Updated: Mar 25, 2020
If you're anything like me, you indulge a little around the holidays. No matter how healthy you are during the rest of the year, it’s hard to resist comforting dinners, sugary treats, mid-afternoon naps and extra bubbly (or a little Irish coffee) OR BOTH!
Listen Momma, you shouldn’t necessarily have to resist those indulgences. I think the occasional indulgence is healthy and often a momma must. But this time of the year when you combine the season’s food inhibitions with less movement, you can end up feeling bloated and sluggish. And that is never fun. Ever.
So I wrote up some practical tips for avoiding that bloated, too-full feeling around the holidays. You can still keep the season merry and bright—while feeling light—with these tips to prevent holiday bloating! Yes Please, right?!
1. Drink 8 Glasses Of Water Per Day
Contrary to popular belief, drinking plenty of water won’t make you bloated. What can cause bloating is dehydration. Your body retains water when it’s dehydrated, similarly to how it holds onto fat when you’re starving. Ouch, right!? Also, to make matters worse being dehydrated can make you overeat because your body thinks it’s hungry when it’s really just thirsty. #beentheredonethat So my friend, be sure to drink at least 0.5 ounces of water for every pound of body weight per day. Therefore if your body weight is 200 pounds, you would need 100 ounces of fluid, plus an additional glass between every alcoholic beverage. The image below can help you calculate your required water intake.
2. Go On Post-Meal Walks
One of the reasons we feel sluggish around the holidays is because we’re not moving as much, so make a goal to take a family walk around the neighborhood after your meal. Or ditch the husband and kids and do a quick loop around the block on your own. Instead of crashing on the couch after dinner, force yourself to head outside for some fresh air and healthy movement. No matter the weather; hello beanies, winter coats and snow boots- a stroll after you eat can help your body digest and, yes, burn off a few of those calories. Although the main goal is to just feel better in your body after eating more than you typically do!
3. Snack On Fruit
Sure, desserts during the holidays (mmm…is that pumpkin pie I smell??) is a must. But if you’ve had your share of sweets, switch to snacking on fruit. Not only is fruit full of fiber, which makes it an easier form of sugar for your body to break down, but choices like bananas, strawberries, or cantaloupe in particular have a higher potassium content that helps counteract bloating. Winning right there.
4. Eat Slow and Steady
Eating too quickly causes you to swallow air bubbles with your food, trust me I know this first hand. Those nasty air bubbles turn into unpleasent gas. Plus, if you don’t chew your food well enough, your body can have a harder time digesting it. This combo can cause you stomach upset and bloating to the max! So momma, pretend you don't have a million things to do and eat your holiday meals mindfully, breathing in and out as you chew each delicious bite. Crap, enjoy that blissfully amazing meal you slaved over all day!
5. Chew On Fennel Seeds
Have you ever noticed those dishes full of fennel seeds at the host stand in India restaurants? Well, low and behold, chewing on a few fennel seeds after dinner naturally helps counteract bloating and reduces water retention. Apparently, used widespread throughIndia for centuries, this little hack will help prevent blosting and simultaneously freshen your breath! Win, win, right?
6. Fill Your Plate With 3-4 Things
One of the reasons our tummies get so overloaded during the holidays isn’t so much the quantity, but also the huge variety of things we’re eating. Eggnog for breakfast, followed by cinnamon rolls, a cheese plate, three different kinds of pie and endless bubbly; is a recipe for digestive hell. So, lets try to resist making each meal a smorgasbord and instead aim to simplify by filling up on 3-4 things. I know it sounds hard, espcially on Thanksgiving, but trust me, it will help! Also, not that you want to hear this, but if half your plate can be veggies, that's a huge bonus.
7. Don’t Skimp On Sleep
I don’t have to tell you that the holidays are a great time to catch up on zz’s, but a lot of things—overindulging in alcoholic drinks, family stress, sleeping in a different home or being on a different schedule—can compromise your sleep. If you’ll be staying at someone else’s home for the holidays, pack things that help you get that guaranteed 7-8 hours: melatonin, a sleep mask, some white noise, whatever it is you need to sleep well and wake up bloat free.
8. Prepare Your Digestion With Probiotics
If you don’t normally take probiotics every day, prep your body by taking them daily the weeks leading up to, and during, the holidays. We’re also big fans of naturally probiotic foods, such as Greek yogurt, Kefir, Kombucha, and kimchi! Probiotics help keep your gut healthy and your digestive system working as it should, keeping bloat at bay.
9. Steer Clear Of The Salt…
Don’t pass the salt! The best way to prevent bloating is to avoid salty foods, because sodium causes the body to retain water. There are a lot of hidden sources of sodium that you might not think about, from canned soups to salad dressings, and more. If you can, steer clear of pre-packaged treats, sodium-laden appetizers, excess mashed potatoes (which have a high sodium content) or brined meat.
10. Unless it’s an Epsom Salt Bath
Salt of all forms isn’t the enemy, however. Taking an Epsom salt bath helps pull excess water from your body. Add two cups of Epsom salts (which you can find at your local drugstore) to your running bath water. Soak in the bath for 20 minutes to reduce bloating, and experience other benefits of Epsom salt baths, like relieved muscle tension and improved mood!
11. De-bloat Like Celebrities
I'm usually not a fan of Hollywood detoxes—pills, potions, or other concoctions that people use to lose weight quickly. However, this all-natural trick some celebrities use to de-bloat has some major benefits: combine apple cider vinegar with some lemon juice. Among the many benefits of apple cider vinegar is that it helps reduce water retention because it contains acetitc acid. Adding lemon flushes your body of toxins and helps your digestive system eliminate waste more efficiently! Before your holiday festivities, add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water, and squeeze in fresh lemon. Voila! A way to stay feeling happy, healthy, and light, no matter just how merry you make your holidays.