For many if not most partygoers, the doorway to a holiday gathering might as well be a portal to a magical universe where cocktails flow freely, snacking practically becomes a competitive sport and calories are inconsequential. Along with overspending and overstressing, the season – and the gatherings that come with it – tends to prompt overindulgence in sweets, snacks and alcoholic drinks. Throw a cocktail or two or four into the mix, and watch good intentions disappear along with inhibitions.
When you’ve overdone it at a party, the next morning can leave you feeling less than festive. The holiday season, however, stops for no one, regardless of whether your body feels up to the challenge. Experts of both the nutritional and party-going persuasions reiterate what we all know: Drink plenty of fluids before the fête, stick to an allotted number of cocktails and nibble on healthful eats beforehand to minimize hunger in the face of endless party trays.
All good advice, but what to do when the damage is already done? It might be hard to stomach (sometimes literally), but the path to bouncing back begins with breakfast. Some tips for embarking on your road to morning-after recovery:
- You’ve heard it a million times, but that’s because it’s true: Continue drinking water. Plenty of it. Chances are you’ll be dehydrated after a holiday shindig. Lots of fluids the morning after (ideally water, tea or sports drinks containing electrolytes) can help ease headache, fatigue and muscle cramps.
- While coffee can seem like a post-party lifesaver (especially if you regularly partake), beware its possible upset of an already sensitive stomach – and don’t overdo it on the caffeine.
- If you can eat, eat. Don’t starve yourself to overcompensate for the previous night’s sins.
- That said, hangover hunger isn’t license to gorge. Stick to normal or even slightly smaller portions.
- Avoid the temptation to “soak up” alcohol with heavy, greasy fare. It doesn’t work that way.
- Restore normalcy with a not-so-rich, lower-calorie breakfast that includes both protein and complex carbohydrates. Think: eggs (or egg whites if you’re watching your cholesterol) with whole wheat toast, cereal, yogurt, a smoothie or fruit-topped oatmeal.
- Don’t push it activity-wise. You and your digestive system bounce back more slowly as you age, and the only surefire cure for overdoing it is to let your body recover at its own speed, slowly easing back into your normal routine.