You know the feeling. You’ve spent the day enjoying your favorite holiday dishes, treats, and drinks. It was so much fun, but now your stomach is in knots or so bloated even your sweatpants don’t offer relief. It’s uncomfortable, to say the very least.
One of the best things about the holidays is the food! Indulging in the snacks and sips of the season is something you should absolutely do, but a little prep work before and after those rich meals will keep you and your gut happy for the holidays.
Ask for seconds of fiber-rich foods.
Load your plate with fiber to help your digestive system keep things moving. Fruits and veggies are a great source, as are whole grains. Tell your family you’ll handle the veggie tray this year, and maybe sneak some probiotic-packed kimchi or sauerkraut onto the tray for even more gut-friendly goodness.
Drink lots of water.
The holiday season means lots of wine and spirits, but try and drink a glass of water between cocktails not only to keep you from overdoing it, but also to stay hydrated throughout the festivities. Just remember to sip, not gulp your daily H20; drinking too much too fast can make you feel uncomfortably full and bloated. When you’re hydrated, you’re less likely to be constipated later.
Walk it out.
Get the family involved on a post-dinner walk — after the dishes are done, of course. Getting some light exercise after a decadent meal can help stimulate digestion and keep things moving through your system, and a few extra steps never hurt anybody! Plus, going for a walk instead of snoozing on the couch keeps your energy up.
Stop when you’re full.
Eating mindfully means you can enjoy all your favorite holiday foods without overdoing it. Focus on your food, chew thoroughly, and pay attention to how your body responds.When you’re full, resist the urge to take one more bite and instead step away from your meal. You can always come back for seconds later.
Sip on peppermint tea.
If you overdid it, soothe an upset stomach with a comforting cup of warm peppermint or licorice tea. Both have been shown to soothe and calm digestion. Ginger and peppermint can also be helpful if you get nauseous or queasy while traveling to Grandma’s house for dinner, so pack some of your favorite blends just in case.
Stretch it out.
Stretches like the cat-cow, child’s pose, knees-to-chest and side twists can be a great way to combat those groggy, heavy feelings after a rich meal. Find a quiet space after you eat and gently stretch for a few minutes; your body will thank you later. (It’s also a great way to escape any potentially stressful family discussions, in case you’re looking for an excuse to leave the table.)