With turkey roasting in the oven, latkes sizzling in a skillet, and no shortage of holiday cookies, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas may seem like they’re all about food. And while the focus on holidays should be about celebrating with loved ones, there’s no denying that food tends to take center stage.
With so many indulgences in such a short amount of time, it’s easy to overdo it and feel like crap the next morning. If you fill your plate with stuffing, reach for a second piece of pumpkin pie, or have one too many cups of eggnog, you’ll probably end up with a food hangover the next morning. Instead of having a “screw it” attitude and binge-eating on holiday junk food until after New Year’s Day, here’s how to get right back on track the next day.
We tapped registered dietitians who shared tips to bounce back from your holiday food hangover. You should definitely enjoy the holidays and indulge in all the treats of the season you only get this time of year. But if you’re regretting your life choices the next day, here’s how to rebound and start feeling better, ASAP. Scroll through to see some of their expert advice.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Katie Goldberg, RDN, LDN, of EKG Nutrition, said that while it’s important to reflect on how certain foods make you feel so you can go on to make healthier choices, you should never dwell on negative feelings. “Instead, look to the day as a new beginning and a new chance to assess what your body needs,” she said.
Registered dietitian Kimberly Gomer, MS, LDN, director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa, agrees. “Don’t beat yourself up for what you ate the day before; no good comes from beating yourself up,” she said. “Focus instead on the present and praise yourself for laying the groundwork with a post-holiday plan.”
Drink Plenty of Water
Whether you overdid it on the wine or the cookies, your body probably needs water ASAP. Not only will filling up on water help you digest all the extra food you ate the night before, but it will help boost your energy and feel better. Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, recommends drinking plenty of water as soon as you can and keep drinking it throughout the day. If you are feeling some indigestion, you may also want to sip on some unsweetened ginger tea.
Start Your Day With Exercise
Kimberly recommends getting a workout in early in the day to feel better and use up those extra calories you ingested the night before. Katie said to make sure you don’t swing far on the opposite end of the spectrum and spend hours in the gym. You shouldn’t use exercise to punish yourself; rather, see it as a way to boost your mood and energy.
Go Back to Eating Healthy
You may be tempted to restrict your calories the next day to make up for everything you ate the day before, but that will just leave you feeling unsatisfied and may trigger more overindulgence. Instead, Kimberly recommends going back to eating healthy right away and load up on fruit and veggies.
Keri said to start with a well-balanced breakfast, such as an eggs with avocado, sliced tomatoes, and whole wheat toast.
Be Creative With Your Leftovers
Just because you are going back to eating healthy doesn’t mean you should toss out all your leftovers! Kimberly said to ignore the high-fat, low-carb fad diets and instead focus on eating fiber and nutrient-rich foods such as veggies, fruit, and whole grains. Eat your leftover turkey breast on top of a salad or paired with some steamed green beans and brown rice. Just skip the leftover mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.