7 Tips for Eating During the Holidays With GERD
For those with digestive issues, the happiest time of year can bring on a great deal of food-related stress. There are, however, steps we can take to prepare ourselves so that we can be less anxious about food and more focused on enjoying the moment. Below I’ve compiled a list of tips that have been helpful to me for eating during the holidays having GERD (along with Celiac and food allergies). I hope you can gain some value from it!
1. Eating a nutrient-dense meal earlier in the day.
If I am going over to someone’s house for a holiday dinner, I make sure to eat a nutrient-dense meal earlier in the day. One that is rich in healthy fats and protein, like this grain-free bone broth tortilla soup. I find that doing this helps me feel satiated so that I am less likely to overeat later during the festivities. This can be useful especially if you aren’t sure if the place you’re spending the holidays will have a lot of “safe” food options available. This leads me to my next tip…
2. Make a dish that you enjoy and are able to tolerate.
It can be hard not knowing what to expect in terms of what you’ll be able to eat when spending the holidays at someone else’s house. To ease the stress, I make at least one dish to bring that I love and that my digestive system agrees with. One of my desserts to make for a crowd is our Chocolate, Coconut, and Macadamia Bark. It’s a win for everyone!
3. Pace yourself and chew thoroughly.
Chewing is something so simple (but often overlooked) that I’ve tried to be more mindful of while eating. It’s a very important first step in the digestion process and causes the secretion of saliva, which contains enzymes that help break down our food. When we chew our food well, this allows the enzymes to do their job; pre-digest the food we eat. I’ve noticed that when I don’t chew my food thoroughly, my stomach has to work a lot harder and I end up with a lot of bloating and discomfort due to my food being digested poorly. So chew, baby, chew!
4. Moderation. Or not.
Whether you use moderation during holiday meals or decide to indulge, enjoy yourself. Building good digestive health is a process that takes time! Be kind and forgiving to yourself (because all that guilt and stress aren’t helpful for gut issues). If I eat foods that my body can digest easily most of the time, I find that if I go “off diet” a little bit I can usually bounce back just fine if I go back to eating easy-to-digest, gut-friendly foods afterward.
5. Come prepared
If I am going to someone else’s house for a holiday meal, I try to make sure and pack things that can be soothing to acid reflux symptoms or that can aid in digestion.
Here are a few things I like to stick in my purse just in case:
- throat coat tea
- a small container of raw honey (to add to my tea)
- digestive enzymes (to take within 30 minutes of a meal)
- DGL (can soothe and protect the stomach lining)
6. Eating easy-to-digest and nutrient-dense meals post-holiday
Instead of tossing the turkey carcass, I like to use the bones to make turkey bone broth post-thanksgiving! Sipping on bone broth is super soothing when I’m having a flare-up (although some can’t tolerate bone broth). If you have leftover turkey, throw that in the broth with some veggies and make a delicious turkey stew!
7. Enjoy yourself
The holidays aren’t about food. Yes, the food is a part of it, but remember it’s about so much more than that. It’s a time to enjoy being with the people you love or giving something of yourself to help others feel special and in community. You are so much more than your Acid Reflux of GERD or celiac or whatever it is that’s affecting your body. You have so much to offer. Take a deep breath and go enjoy!
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