Real Talk: How to Prevent Post-Meal “Tummy Trouble”
I know, it’s not something people are generally comfortable discussing openly, at least not with anyone but their doctor. But it’s time we brought this topic to the table — what to do about post-meal tummy troubles?
I’m talking about feeling tired, gassy bloated, and generally uncomfortable, after a big meal like Thanksgiving.
It happens to the best of us. I have a sensitive stomach and I often feel crappy after what is supposed to be a joyous celebration.
With tomorrow’s massive Thanksgiving meal looming on the horizon, I thought today was the perfect time to address these potential tummy troubles that so many of us experience — because the last thing you want to be thinking about when you’re supposed to be focused on family and friends, is your digestive issues.
I’ve recruited my friend, the fabulous Keri Glassman, MS RDN of Nutritious Life, to address this common post-meal problem and give us some easy, healthy solutions to make your turkey day go as smoothly as possible. Fyi — that was not meant to be a digestive pun (but it worked, right).
Read on for her helpful advice! >>
Q&A with Keri Glassman
What is it about the Thanksgiving meal that leaves us feeling so tired and often bloated or uncomfortable?
We eat too much. We eat too many carbs. We eat too much unhealthy fat. Our bodies rebel. Period.
Overconsumption of food and alcohol often causes bloat, gas, discomfort and lead us to unbutton our pants at the table. This is usually the result of too many carb heavy and unhealthy fat laden foods. Our bodies have to expend energy digesting all of this food and our GI tracts go into overdrive.
Are there specific dishes that one with a sensitive stomach should avoid to prevent these tummy troubles?
Avoid the fat laden and fried appetizers and all the refined carb choices. So, no cheese puffs and buh-bye white bread stuffing. Eat slowly. Chew your food. Drink water between alcoholic beverages and fill up your plate with mostly veggies (the cleanest you can find) and lean protein.
Also, try a digestive enzyme like Enzymedica before the meal to help your gut do it’s busy job on the big meal day. They have specific formulas to help people based on what you have trouble digesting — dairy, beans, veggies, etc.
What are some other things you can do to reduce post-meal pain/bloating?
- Control your portions. Sounds obvious but it is the probably the best way to avoid the belly ache and bulge. Thanksgiving will come again next year, and you will certainly attend more holiday gatherings over the next month. No need to eat like you are going to the electric chair.
- Drink lots of water. This will help to keep you from overeating and help you feel full.
- Skip carbonated beverages and go for herbal tea instead.
- Opt for the green beans versus the more gaseous veggies like cauliflower if you have a problem with them.
Ok, so this isn’t exactly digestion-related, but I’ve heard the average American consumes something like 3500 calories during the Thanksgiving meal. If you’re trying to avoid gaining a pound in one siting, what are the best and worst Thanksgiving dishes?
- Deep-Fried Turkey
- Gratins: These rich dishes contain heavy cream, butter, and cheese making them delicious but filled with calories and saturated fat.
- Green Bean Casserole: Just 1/2 cup can have up to 100 calories and 7 grams of fat due ingredients like heavy cream of mushroom soup and fried onions.
- Candied Sweet Potatoes: These usually healthy spuds are loaded with brown sugar, butter and marshmallows.
- Stuffing with Sausage: White bread and processed meat. Need I say more?
- Mashed potatoes: Most mashed potatoes are loaded with heavy cream and butter.
- Pecan Pie: While pecans are packed with antioxidants, one serving of pecan pie has nearly 500 calories and 23 grams of fat. Go for pumpkin instead!
- Cranberry Sauce: This seemingly healthy side is filled with sugar.
- White Meat Turkey (no skin): Grab a serving of this holiday staple, an excellent source of lean protein. Just one 3.5 ounce serving contains 30 grams of protein.
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Fiber in Brussels sprouts helps regulate digestive function. If they make you gassy though, you may want to avoid them, or make sure you take your enzymes!
- Whipped Sweet Potato Casserole: These sweet tubers are high in fiber for digestive health, and don’t need tons of added sugar to be delicious.
- Pumpkin Pie: This pie is your best bet for lower calories and fat, plus one typical slice delivers about 250% of your daily value of vitamin A, 10% calcium, and about 2 g. of fiber per serving.
As a nutrition expert, what does a healthy Thanksgiving look like for you?
Exercise, family, football, protein, veggies and sweet potatoes…ok, and a lil’ red wine!
When it comes to my actual T-Day plate, I am a protein girl. A really good bird is delish of course, but also very satisfying and helps me to keep the more decadent foods in check. Where I am for Thanksgiving will determine which veggies I go for, but always a few. Wherever I am, I find the “cleanest” green possible and make it the biggest portion on my plate. Fortunately, I love my greens, which are a good, filling food (all that fiber and water) and help to keep the stuffing, potatoes and dessert from taking center stage!
I hope you found these tips helpful and that they’ll assist you in having a happy, healthy Turkey Day!