Six Ways to Keep your Gut Health in Check During the Holidays
Excited for the holiday cheer but worried about how to keep your health in check? For many, it’s difficult to imagine indulging in the joys of the season, including our favourite holiday dishes, without a sense of guilt or completely letting go of our healthy habits. Here are some of our top tips on how you can keep your health, and your gut health, in check over the holidays!
- Don’t Skip Meals
While you may be tempted to restrict your intake earlier in the day to save your appetite, this may have the opposite effect you intend it to have and can easily backfire for several reasons. When you go into an event hungry, it can become very difficult to resist less nutritious choices, and potentially eating more than you would otherwise. Try having a satisfying snack before leaving for a holiday party, avoid going too long without eating, and don’t skip meals.
- Start your Day with a Protein-Rich Breakfast
Protein plays a key role in helping you feel satiated. Set yourself up for success with a balanced breakfast that will help curb cravings later in the day.
- Load up your Plate with Veggies
One way to support your gut health is by choosing the fibre-rich foods at your celebrations! While it may be tempting to fill up on the main dishes like a glazed Christmas ham, don’t forget about all the side dishes available such as your fibre-rich veggies. Whether it’s a bright and colourful salad or a side of roasted root vegetables, aim to fill half your plate with vegetables and plenty of colour to keep you fuller for longer and keep your gut bugs happy.
- Review your Options
How many times have you gone to a buffet only to sit down at your table with a portion much bigger than anticipated because you kept coming across more dishes you wanted to try? Previewing what’s available can allow you to make a mental note of what food options you wish to choose, so that you can serve yourself an appropriate portion size.
- Listen to your Hunger and Fullness Cues
It can be easy to overindulge during the holidays and end up feeling bloated by the end of the meal. Try slowing down and paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues so that you can enjoy all foods without over-doing it. Remember: those Christmas chocolates and candy canes aren’t going anywhere if you don’t finish them all in one sitting! Allow yourself to enjoy some, and then wait to see how you feel before deciding if you want more.
- Practise Mindful Eating
Mindful eating involves being present in the moment and aware of all your senses. Try slowing down while eating and checking in with your body, with the aim of feeling satisfied without leaving the table feeling sluggish.
Enjoying your favourite holiday foods and prioritising your health doesn’t need to be a one-or-the-other situation. Remember that social connection is a big part of our health, and that includes enjoying meals with friends and family.
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