Navigate holiday eating with confidence

The holidays are a time when many of us catch up with family and friends — often over drinks or a festive meal. It can feel hard to navigate the holiday table if you’re living with a GI condition, but a little advance planning can help you enjoy your gatherings and avoid digestive discomfort. Here are 5 tips for gut-friendly holiday eating:

1. Know your dietary triggers

By identifying foods that trigger your GI symptoms, and creating a plan to minimize them, you can feel more confident in your food choices at the holidays. A GI Registered Dietitian can help you understand the relationship between your diet and your digestive symptoms, and support you with dietary modifications that fit your lifestyle.  

2. Plan your menu in advance

If someone is hosting you for a meal at their house, it’s okay to ask them about the menu in advance and politely mention your dietary needs. You can even offer to bring a gut-friendly dish that you know you’ll be able to eat. Similarly, if you’re dining out at a restaurant, review the menu beforehand to find items you can eat. If you don’t see anything, you can call the restaurant — many places will work with you to prepare a meal that fits your needs.

3. Be mindful of meal sizes and timing

With so many temptations around, it can be easy to overeat at the holidays. It may also feel tempting to skip meals or eat very lightly in preparation for a holiday meal later in the day. Instead of taking this approach, aim to stick to your typical routine earlier in the day, eating regularly and staying hydrated.  By staying satiated, you won’t be as likely to have a large meal, which could be harder on digestion. Similarly, if you decide to indulge in a special treat, be sure to remain mindful of portion size. You may find that you’re able to enjoy a bite or two of your favorite holiday dish and satisfy your tastebuds without derailing your digestive care plan. 

4. Limit or avoid alcohol

Wine, beer, and other alcoholic drinks commonly cause digestive issues. Luckily, there are many fun holiday drinks that can raise your spirits without any spirits, such as colorful mocktails, herbal teas, hot chocolate, and more. 

5. Suggest food-free activities

While our society places a lot of emphasis on food, breaking bread together doesn’t need to be the only way you spend time with your loved ones at the holidays. Suggest meeting for a different activity – such as going for a walk, watching a favorite movie, or more – that allows you to spend time together without a meal.  

Want more guidance? A GI Registered Dietitian can help you feel confident in your food choices — at the holidays and year-round —  by providing personalized nutrition care recommendations to improve your GI symptoms through diet.

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