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Tips for Eating Through the Holidays

By Dr. Brooke Meinema, DPT, FAFS

With the holiday season upon us, many of us find our daily habits and meals looking much different than they normally would. The rich foods, larger portions, and holiday cocktails do not always lead us to feel our best and can oftentimes lead to bloating and GI issues. Here are a few tips for getting through this holiday season with the least discomfort for your belly and body.

Know your triggers

Many people have specific foods or drinks that can agitate their system. Whether that is acidic foods leading to bladder irritation, heavy and rich foods leading to GI distress, or carbonated and alcoholic beverages, knowing what your body can tolerate and substituting those foods can be a game changer.

Stay hydrated

I’m not talking about having another cocktail or drink in that sense. It is important to keep drinking water during your holiday meals and parties. Water helps to keep your digestive system on track to prevent bloating or bowel/bladder issues.

Slow down

Eating too much too fast can make it harder for our bodies to digest the food we are introducing and also makes it easier to overeat. Similarly, we are more likely to swallow more air if we are eating too quickly, which can also lead to issues with bloating.

Move!

Between travel and holiday parties, we tend to do a lot of sitting. This is fine for a certain amount of time; however, keeping your body moving will help your body continue moving things along through your digestive tract and prevent issues such as constipation (or other joint pains that may come along from too much inactivity).

Remember good bathroom habits

Using the bathroom regularly can help! Keeping good bathroom habits (see earlier blog about bathroom habits), trying to keep a consistent bathroom schedule, and listening to the cues your body is telling you are important.

Be kind to yourself

It is easy to feel guilty about what or how much we have eaten around the holidays, but giving yourself and your body grace is essential. The holidays are a time to spend with friends, family, and loved ones, so treat yourself how you would treat them: with patience and understanding!

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