New Year's Eve is an occasion to celebrate, but if you want to actually enjoy it and not spend the first day of 2020 trying to recover from the night before, make sure you keep these tips in mind.
According to dietician Gülçin Ergazi, the morning after should start with a light breakfast and plenty of water. "We will most likely wake up still full from the night before, so small and light meals will be key," she said. Ergazi said this might push people to skip a meal or two, but they should refrain from doing so. She also advised people to take at least an hour's long walk out in the fresh air if possible and consume herbal teas and fruits like kiwis and pineapples to get rid of water retention. People should stay away from fatty and sugary foods at all cost, and make sure to drink plenty of water.
Ergazi said the biggest mistake people make on Dec. 31 is to go the whole day without eating anything and then gulfing down all that is on the dinner table.
"When we are (very) hungry, we eat more food. We will be spoilt for choices on New Year's Eve, so we should consume less but more often throughout the day," she said.
To prevent overeating and having those dreaded "hangry" tantrums, "a small sandwich is a good option" during the day, she said, adding that this will also keep your blood sugar levels from dropping and keep your energy levels in check.
Ergazi advised meat lovers to try to stay away from fried, oily meats on New Year's Eve. For mezes – a staple of the traditional Turkish New Year's dinner – people should opt for those that are more vegetable-based and made with Turkish yogurt, which will be lower in calories compared to others, she said.
The biggest culprit to watch out for: cakes. Heavy in whipped cream and high in sugar, cakes are practically calorie bombs, she said, adding that consuming them in moderation is key. For dessert, milky puddings should be favored.
The dietician also underscored the importance of having a stable sleep schedule and clocking enough hours. She said most people will have multi-course meals and eat later than usual on New Year's Eve, but all eating activities should be stopped by at least an hour before bedtime. Eating too late at night will cause indigestion, gas and bloating, acid reflux and even diarrhea and constipation, she added.
On the topic of sleep, Ergazi said: "The stomach has difficulty digesting the food we eat too close to bedtime. This, in turn, disrupts sleep and the quality of it. When sleep quality is compromised and we sleep less than recommended, our bodies stop burning fat." However, oversleeping and trying to make up for lost hours is also harmful to our health, Ergazi warned. "Sleeping too much causes our metabolism to slow down and our energy levels to deplete. Eating the right amounts at the right hours, consuming enough liquids and sleeping well is crucial."
Ergazi also cautioned against consuming alcohol on an empty stomach, saying that drinking a few glasses alongside our meal is the best way to go as it will help us consume less overall and prevent our blood sugar levels from skyrocketing. But cocktail lovers be warned: packaged fruit juices are loaded with additives and sugars, so it's best to keep their consumption to a minimum. "Drinking enough liquids, especially water, is highly important," she said.