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Holiday Indulgences and How to Reset

By Terry Passano, RDN, LDN, CLT – University Dietitian

The holidays are coming! I, for one, am looking forward to the break, one of the great benefits of the school calendar. I believe I’ll have time to rest, reset and recharge. I don’t know why I continue to fall for that line of thought because I travel, eat pie and drink eggnog in that week off. Then I wish I had another week off to rest and recharge.

Holiday treats are delicious indulgences. After a day or two of your favorites, you may feel less than stellar. If you wake up feeling sluggish and unhappy, don’t worry! Here are some simple steps to give you energy and motivation.

Start the day off in the right direction

Get right into eating well the next day. You may feel less than hungry, but avoiding eating the next day may lead to overeating again at night. Skipping meals can also make us cranky. Pace yourself with small meals during the day; this will prevent overeating and poor food choices made because you’re suddenly hungry. Eating the right foods also helps balance blood sugar and mood.


Water will boost your energy and flush your system. Up your usual water intake by a few glasses to rebalance after a night of overdoing it.

Smoothies will hydrate you as well as provide a surge of antioxidants and vital nutrients. Include potassium-rich fruits such as bananas and anti-inflammatory, antioxidant stars like berries.

Green tea, coconut water, ginger tea or juice, carrot juice, and peppermint tea are all great choices to rebalance and rehydrate. Limit caffeinated drinks and avoid alcohol and soda.

Move it!

Fresh air and sunshine are the first medications! Walk, run, throw the ball with the kids or dog – anything to get out of the house and into the world. Add in a trip to the gym or whatever you enjoy.

Help your gut

Sugar, fat and alcohol can disrupt the bacteria balance in your gut, known as the gut microbiome. Probiotics and prebiotics promote beneficial bacteria and help restore microbiome balance. Yogurt is the best known of these. You can also go for kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut and miso. Asparagus, leeks, onions, garlic, jicama and whole wheat are good sources of prebiotics, which support the probiotics.

Fiber is also your friend. Holiday foods aren’t known for their fiber content, which sometimes slows things down, especially when traveling. Foods like whole grains, beans, lentils, apples and other fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables will give you what you need. Fiber requires water to do its job, so be sure to get that fluid in.

So how to feel better? Incorporate all these tricks into well-balanced eating. Start with a small breakfast within an hour of waking, then eat every three-five hours. Enjoy a berry smoothie and go for a walk. Rest if you feel the need.

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