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Getting Over your Food Hangover

You are about to tackle that holiday ham, along with potatoes, casseroles, cookies, pies and more. And by the time New Year's rolls around, you will be suffering from a food hangover. So, how do you get rid of that "over-stuffed" feeling and back on a nutritious track?

“I think one of the biggest things as far as getting back on track is just make sure you clean house.” Kristen Lindorf isn't talking about vacuuming and dusting. She's talking about cleaning out your pantry and fridge.

"Spend the time to get rid of the excess cheesy casseroles, pies, things like that, send them home with family.”

Cleaning out your house can help you clean all the junk out of your body, too. But be careful. While the bloating associated with holiday overeating may make you want to stop eating altogether, it is important to resist the temptation to starve yourself. Allowing yourself to go hungry may encourage even more over-eating, making you feel even worse. Lindorf suggests eating small light meals loaded with lots of fruits and vegetables instead. Planning a menu and budgeting for healthier groceries can also help you stay focused.

“Go ahead and go to the freezer section and pick up some frozen broccoli or green beans; those don't have any less nutritional value. Canned goods are just as good; they do tend to have a lot of salt in them, so do try to go the low sodium route when you can. You can get the canned fruits in the light syrups; they are about half the sugar, and actually there are a few more now that either say ‘no sugar added,’ or say ‘naturally sweetened,’ and those have half of the amount of sugar in ‘light’ syrup and may be only 50 calories for a full serving.”

One of the biggest problems you will face after the holidays is handling the munchies. This is a good time to switch from cookies, cakes and pies to something with a healthier twist. Lindorf suggests edamame.

“So what you do is you take it, put it in a zipper baggie and put steam it in the microwave for about a minute, minute-and-a-half, until they are hot. It's a really good snack; it takes a while to eat; it's perfectly balanced in carbohydrate and in fiber and in protein - a really great source of all three.

Another suggestion: When you are shopping, plan for 4 or 5 'small' meals - about 200 to 400 calories each - instead of 1 or 2 large meals, because they are easier to digest.  Lindorf says your body will also benefit from an increase in fiber and whole grains, because they slow down digestion. And, consider switching from meat-based meals to using protein sources like beans and lentils once or twice a week.

“Meat is a good source of protein, and it's also a really high source of fat. And it tends to overtake the dinner plate, and so what we've tried to do is say, ‘why not use meat as a salad topper, instead of having a side salad with your steak?’”

Lindorf also says to think twice before switching from soda pop to juice. One cup of juice might have more nutrients, but will usually have a lot more sugar than that same cup of pop.

And the biggest mistake people make - thinking that you can work off all those extra calories with exercise.

“Running for probably 30 minutes may only burn 250 calories and when you're getting pizza from any of these retail chains, they're between 400 to 500 calories per serving, at least.”

You can get more tips and dozens of healthy recipes throughout this website.

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