Between the ham, the potatoes, and the pies, it’s no joke that Christmas dinner can put a serious dent in your otherwise totally healthy eating plans. And come Boxing Day, when your fridge is full of leftovers, it can be tempting to do Xmas dinner 2.0.
But you know as well as we do, that won’t make you feel very, well, festive. In fact, the day after a major holiday meal is the perfect chance to bounce back to your best self.
That’s why we consulted with nutritionists and experts to find out exactly what you should eat and what you should definitely avoid the day after Christmas.
Do: Drink water with lemon juice
Rochelle Sirota, MS, RD, CDN, a New York City-based licensed nutritionist and dietitian says this should be one of your immediate go-tos following a day of heavy meals (it’s one of the best ways to de-bloat!). Simply add a slide of lemon or a splash of lemon juice to a mug of hot water and sip. It’ll keep you warm in the chilly weather and help you reset your health.
Do: Go for vegetables and protein
We love it for every other meal, and “leafy greens (green smoothie, steamed greens, salad), cruciferous vegetables, [and] lean protein,” are another great meal Sirota adds.
That means a spinach and kale salad with a single portion of chicken or salmon will not only taste great — and be a nice break from the carb-filled family dinners — but will give you a high dose of dietary fiber to help you process and ahem, pass, the previous night’s dinner.
Don’t: Go for seconds
“Avoid more heavy foods (leftover lasagna, anyone?), fried foods, sweets (cake, candy, ice cream, pastries, and other baked goods), soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, large amounts of caffeine, and alcohol, oversized meals, bread and flour products,” Sirota adds.
While it may be easy and convenient to just head to the fridge and pick up the leftover dinner, avoid, says Sirota. The fried, carb-loaded dishes mom made earlier shouldn’t be your go-to. And sugars, alcohol, and super-sized portions only add on to the final calorie count of the day.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy your Christmas dinner. Enjoy the family time, indulge in the traditional dishes, and jump back on your plan when you’re ready!