Healthy Holiday Hacks


Say that post title 3 times fast, ha! The holidays are a joyous time of the year for people (like me!) who love to cook and eat. Take Thanksgiving, for example. It’s the only time all year that many of us eat our favorite traditional holiday foods – turkey and dressing, candied sweet potatoes, and pies galore, which means a lot of us also over-do it, eating way beyond fullness. And that’s okay! It’s normal to overeat occasionally, especially on holidays centered around food. 

The effects of the holiday food baby can cause distress for some people, though. Many high-tail it to the nearest gym or swear off solid food to ‘detox’ with a juice cleanse. Rest assured, these measures aren’t necessary, and can even do more harm than good. Your body is perfectly capable of processing extra food. But if you’re feeling a little sluggish after a big holiday meal, there are a few simple steps you can take to feel better without the all-liquid diet or hours on the stair-stepper. 

Eat Normal Meals 

The best way to keep your metabolism going and get all of that extra food digested is to keep eating normally! Start the day after a big meal off with breakfast like you normally would. You can make it a little lighter if you’re not feeling hungry, but do try to get in a little protein and fiber. Eggs, milk or Greek yogurt are all good sources of protein. Whole grains like oats are high in fiber to get your digestive system moving. Apples and pears are two of the highest fiber fruits, so add them to your morning oatmeal or snack on them in between meals. 

Continue eating healthy meals and snacks throughout the day as you normally would, focusing on fiber-rich fruit and veggies, and paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues. You may find that you’re craving a fresh salad after a day of rich food. Or if you want leftovers, that’s cool, too. 

Drink Up 

If your holiday celebrations are highly festive, chances are you may have had a little too much alcohol and not enough water. It’s also likely you may have eaten more salt than you’re used to, so you may be feeling a little thirsty and bloated. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to combat dehydration and/or puffiness. 

Get Some Gentle Movement 

Another way to feel energized after a large meal is to get moving! But you don’t need to do high-impact exercise to benefit. A walk outside in the fresh air or a little yoga can clear your head if you’re feeling a little foggy and give you a an energy boost. 

Don’t Deprive Yourself 

It may be tempting to go on a diet or join a ‘detox’ program after a holiday, but resist the urge. Depriving yourself is more likely to set you up for a binge later on, especially with more treats around than normal. If you’re feeling like something sweet, go for it. You can even make a fruit-based desert, like an apple crisp or poached pears with whipped cream. Notice what your body really wants and how it feels. It’s likely just a few bites is enough to satisfy your craving, so you can move on instead of being preoccupied by food.