Image via Elf/Guy Walks Into a Bar Productions.
You walk into Christmas lunch with a game plan. You know exactly how to prioritise the right amount of nibbles and mains so that you’ll have room for dessert. You’ve got this.
Then you quickly forget all the rules and eat everything you possibly can, shouting in between mouthfuls: “WHO NEEDS A PLAN ANYWAY, IT’S CHRISTMAS, B*TCHES!”
Before you know it you nursing a food baby and feeling sick and sorry for yourself.
Don’t stress, accredited Practising Dietitian Geraldine Georgeou tells us about how to beat the dreaded Christmas food coma.
Continue eating (yes, really.)
I know. It sounds crazy but hear us out because this makes sense. Georgeou explains that one very important factor when working yourself out of a food coma is to eat properly the following day.
“A lot of people think ‘I’ve eaten so much, I won’t eat barely anything tomorrow then,’ but it doesn’t work like that. Breakfast is key. I think a lot of people forget that if you don’t start with breakfast you automatically start making yourself feel tired and will have a lack of energy,” she explains.
“Our brain works on fuel, so even if you’ve over-fuelled yourself the day before, you need to make sure you’re still providing fuel for the day ahead. You might find starting off with a breakfast smoothie and throughout the day don’t forget to balance your meals with low GI carbohydrates, as well as adding some good fats, and some good proteins in there.”
“It’s important that people remember that after four hours you need a food top up.” (Post continues after gallery.)
Go for a walk.
One of the best solutions for working yourself out of a food coma is to walk it off, especially if you have eaten high sugar foods. It is one of the most simple ways to make yourself feel a little less full, and gain a little more energy. Too easy.
“If you go for a walk you will utilise and start clearing that glucose from the bloodstream, and then you’ll find then that that alone will start make you feel much better because glucose as we know feeds the brain and that why you feel all fuzzy in your head,” Georgeou says.
Drink plenty of water.
Drinking more water helps flush out toxins, will help you to feel more awake, re-hydrate your skin and fight constipation. So if you can’t bring yourself to leave the couch, this is totally achievable.
“Avoid high sugar drinks and alcohol as well as keeping well hydrated by drinking a lot of water. This is very important to help you ease out of a food coma,” she explains. (Post continues after gallery.)
How to avoid a food coma to start with.
We all know events like Christmas and New Year’s Eve are targets for the pesky food coma. But Georgeou also has some great tips for how we can enjoy ourselves without overeating and having a full stomach.
Try to avoid going to a meal feeling very hungry.
One of the worst things we can do is walk into a lunch or dinner, where we know we might eat quite a bit, feeling very extremely hungry.
Skipping breakie before Christmas lunch will only mean your starving self will eat more than is necessary.
Balance your plate out.
Be aware of the good fats, carbohydrates and proteins on your plate. Not only will having a balanced plate fill you up more, you'll be less likely to experience dips and troughs of energy.
"We know that a balance of 40 per cent protein, 40 per cent carbohydrate and 20 per cent good fats in a meal is a balanced way of eating. If you do this, you're going to be able to avoid that food coma to start with," Georgeou says.(Post continues gallery.)
Watch what you drink as well.
Food comas aren't just caused by, well, food, but by what you drink as well. So drink wisely, people.
"No more than two alcoholic drinks in one sitting is really the general rule of thumb. Remember drinking can stimulate our appetite which can also trigger binge eating," she explains.
What are your best tips when recovering from a food coma?
Accredited Practising Dietitian Geraldine Georgeou recently launched 40:40:20, a scientifically proven approach to balanced eating which has been developed to help people manage diabetes, insulin resistance, fertility, pregnancy, high cholesterol and to support weight loss. It’s based on the simple principle that the perfect meal is made up of 40 percent carbohydrates, 40 percent protein and 20 percent good fats and it starts at breakfast.