The inner piggy tends to come out in full force for most of us on Christmas Day, which can be painful and rather off-putting for those sitting near us at the lunch table.
While some are happy to dive head first into the assortment of decadent offerings and pay the price later on, for those trying to avoid embarrassing mishaps, there are some things you could keep in mind to stave off the bloat:
- Choose your beverages wisely
It can be hard turning down a glass of champagne or the odd afternoon mimosa while immersed in Christmas and holiday cheer. While a beer here or there or an occasional vodka soda isn’t going to do too much damage, it’s worth being clued in on what some of the best choices for your liver health are. When it comes to alcoholic beverages, while always best to limit your intake, there are certainly some drinks that are going to be easier on your stomach than others. Stick to dry white wine, vodka, gin and low sugar whiskey, and stay away from fizzy options with high sugar content including cream-based liqueurs, ciders, sparkling wine and dessert wines. Opt to mix your spirits with soda water and a squeeze of lime rather than a sugary soft drink like lemonade or lemon squash.
- Prioritise fibre
When chowing down the extra treat here and there during the festive period, you wouldn’t be alone in overlooking your fibre intake. It’s easy to prioritise delicious fruit mince pies, pudding and other spoils, but if you want to keep bloating to a minimum, you will need to make sure you’re eating enough fibre to balance it out. This could be done by snacking on veggies and dips instead of leftover ham, or switching out your morning croissant for something like a bowl of muesli or oats.
- Pick your portions
If you’re prone to feeling gassy and bloated after eating certain vegetables, steer clear of foods like sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and green beans, or foods you know cause your stomach to flare up. Reach for slightly gentler options like apples, pears or melons, which contain high levels of pectin and fibre, helping to keep things “moving”. Fill up on veggies before digging into more gluttonous options like fatty meats, fried food and items slathered in salt, as these will add to that dreaded “puffed out” feeling.
- Chew properly!
Swallowing food that hasn’t been adequately broken down can lead to digestive problems and bloating, which are the last things you want to be dealing with on Christmas day. Even gulping down pockets of air because your chewing while talking can leave you with a big unsightly bulge in your belly, even if you haven’t gone overboard on food. By slowing down while you’re eating, your brain will have more time to realise when it is full and also allow your digestive system to operate more efficiently. You could try putting down your cutlery in between bites to help slow yourself down.
- Do some light activity
No one’s expecting you to run a marathon on Christmas day, but a little bit of light activity could aid significantly in digestion and lessening the effect of bloating. Consider heading out for a nice walk after having a big meal or taking a ball out for a throw or kick with siblings or cousins. If nothing else, it will likely help move things along before you line yourself up for the next feast of the day. Throughout the festive season it can be difficult to make time for workouts, so activity in any form will be beneficial and will always be better than nothing at all.