9 tips to help combat the inevitable Christmas overindulgence
22 December 2019, 09:00 | Updated: 22 December 2019, 09:01
The experts have revealed how to dodge the Christmas hangover and feel better in the New Year.
With the Christmas season in full swing, we're all guilty of overindulging.
Whether it was too many roast potatoes, the giant slab of Yuletide log, or that extra glass of Prosecco you definitely didn’t need. We’ve all woken up with a throbbing headache and unhappy tummy.
But if you’re trying to resist the festive bloat this year, there are a few things you can do to help prevent things getting out of hand and make yourself feel better in the New Year.
1. Prepare your gut
If you’ve got a big day of eating and drinking ahead, it’s important to start your day right with a good source of protein. Qualified nutritionist Kim Pearson says: “The amino acids in protein help to support the liver’s detoxification process.”
She says eggs and avocado on rye bread is a great combination of protein, healthy fat and slow-release carbs that will set you up perfectly.
2. Resist grazing between meals
Try keeping snacks to a minimum if you know you’re going to be eating several big festive meals. Kim suggests keeping the Quality Street and plates of mince pies in a cupboard out of the way for another day.
Rachel Clarkson, RD The DNA Dietitian, also recommends stocking up on lots of nutritious plant based foods based on some healthy meals you’ve planned for the coming week.
This way you will be less likely to grab something unhealthy because you don’t have food in the house.
3. Slow down
When it comes to Christmas dinner, it’s tempting to inhale the decadent roast in a matter of minutes.
But eating mindfully and chewing thoroughly is a great way to make sure you’re not over-eating. If you take your time and enjoy what’s on your plate, it’s also easier to tell when you're starting to feel full.
4. Choose your drinks wisely
Christmas drinks generally consist of bubbles, bubbles and more bubbles. But be wary that carbonated drinks such as champagne and prosecco can cause gas build-up and bloating.
Nutritionist Kim also says alternating alcoholic drinks with water will help to minimise the impending festive hangover.
5. Keep hydrated
With all that eating and drinking, hydration is often the last thing we’re thinking about. But whether you’re in a food or alcohol coma, water is a great way to flush out toxins and support the liver in processing all the Christmas excess.
Rachel states: “Any sort of rehydration after over indulgence is key. Juices are great because they contain vitamins and minerals but your best bet would be to go for a smoothie (a juice that doesn’t have the fibre removed) in order that you have a slow release of energy into your blood street.
“Make sure your smoothie contains berries– these are high in anti-oxidants including vit C and also have great amounts of fibre to regulate your blood sugar levels.”
6. Take a brisk walk
Getting active will help your body use the sugar you ingested. Rachel explains that exercise not only has health benefits including releasing endorphins that make you feel good, it will also help you to choose healthier food choices.
7. Get back to normal with a balanced meal
If you’re feeling bloated groggy after the festivities, try to eat lighter, balanced meals packed with fruit and vegetables and lean protein.
While you might be desperate for a sugary pick-me-up to deal with the post-Christmas slump, according to dietician Rachel, overly processed foods can increase inflammation in the body.
Following a hectic few weeks of work parties, family gatherings and Christmas meals, it’s important to recoup with a good night’s kip.
Rachel states: “Ensure to get 7-9 hours sleep ... good quantity and quality sleep regulates appetite hormones.”
9. Don’t feel guilty
Most importantly, it’s important not to feel guilty about over indulging this festive period!
Rachel states: “You must not add judgement to eating... you enjoyed yourself with a few mindful indulgences. No point feeling guilty as that can lead to restriction and then binging again in the near future. Not a great cycle.”