Christmas party season is coming up! The last thing you want to be worrying about is looking or feeling bloated for the evening, so here are our top tips and 24-hour meal plan to help you beat that bloat!
Avoid the sprouts!
Steer clear of ‘gassy’ vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, as well as beans, peas and lentils, as these are difficult for your stomach to digest. They are known for bringing on gassy spells, causing your tummy to swell up like a balloon.
Up the protein and fibre
Foods that are high in fibre and protein will speed up your metabolism, helping you to digest food quickly and keep your waistline ultra-wispy. Stick to foods like citrus fruits, berries, high-fibre cereals, lean proteins, nuts, yoghurt and spinach.
There are a few herbal teas you can try to help with digestion and flush out any unwanted toxins. Ginger, peppermint or fennel teas are good choices when it comes to de-bloating.
Avoid processed foods.
Foods that are packed with sodium cause the body to retain more water, and in turn make us bloated and full. This is often due to the high salt content in the food. Our bodies will try to dilute the salt to maintain a healthy balance of electrolytes.
Curb your carbs
Carbs like pasta, rice and bread are killer culprits when it comes to bouts of bloating. Carbs like these cause your body to store three times more water than protein-based foods like chicken breast or salmon. So if you're feeling peckish it's best to snack on these throughout the day rather than tucking into a heavy bowl of pasta.
Ditch the fizz
Carbonated drinks – even fizzy water – will cause excessive bloating in your stomach. This includes prosecco! So opt for still water when you can, and try to avoid that mid-afternoon diet coke!
Okay, that’s all well and good knowing what not to eat but what should you be eating exactly? Here’s a 24 hour meal plan you can start tonight in preparation for the big event.
The 24 hour meal plan
9:00PM THE NIGHT BEFORE
Drink a herbal tea before you go to bed - any of the herbal tea options mentioned above. This will help aid your digestive system while you sleep.
7:00AM - GET STRETCHING
Get moving as soon as you wake up with some light stretching to relax the stomach. Bring your knees up to your chest and hold them there for a few seconds. Then, keeping your knees together, twist your legs side to side.
7:30AM - START DRINKING
No, we're not talking about the alcohol. Save that for later ;) Sip on a glass of water with half a lemon squeezed into it. Water helps flush the system including any excess bloat-inducing sodium out your body. The lemon acts as a natural digestive aid. Keep drinking water throughout the day, but DON’T sip through a straw or water bottle. This can increase the air in your stomach, causing the dreaded pooch.
8:00AM - BREAKFAST
A liquid breakfast will be easier on your digestive system but you need to make sure its packed with protein to keep you full. Mix some protein powder and a cupped hand of oats with unsweetened almond or coconut milk. Avoid using regular skimmed or whole milk as dairy can cause bloating in some people.
10:00AM - MORNING SNACK
Have a cupped hand of fat free greek yoghurt with a handful of berries. The protein in the yoghurt will keep you satisfied with the berries giving you that sweet fix as well as some extra fibre.
12:00PM - LUNCH
Ditch the sandwich and opt for a grilled veggie salad. Cooked vegetables are easier to digest than raw ones. Just avoid the gassy veg veg such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower or cabbage. If you’re a meat lover you can throw in some lean turkey steaks too.
2:00PM - AFTERNOON SNACK
When your energy starts to slip, snack on a small handful of almonds.
4:00PM - PRE-EVENT SNACK
If you’re having a sit down dinner, you probably won’t be enjoying the meal until around 8:30pm so you’ll need something to tide you over until then, without bloating! Try a bowl of pureed vegetable soup (avoiding the gassy veg). Canned soup is a no go due to its high salt content. Soup is easy to digest and its high water content will keep your system moving and leave you satisfied. Homemade butternut squash or carrot and parsnip soup is tasty and filling.
6:00PM - GETTING READY
Having a few drinks while you’re getting ready is totally acceptable (as it’s a special occasion)! But to minimise the bloat, steer clear of the fizz and bubbly here and throughout the evening.
Follow all these tips and eat your food slowly during the meal and you’ll be bloat free all evening!