Christmas meals everywhere are a highlight of the festive period (outside of gifts of course). Being in the UK I think we have one of the best ones though, like a super extravagant, really tasty, good roast dinner!
Being half Finnish I tend to celebrate with my family on Christmas Eve, and then I will go to my boyfriends family on Christmas Day to celebrate with them. Some years I’ve had as many as three dinners in two days, as occasionally my family does Christmas Day at my brothers too. I’m not greedy, I promise!
Anyway, as amazing as Christmas food is, it is pretty heavy and filling and can often lead to feeling really bloated and sleepy post meal. Feeling sleepy is definitely part of the charm, but I can’t say that feeling bloated is my favourite feeling in the entire world, frankly I could actually really go without feeling bloated at any time, of any day. So here are some great tips to beat that post meal Christmas bloat. Hopefully this helps some tummies feel less like they’re about to pop.
Tip 1: Get Enough Fibre, But Not Too Much
Apparently there’s a fine line here. If you have too much your body will retain water, if you have the right amount it’ll keep things moving down there. Nutritionalists recommend slowly increasing your fibre intake over time to allow your body to adjust to it. It’s also a good excuse to eat some Christmas pudding or dried fruit at Christmas as these are great sources of fibre.
Tip 2: Get Enough Fluids (and no we don’t mean mulled wine)
The more peeing you’re doing the more waste you’re flushing out of your system and the less water you’re retaining, and the easiest way to do this is by drinking enough fluids. Even an after dinner coffee will help you go as it’s proven to help get things moving.
Also everyone loves a tipple on Christmas, but if you want to avoid the bloat try not to drink too much alcohol as it’s dehydrating and will make your body puff up from trying to hold onto water.
Tip 3: Move Your Body
If you’re feeling lethargic and bloated post dinner perhaps go for a quick ten minute walk outside with your family. Cardio can help relieve the feeling and if can help gas pass through the digestive system. Ten minutes is all you need to feel it work.
Tip 4: Massage Your Tummy
If you’re feeling full and close to popping (almost wrote pooping), try and massage your tummy in the direction of your GI tract. From your right hip, press your fingers down and slide up towards your ribs, across and then down in circular motions. You might look like you’re nursing a food baby but this movement can help ‘evacuate gas’ and make your stomach feel happier.
Tip 5: Peppermint Tea
I’m a mint lover. I will put mint sauce on roast potatoes till the cows come home, so peppermint tea is a dream beverage to me. Peppermint tea relaxes the digestive tract and reduces water retention, therefor alleviating gas. Pour a cup of hot peppermint to have after dinner, it’ll help. You can even get peppermint-oil capsules to help with stomach pain. We’d really recommend the Pukka Three Mint tea for the best tasting one.
Tip 6: De-Stress
Stress can bloat you, and while Christmas is supposed to be a relaxing time it’s also a bit intense if you have families to deal with and schedules to stick to and meals to cook and managing everyones expectations can get a bit overwhelming, pumping up that tum full of air. So go for a walk, or have a bath, or do some breathing just to take you out of that moment for a little while, to calm down, and not get a stress belly.
Tip 7: Avoid Sodium & Increase Potassium
Sodium will cause water retention in your body, so anything salty will not be your friend. If you’re finding it’s unavoidable, balance it out by increasing your potassium intake: asparagus, satsumas & clementines, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, melon and tomatoes all have your back here.
Tip 8: Smaller Portions
As you load up your plate with that delicious food, it can be easy to let your eyes get ahead of you. As a tip leave a quarter of your plate empty. This’ll stop you from over eating and you can always go back for more if you can’t resist... Smaller portions, more frequently are the best option to reduce bloating.
Tip 9: Lemon Water
On Christmas morning start the day with a warm lemon water. It’s delicious and lemon is a natural diuretic (makes you pee more) and essentially aids your digestion and reduces water retention which can leave you feeling all bloaty. This one is also great if you have a cold, or even on a daily basis. All hail the lemon water.
Tip 10: Eat Slowly
A lot of the time if you eat too fast and don’t chew your food properly (I know I’m guilty of this) you can swallow air which will lead to bloating. If you eat slower and take care to chew your food properly the less puffed up you’ll feel. Digestion totally begins in your mouth.
Enjoy your delicious dinners over the festive period! Hopefully these tips will help stop you from needing to pop...