The holidays are a time for visiting with friends and family, breaking bread with those you care about most, and upholding traditions, whatever they may be. However, they can also be a time of excess, including overeating and overdrinking. While there is no reason not to enjoy food this holiday season, going into holiday celebrations with a healthy eating plan can help you avoid binge eating or even painful digestive issues. It is possible to enjoy holiday meals, without suffering through them or undoing the healthy habits you have built up over the year. Discover simple healthy eating tips to help you stay on track this holiday season.
Make a Game Plan
What some may call the most wonderful time of the year can be anxiety-riddled for those hoping to avoid digestive issues or overeating. If you are looking to stick to a balanced diet, have food allergies, or want to avoid stomach aches or even IBS flare-ups, then your best bet is to make a game plan¹. For some, that may mean bringing the appropriate medications for lactose intolerance, and for others, that may mean knowing when to tell your favorite aunt that, yes, you’d love a second helping (but just in a doggy bag to-go). Decide what your limit is, and stick to it!
Studies show that applying mindfulness² to our eating habits can help improve digestion and reduce stress. It’s not just about what or how much we eat, it’s also about the way in which we eat. That means paying more attention to how we chew. It can take the brain 20 minutes to realize we are full, meaning that if you are chewing slowly, you are less likely to overeat. So, if you are going to indulge in a slice of delicious pie, take your time and enjoy it. You may find that you feel much more satisfied!
Prepare Healthier Versions of the Classics
In the event that you are hosting this year’s festivities, you’re in luck! Why? Because you control what goes on the dinner table! The holidays don’t have to be unhealthy, although many may think that sounds like an oxymoron. There are ways to make low-carb, low-salt, low-fat, plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free, or grain-free versions of nearly all your favorite holiday dishes. In case you need some help getting started, take a look at these 10 delicious and healthy recipes in the Healthy Holidays eBook!
Take a Hike!
Staying active³ is a great way to encourage healthy digestion, in turn helping to prevent stomach issues as well as any unwanted weight gain during the holiday season. If you aren’t a self-starter, enlist friends or family to help by going on group walks, hikes, or even bike rides. Of course, if you’re a frequent visitor to the gym, you may want to switch up your routine and opt for shorter, more intense workouts like HIIT. The most important thing is breaking a sweat, getting your heart pumping, and boosting your metabolism!
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
You’ve likely heard that age-old fable about the tortoise versus the hare. Well, looking after your health has a lot in common with that famous children’s story. After all, it is the consistent efforts made on a daily basis that can help us stay healthy and manage any digestive issues we may have. Remember that if you don’t acknowledge and manage the eating habits that made you uncomfortable in the first place, then the situation cannot improve. Building a healthy relationship with food is not about being perfect, but persistent. Focus on small wins, build positive habits, and do your best to eat intuitively. Happy Holidays, everyone!
- “Irritable Bowel Syndrome and a Healthy Holiday Season.” About IBS, International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, Inc. (IFFGD), 25 May 2022, https://aboutibs.org/living-with-ibs/ibs-and-holidays/.
- “Slow down-and Try Mindful Eating.” Harvard Health, Harvard Health Publishing, 18 Sept. 2022, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/slow-downand-try-mindful-eating.
- “5 Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Dec. 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/holidays-healthy-eating.html.
Ashuni Pérez is a writer in the culinary, as well as health and wellness industries. With a background in teaching and digital media, she loves to learn and help others discover more about their food, where it comes from, and how best to prepare it. A foodie through and through, she is always searching for new recipes and the freshest ingredients.
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