For many of us, already blessed by living in a world of abundance, food at Christmas time is often characterised by huge and huge amounts of it. From no doubt all the goodness of their hearts, our host(esse)s usually seem to present us with meals, snacks and in-betweens as if it were the last food we were ever going to have in this lifetime. Many of us look forward to this time of plentiness, but not all of us are all that happy with this bulky, stuffed, bloated body we are left with after the event.
There is no need to overfill our stomachs with all the palatable temptations, yet still enjoy the many flavours we are being exposed to at Christmas time. A few tips to help keep your intestines from overgrowing, to help your digestion with keeping up, and to keep the calories at for this time of the year acceptable bay.
- Drink at least one large glass of water before sitting down to a meal. It will give you a filled feeling right from the start, thus helping to prevent overeating.
- Eat a good quantity of raw vegetables or salad during the day and with your meal. This is a great help with a proper digestion as well as with dealing with acidity – almost inevitable around Christmas time.
- Let your first helping at the dinner table be a small one – you can always come back for seconds.
- Start with the food items that you like most – chances are that by the time you get to the rest, your appetite will have been satisfied.
- The deserts are usually the ‘killers’ – they are extremely rich in sugar, which slows your digestion and your body down, leaving you with that stuffed, nauseous feeling. The fermentation process, induced by the sugars, gives you the additional bloated feeling. If possible, don’t eat the desert, or if you have to, try sharing with a loved one.
- Don’t eat fruits with your meal, they cause fermentation in your insides as well. Better to eat fruit well before or after a meal.
- The same, unfortunately, goes for wine. No harm in having a glass before dinner, but don’t touch it in conjunction with your food. If you want to, continue with alcohol no sooner than one hour after your meal.
- Although there haven’t been any clinical trials to support this, baking soda is known to help with heartburn and neutralising stomach acid. Dissolve one teaspoon in 8 ounces (approx. 240 cc/ml – usually the equivalent of a regular glass) of water, but beware of possible side effects like burping .
- Try to divide your intake of food evenly throughout the day. Eating five or six small meals during the day is much better for your stomach than three large ones.
- Even if you are not into exercising, taking a walk after a heavy meal is a great way to help with digestion and to burn calories. The combination of oxygen intake and use of the muscles releases the air, built up in your intestines, helping to relieve the pressure and that uncomfortable bloated feeling.
All in all: there is no need to miss out on your savoury Christmas treats – just make the right choices in what, how often and how much you eat. Merry Christmas!