Everyone loves the winter holidays: all the presents, all your loved ones and of course all the delicious food. We all tend to go a bit crazy during those big bountiful meals, even if it means putting on some “holiday weight” and torturing our tummies in the process. But with a little balance and moderation you can enjoy your holiday dinners and still fit into your New Year’s gown… or suit!
1. Take it easy
Holiday meals have the unique quality of being an all-in-one deal, i.e. 4 or 5 courses in one sitting, because everyone wants to try everything, and in a timely manner. But you’ll actually enjoy the food a lot more if you give yourself time to savour it: take a one hour break between courses, and you will be able to have a taste of everything without the risk of indigestion.
2. Light snacking
Even after a 5-course meal, having a snack is irresistible while laying comfortably on the couch with a glass of wine and a cheesy Christmas movie. For this occasion choose light foods, such as chicken or turkey breast, low-fat cheese, seafood and avoid subjecting your stomach to any additional salt, fat or sugar.
3. Small portions
Just because it’s that special time of year and there is delicious food everywhere, it doesn’t mean you have to eat more than you normally would. Fill up your plate a little bit at a time to make sure you don’t overeat and stop as soon as you feel full – because unbuttoning your pants at the dinner table is still not cool.
4. Chew, chew, chew
It should go without saying, but chewing your food properly and thoroughly can prevent gastrointestinal discomfort, such as bloating. Also, make sure you have a healthy upright position while you eat – this will aid your digestion and prevent acid reflux from ruining your meal.
5. Drink up
First of all, everyone knows where there’s good food there’s good wine and overeating goes hand in hand with overdrinking. By all means, enjoy your steak and your wine, but in order to avoid dehydration and digestive problems remember to drink a glass of water every now and then, and stay away from sugary or fizzy drinks right after a meal.
6. After dinner nap?
The after dinner nap is almost a holiday tradition, and a very unhealthy one at that. Lying down after a meal makes digestion more difficult, and causes your stomach acid to seep into your esophagus, which can lead to bloating and heartburn. Instead of succumbing to the urge to put your feet up after a rich meal, try taking a light half an hour walk and take in the beautiful snowy scenery – or imagine you have one.
But no matter how many meat courses you have or what kind of wine you serve, remember that the holidays are not just about food and presents – it is, after all, “the most wonderful time of the year”, so enjoy it with your family and loved ones.