It's a well-known fact that the holiday season is a time of plenty. How do you maintain a balance when there are so many choices?
Gather around the table
With the holidays just around the corner, the child in you tingles with anticipation at the prospect of all the wonderful things to come. There are a thousand and one reasons to rejoice, marvel and spoil yourself. As you ring in the New Year and its resolutions, you're planning to have a great time with the people you love.
You can already taste the mouth-watering buffets, enticing desserts, Aunt Gertrude’s legendary meat pie, and your brother-in-law’s celebratory glass of bubbly. There are many opportunities to deviate from your healthy eating habits during the holidays, but this can have consequences!
Some examples of these effects include:
- digestive problems (e.g., stomach upset, acid reflux, nausea, diarrhea, etc.)
- chronic illness imbalance (e.g., diabetes or hypertension)
- sleep problems
- weight gain
Making good choices for yourself
Yes, it is possible to fully enjoy the holidays without having to pay the price later on.
Here are some tips on how to enjoy the holidays while maintaining healthy eating habits.
- Drink water. Many beverages such as alcohol have a dehydrating effect. So, drink responsibly and in moderation. Drinking water in between other beverages will keep you well hydrated!
- Go for variety. During the holiday season, we often have to make food choices, especially when there is a buffet. It's easy to succumb to large portions of our favourite foods. Trying many different, and possibly new, foods can bring you both enjoyment and satisfaction.
- Make wise food choices. Some foods have less nutritional value than others. Choose a mixed diet with vitamins, fibre and protein. Make room on your plate for healthy foods like salad, raw vegetables, or smoked salmon!
- Avoid foods that irritate the digestive tract. Some foods and beverages are known to be irritating, especially to the stomach. Examples include tomato juice, citrus fruits (and their juices), soft drinks, mint, chocolate, and very spicy foods.
- Take time to chew each bite. When you have your favourite foods on your plate, it's tempting to eat faster. Chewing is very important to ensure proper digestion and avoid stomach pain.
- Don’t skip meals. Some people skip meals during the holiday season so they can eat more at gatherings with friends and family. This is a miscalculation and increases the risk of digestive upset. So, eat your fill at every meal.
- Don't lie down after eating. Lying down slows the digestion process. This can contribute to a variety of conditions such as acid reflux or stomach upset. Ideally, eat your last meal of the day two to three hours before you go to bed for the night
- Stay active. Ski, skate, go for a walk in the fresh air, or dance. Eating is important, but so is physical activity to stay fit during the end of the year festivities!
Let's not forget that the holidays are a time for happiness. So let's put aside our guilt and take full advantage of this time with our loved ones, even if it means momentarily deviating from our habits.
Speak to your pharmacist for more health advice during the holiday season.