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  • Heather Woodruff

IBS and the Holidays – How to Keep your Belly Calm!

I don’t know about your calendar, but my holiday schedule currently shows 3 massive meals planned within a 72 hour window. And while our annual family Minute-to-Win-It Tournament is a hoot (with trophies, aggressive trash talking and all!) I know that kind of meal pressure can be pretty darn stressful for those with chronic tummy trouble.

So I thought I’d better take some time sharing some solid tips on how to ENJOY holiday dinners and not feel bloated, sluggish and uncomfortable afterwards.

I am going to start by saying that I’m not going to go on and on about all the things you shouldn’t eat over the holidays. This time of year is known for happy times, laughter and heck yah, a little indulgence when it comes to food. I am going to share some ways to maneuver the Christmas buffet to decrease our sometimes painfully bloated bellies so that you don’t need to live in yoga pants over the holidays… unless of course you want to because hey, who doesn’t love a good cozy pair of yoga pants while watching ‘Love Actually’ on Netflix :-)

6 Tips to Keep your Belly Calm Over the Holidays


This means never arriving at your holiday dinner party starving. I don’t know about you, but I make terrible food choices when I’m han-gry (not a typo, han-gry is when your anger is induce by hunger). Try having a light tummy friendly snack before dinner so that you come to dinner with a clear mindful brain and are able to make confident food choices.

Still avoid your known gut triggers

If you know gluten bloats your belly like a balloon keep it to an absolute minimum or avoid it completely. If you are concerned about being limited with dinner options, offer to bring something that you know keeps your tummy happy like some Honey Coconut Bread.

Go easy on the grains and starches

The holiday buffet can be pretty packed with potatoes, rolls, breads and stuffing. A plate full of these babies can really increase gas, bloating and trips to the loo. Try first filling your plate with some protein (like turkey, lentils or beans) and a huge portion of roasted veggies then a small helping of grains or starch (if you know you tolerate them well).

Mindful Desserts

The dessert table can be such a battle for many. You want it so bad but know it may be the bite(s) that put your temperamental tummy over the edge. The solution: mindful eating over mindless eating. Scan the available desserts, are you pee-your-pants excited about 1 particular bit of goodness you see? If not, it may be a time to pass. If so, this may be the time you feel like indulging (and guiltlessly enjoy every single bite!).

Choose low sugar grown-up bevies

Alcoholic drinks can range in refined sugar from very little to the equivalent of a can of coke (yikes!). Look for dry wines (a ‘00’ sweetness rating), spirits mixed with club soda, kombucha and lemon/lime or even a dry martini! As an added note; while it is nice to indulge in a drink or two over the holidays, alcohol (even the low sugar cleaner variety) does feed some of the unbeneficial strains of bacteria in your gut. Sip mindfully and pay attention to how you feel!

And of course even if we do all that we can, coming prepared with some natural remedies like teas, digestive enzymes and peppermint oil can make the world of difference!

Want a few recipes to add to the Christmas table that you know will calm your gut rather than inflame it? Make sure to download my FREE 3 Day Meal Plan to Calm IBS Flare Ups

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