Christmas sweets, festive boozy drinks, late nights, and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can throw a wrench in the state of your gut’s health. Whether you’re celebrating with loved ones or home alone, overindulging in these fun foods and drinks can lead to intense bloat, heaviness, and fatigue that leaves you feeling less than your best during a time where you want to feel good and have fun.
The good news is there are things you can do to avoid feeling like you’ve completely backtracked on your gut health journey - take these steps to support your gut and enjoy the holiday season bloat-free:
Balance your meals and snacks with protein, healthy fats, fiber, and color!
It’s important to eat as you usually would and nourish your body throughout the day rather than save your calories for the holiday party. Saving your calories for later may seem like the right thing to do, but this can do more harm than good. Skipping meals can lead to overeating later on and blood sugar roller coasters, which are bad news for your digestion and mood. Make sure to eat meals balanced with protein, healthy fats, fiber, and color leading up to your holiday events. A good rule of thumb is to get 20-30 grams of protein per meal, a tablespoon of healthy fats like olive oil, 5-10 grams of fiber, and half of your plate as fruits and vegetables.
Hydrate with lots of water and minerals
Have you ever noticed that you find yourself running to the bathroom 20 times a day when you try to increase your water intake? This could be because the water isn’t getting into your cells!
Include minerals in your hydration routine to hydrate your cells efficiently, facilitating digestion and detoxifying the body.
The holiday cocktails and other alcoholic drinks are packed with sugar and can be very dehydrating, so make an effort to include water and electrolytes between drinks. This rotation is one that you’ll thank yourself for later. It can help your digestion, regulate hunger cues, and improve detox processes, meaning lowering your chance of a hangover in the morning. Minerals like potassium also help manage blood sugar, so load up on the coconut water and fresh fruit!
Consider limiting these types of liquor and mixers if you bloat easily
If you’re prone to bloating, there are certain liquors and mixers you may want to limit at your holiday gatherings. Many are high in FODMAPs, a group of carbohydrates, or sugars, that are highly fermentable in your gut, leading to increased gas and bloating for some who are sensitive to them.
Steer clear of these liquors & mixers:
- Port wine
- Soda and juice containing high fructose corn syrup
- Sugar-free products that contain sugar alcohols like xylitol and erythritol
Stick to these options:
- Red or white wine
- Champagne or sparkling wine*
- Club soda*
- Orange juice
*Carbonated drinks may cause more bloating - listen to your body to know what is best for you.
Take a probiotic supplement and include more fermented foods in your diet
Consuming sugar, alcohol, and foods that you may be sensitive to can cause inflammation, leading to an imbalance in the good bacteria and bad bacteria in your gut (aka dysbiosis). Take a probiotic supplement and include fermented foods with naturally-occurring probiotics in your diet to ensure you're keeping your gut populated with the good guys. Fermented foods high in probiotics include sauerkraut, greek yogurt, cottage cheese containing live active cultures, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, and kimchi.
These steps to support your gut aren’t only for the holiday season; incorporate them into your daily routine to keep the bloat away year-round.
About the Author
Amanda Brown, RDN, is a Nutritionist, Gut Health Dietitian, and Coach. She specializes in identifying the cause of bloating and gut issues through nutrition and lifestyle strategies. Learn more at https://www.amandabrownnutrition.com or follow Amanda on Instagram.