Enjoy It: 8 Ways to Eat Smart Around the Holidays

Holidays are the season of joy and thankfulness. Many family gatherings and company events can be exciting and fun, but they can also create stress. One of the ways we try to combat stress is to eat!  It doesn’t help that there is an abundance of food also available during this stressful time. This can lead to overeating. In order to help you avoid possible digestive distress this holiday season, here are few tips on how to eat smart.

Tip 1: Don’t forget the produce

Even though it’s a busy time and there are plenty of delicious things to choose from, your body still needs its nutrients. You still need adequate servings of fruits and vegetables every day for your body to use as fuel. Although it may not be convenient, it is important.  A great way to do this during the busy holiday season is to start your mornings off with a shake. Shakes are an easy way to consume a ton of nutrition. It starts your body off on the right foot. There are tons of possible combinations for shakes. Find a blend you love and be consistent. Here is a recipe that we recommend.

Tip 2: Ditch the junk when you can 

 If you have a slew of holiday gatherings on your calendar, do what you can to eliminate the junk before and after. Avoid fast foods or pre-made foods and opt for fresh choices to offset the influx of fatty, sugary foods.

Tip 3: Plan for highly inflammatory foods

You’re going to have access to Aunt Cindy’s “special punch” or your co-worker’s homemade fudge so plan accordingly. Foods high in unhealthy fat, sugar, and alcohol are naturally inflammatory. Scientists have proven through countless studies that excess inflammation aggravates digestive distress more than anything else. Pack your body with real nutrition (before the junk) and hydrate with water between servings of alcohol. The morning after a night of overindulgence, give your body time to recover with light, natural foods.

Tip 4: Boost your fiber intake

Many recipes that are popular during the holidays feature an unusual amount of dairy, meats, unhealthy fats, and sugar that make it harder for your gut to do its job. These foods take a lot longer to process. The result is a system that’s bogged down in heavy foods that aren’t going anywhere (if you get what we mean). Staying regular during the holidays is something most don’t think about until the digestive distress is impossible to ignore. A morning shake with a bit of broccoli, spinach, flax seed, and coconut oil is one way to ensure you’re getting the fiber your body needs to function. Another way is to boost your intake of probiotic foods such as live-culture yogurt, pickled foods, and leafy greens.

Tip 5: Don’t forget to hydrate

We highly recommend a glass of room temperature lemon water in the morning and at least 60 ounces of water daily (infused if you dislike the taste of plain water). A friend of mine replaces some of her “water requirement” with two cups of green tea (hot or iced, sweetened with honey or maple sugar) daily. Green tea and coffee in moderation have incredible health benefits for the human body. You don’t have to be miserable trying to choke down plain water. The key is to hydrate without high-sugar coffees, energy drinks, or carbonated beverages in the mix. Water is critical but infusing it with berries or citrus makes it far more powerful.

Tip 6: Slow down during meals

Every meal should be a marathon (not a sprint) to help avoid digestive distress such as cramping and gas. Take your time and chew your food thoroughly to make it easier for your stomach fluids to process what you eat. Avoid drinking excessive alcohol during meals because it dilutes the natural acids that break down food. Not only is slowing down good for digestion, it also gives your body time to send signals of “fullness” to your brain. That means less risk of leaving the table with a “food baby” that makes you miserable.

Tip 7: Give your gut the necessary tools to fight digestive distress

Give your body foods like raw veggies, fish and healthy oils (like olive and coconut oil), and live culture yogurt. Having a good mix of various food types is always a good idea to provide the necessary fuel to keep your bodily functions going strong.

Tip 8: Enjoy it

 Regardless of how determined and conscious you are of trying not to over eat, it is a difficult task. That’s why we suggest enjoying what you choose to indulge in. Eating less of whatever it is, but savor it! As the oriental proverb goes “Eat less and smile more.”