine


What if you could improve your work performance in just seven minutes a day?

The Seven routine published by encourages you to take seven minutes to sit down and plan your day before you start work.

It includes finding a quiet spot to clear your mind, breathe deeply, write down your thoughts and then debrief.

This is intended to improve productivity, attitude, health and success.

The full routine can be found by clicking here.