The holiday season is a great time to feast with your loved ones. However, since most people will take a break from diets and binge to eat, be mindful and eat healthy to avoid bad effects on your health, especially your digestion. Here are some tips for maintaining good digestive health during the holidays:
Choose Your Drinks Properly
It’s recommended to drink water before eating to help increase satiety and aid your digestion. You can also drink a refreshing detoxification juice that serves as a laxative to ease your digestive functioning. If ever you experience gas and bloating, have some peppermint or ginger tea to relieve your stomach.
Also, many of us will surely enjoy alcoholic beverages at holiday parties, but keep in mind that alcohol may dehydrate your body. Avoid a holiday hangover by drinking at least a glass of water for each alcoholic beverage you consume.
Eat Small Portions and Take It Slow
Be mindful of how much you consume at a time to avoid bloating. Eat smaller portions, take time to chew your food, and when you start to feel full, stop eating. You can always have some more later and remember that overeating can cause unwanted weight gain. Here are some tips on how to maintain mindful eating:
- Don’t Linger in Front of the Banquet: Trying to eat healthily at a party while surrounded by various decadent food can be hard. Just fill your plate half with fruits or vegetables, a quarter with meat, and another quarter with any whole-grain food so you can still have a balanced meal. Another tip is to use a smaller plate to properly portion your food.
- Focus on Your Friends and Family: Aside from eating, you should also focus on socializing with the rest of the group. Remember that if you keep on chatting, your mouth won’t be too busy chewing food.
- Savor Your Food and Eat Slowly: Avoid the feeling of being uncomfortably full by slowly eating smaller bites. Overeating can cause indigestion and nausea, so eat slowly and regulate your portion size.
Go for a Post-Meal Walk
If you have acid reflux, the worst thing you can do after a huge holiday meal is to take a nap. Go for a walk instead to make your abdominal muscles contract and help move the acid into your intestines. It can lower the chances of having reflux and boost your digestion. Here are other benefits of a post-meal walk:
- Improves Metabolism: It stimulates your metabolism and also burns calories. You also avoid feeling lethargic because it boosts your blood circulation and reduces sugar cravings.
- Lowers Blood Pressure: Taking at least a 30-minute walk after eating can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. It’s recommended to incorporate this in your daily routine and not just during holidays for better heart health.
- Aids Weight Loss: If you’re currently on a weight loss journey, don’t worry, the holidays are not going to ruin your diet as long as you eat well. Going for a stroll after eating not only lets you burn more calories but also improves your strength and overall health.
Be Aware of Salty Foods
Regulate your salt intake during the holidays to avoid bloating and water retention. Excessive salt intake can also cause raised blood pressure and increase your chances of having stomach cancer. Here are some common holiday foods that are high in sodium:
- Deli Meats: Deli meats are hidden sources of high sodium content. Choose fresh fish or meats instead of bologna and deli cold cuts as they can also contain some preservatives.
- Spaghetti Sauce: Spaghetti, a well-loved party staple, is loaded with sodium not just from the sauce but also from the meatballs or sausage. For a healthier version, you can make your own sauce from scratch using ripe plum tomatoes or just toss spaghetti noodles with olive oil and fresh veggies for a healthier, no-sauce version.
- Dairy: While dairy is a good source of vitamin D and calcium, some products such as buttermilk, cottage cheese, and processed cheese can have high sodium content. You can choose fresh mozzarella or Swiss cheese for a low-sodium option.
- Seafood: When prepared properly, seafood can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health. However, canned tuna and shellfish are high in salt, so choose your seafood properly. Some better choices include salmon, fresh tuna, and halibut.
Many people look forward to the holidays as it’s a time of giving and a vacation from daily routines. Additionally, it’s a great time to surround yourself with your friends and family while enjoying good food. It’s important to be mindful of your food intake during these times to avoid negative effects on your digestion and overall health.