After the holiday season, you may want to get your diet back on track. Learn which foods can help you reset.
- Find prebiotic foods that can help boost your gut health.
- Stay hydrated to feel fuller longer and aid digestive health.
- Avoid processed foods or foods high in sugar and saturated fat.
[4 MIN READ]
Holiday cookies, family gatherings and cocktail parties, oh my! The holiday season comes with a lot of joy, but it also comes with a lot of calories.
If you’re feeling a little bloated and tired after all the holiday eating, the new year is a great time to reset your diet. Here are some helpful tips and healthy foods you can add to your plate to start feeling better.
Staying hydrated can help you feel healthy all around. When it comes to your diet, water can help you better digest food and keep your bowel movements regular. Plus, it helps you feel full longer, so you’re not reaching for the snack drawer as often.
The amount of water you need to drink depends on many different factors, including your activity level, environment and overall health. In general, aim to drink according to your thirst — for some people, that may be eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day, for others it may be more or less. Once you feel thirsty, you may already be dehydrated. Talk to your doctor about the right amount of water for you.
If you’re having trouble staying on top of your hydration, try purchasing a water bottle with measurements on the side, so you can track how much you’re drinking. You can also try downloading a water drinking app on your phone.
Charge up on fructans and prebiotics
After a few weeks of sodium-filled holiday hams and Thanksgiving turkey, you may want to use some plant-based protein for your meals. This can add more natural fiber, which improves digestion and helps with regular bowel movements.
Fruits and vegetables high in fructans — such as artichokes, beans, asparagus, wheat bran, bananas and pears — can also act as prebiotics. A prebiotic is a type of fiber that can help good bacteria grow in your gut, and a healthier gut may help keep you safe against infection as well as reduce cravings for junk food.
If you’re looking for inspiration on where to start with veggie-friendly meals, try these vegetarian dishes that even carnivores will love.
Incorporate natural probiotics
Live, healthy bacteria known as probiotics live in your digestive tract and keep your intestinal tissue healthy. They can also help boost your immune system and fight off viruses.
After a holiday season heavy with sugar, fat and sodium, probiotics can help get your body back on track and keep you healthy. Foods that contain live and active cultures can provide the most benefit, including yogurt, kefir and buttermilk, as well as freshly made fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha.
Stick to natural sugars
It’s time to “just say no” to holiday cookies, fudge and other treats sweetened with refined sugar.
If your sweet tooth is causing trouble and you can’t kick the sugar habit cold-turkey, try creating desserts and snacks that feature natural sugars like raw honey or maple syrup. You can also make sure you have lots of fresh fruit on hand for a sweet, healthy treat.
Spice it up
Over the holidays, it’s easy to eat a lot of salt — many of our favorite comfort foods (like green bean casserole and mac and cheese) are loaded with sodium. Prepared food, take out and many restaurant dishes are also salt-heavy.
Instead of piling on more salt in the new year, try swapping it out for spices like chili powder, allspice, ginger or coriander. Reducing the amount of salt in your diet can lower blood pressure and your risk for heart disease, as well as help you feel less bloated. Plus, spices like cayenne pepper have also been shown to help with digestion and may help burn fat.
You can start spicing things up by trying this healthy, spicy baked chicken for one of your upcoming weeknight meals.
Add some whole grains
If you’re feeling sluggish after all the holiday binging, whole grains — such as brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta — can help you start to feel better.
How do whole grains help you feel better? First, they’re loaded with natural fiber, which can help with digestion and lower blood pressure. They also contain lots of vitamins — including vitamin B, thiamin, magnesium and riboflavin — which can help boost your metabolism and your immune system.
Should I start a ‘detox’ diet?
While many people may look to fad diets and “detox” regimens, the truth is these plans don’t work for everyone and may do more harm than good.
Before starting any diet changes, be sure to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. They will be able to guide you in the right direction and help you come up with healthy habits that you can stick to long-term.
Find a doctor
If you’re looking for ways to get your nutrition back on track in the new year, talk to your doctor. You can find a Providence nutritionist using our provider directory. Or, you can search for a primary care doctor in your area.
Feeling bloated and sluggish after the holiday season? These foods can help get your diet and #health back on track. @psjh
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.
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