Let’s face it – most of us overdo it during the holiday season. It’s incredibly hard to avoid all those cookies, fruitcakes, homemade candy and designer chocolates lying around just begging to be eaten. The holidays are a time of fun, friends, family and food. Though many of us start with good intentions, we often struggle to avoid overindulging. Here are a few things that may cause you to feel a holiday health hangover and read on for the simple strategies to avoid it.
Too much salt: Our favorite seasonal recipes aren’t exactly the healthiest, and with holiday gatherings starting early and lasting into the night, with all-day grazing, the calories and salt add up fast. So being adequately hydrated can help your body deal with all of that sodium that it isn’t used to processing. Try drinking an extra glass of water before meals, before you go to sleep and when you wake up.
Too much sugar: When the holidays arrive, it arrives with all of our favorite sweets. Just the smell of seasonal baking can encourage a host of sugar cravings. It can be easy to get carried away by the indulgent holiday spirit and all of the tasty goodies constantly available. So try a different approach if it’s too hard to cut down on added sugars and sweet temptations. The best way to combat this unwanted calorie source and to prevent possible post-dessert energy swings is to go for a walk immediately. Or chose 1 favorite and eat smaller portions.
Too many cocktails: Swigging back one too many spirited holiday drinks may be fun at the time, but it can be a source of unwanted calories while bringing about hangover symptoms. Many of the symptoms caused by alcohol can be lessened by eating a good meal before you start drinking, so keep in mind to have a little something to eat if you decide to start drinking before the big family dinner. Before going to bed you can also drink a glass of water to avoid dehydration the next day; however your body is still going to need lots of water in the morning. You can include sports drinks, pickle juice or diluted fruit juice to replace all the electrolytes you lost.
Too much family time: We love our families, but spending a few days with them can leave you feeling emotionally exhausted. So take alone time (if possible) to recover. Take periodic breaks, whether that’s going for a walk, offering to go to the store for a forgotten ingredient or picking up coffee.
This Christmas, embrace the gluttony (briefly and in moderation) and shed the guilt.