Anyone who thinks they can make it through the holidays without succumbing to (over)indulgence is either a supernatural being or straight-up in denial. Instead of driving ourselves crazy with rigid restrictions, we prefer to let balance be the goal.
Every year we source new strategies from our fave wellness pros — like this one from nutritionist Lauren Felts and these from functional medicine doctor Mark Hyman. Below we’re sharing a few of our holiday eating tips from years past; read on for tips are easy, effective and might just save the day… and the day after.
TAKE DIGESTIVE ENZYMES. The simple act of taking digestive enzymes when eating desserts and heavy foods can vastly improve our body’s ability to process them. Digestive enzymes are released by your saliva, stomach, pancreas and your small intestine, but oftentimes the body is unable to produce adequate amounts, especially when unhealthy foods are consumed. As a result, the food is not properly broken down, leaving it to rot in the digestive tract. This leads to toxin production in the body, and symptoms such as indigestion, constipation, bloating and even more severe conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, headaches and inflammation can occur. Take a broad spectrum digestive enzyme complex that contains the enzymes amylase, lipase, maltase, pepsin, cellulase, lactase, protease and invertase. One of our favorites is Premier Digest by Premier Research Labs
DON’T GET SKIMPY. Begin your day as any other day on the plan; do not skip meals to save calories or carbohydrates. Don’t try to avoid snacks if you’re hungry. Having a protein-packed snack an hour before your holiday meal can help assuage hunger and help you make better decisions.
SET INTENTIONS. Set an intention for how you would like to feel after the meal and hold yourself accountable by sharing with a close friend or family member. Or write it in your journal. Be aware of your options, chose wisely. Don’t think of the holidays as an excuse to gorge on unhealthy food. Plan in advance to make sure there are options available that you can enjoy.
PRE-HYDRATE. Drink two glasses of water with lemon before the meal.
EAT MINDFULLY. Try these tips to eat your meal mindfully:
+ Take five deep breaths before your meal.
+ Sit next to someone you genuinely find interesting and engage in pleasant conversation.
+ Appreciate the colors and smells of your food.
+ Chew thoroughly and slowly.
+ Put your fork down between bites.
+ Breathe in through your nose while you eat.
+ Express gratitude with others before the meal.
+ Have a trusted friend or family help hold you accountable for your goals.
+ Halfway through the meal, put fork down and pause. Take three deep breaths and assess your hunger on a scale of 1-10. Ask yourself how much more you need to eat in order to walk away feeling energized and comfortable. Hint: Usually, this is around “6” or “7.”
+ Close your meal by saying something out loud about how delicious it was and how satisfied you are. Hearing yourself say this can help signal to you and others that you are finished.
Happy Turkey Day!