Over the Christmas period it’s far too easy to eat more than planned leaving us feeling uncomfortable & bloated. With most people eating around 5,000 kcals on Christmas Day alone, here are my top tips for keeping your stomach flat and helping promote healthy digestion during the Festive period.
Stick to normal meal times
Rather than skipping meals or ‘saving up’ calories eat balanced meals throughout the day starting with a good breakfast. Have a protein based snack just before an event, so you’re not absolutely starving & end up losing all resolve, gorging when you get there
Feed the good bacteria in your gut by eating more foods containing prebiotics e.g. onions, leeks & asparagus. This will help to balance the gut flora & reduce the bloated feeling.
Drink more water
Adding half a lemon or ginger to warm water helps soothe a sore tummy. Lemon contains d-limonene which is a powerful antioxidant, aiding detoxification and digestion. If drinking alcohol, alternate alcoholic drinks with water to help the hangover. You can always down a glass of water at the bar or in the kitchen & no-one will ever know.
Get creative with healthier alternatives: If you are entertaining, instead of lots of crisps, why not serve microwave popcorn with vanilla or paprika too? Or make your own sweet potato crisps to serve with homemade salsa?
Have some treats
Fill your plate with lots of veggies & protein based foods but do allow yourself a little of what you fancy too. Protein helps to stabilise your blood sugar levels & keep you feeling fuller for longer. If still hungry after one plate, fill up with more veggies & remember it takes around 20 minutes for your brain to register your stomach is full.
Go for a 15 minute walk around half an hour after your Christmas lunch or have a dance at your Christmas party. This will help to get things moving and ease any bloating.
Be Consistent but realistic
Everyone indulges over Christmas & it is ok to have treats. Try to keep up with exercise and healthy eating in between events. Remember a few bad days won’t make you fat! Just get back on track as soon as possible. It’s like dropping your phone on the floor – it happens but then you pick it up & take care of it, let go of any guilt & do the same for your body.
I hope you have a fun, enjoyable Christmas and that my tips help you avoid the uncomfortable bloating we commonly experience at this time of year.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!
Claire Thornton MSc Nutritionist