20 Election Day Tips from Nutritionists
By Perri O. Blumberg
Stressed about November 8th? We vote for following these smart tips.
Whether you're already plotting your move to Canada (Calgary is looking pretty good!) or recovering from a wild night as a Nasty Woman on Halloween, election season can certainly make you want to eat alllllll the chocolate. And if you're anything like us, we know we're stressing over the actual day. Below, some tips and tricks from nutritionists for navigating Tuesday, November 8th. And while we've got 'Merica on our minds, don't miss our list of The Best Coffee Shop in Every State!
Stressed out? Eat some veggies
Nervous you'll be moving abroad this November? We hear you. But know this: "Most people stress eat when their stress hormone cortisol is raging but how many potato chips do you have to eat to make the election turn out okay? Take your anxiety out on some carrots instead," says Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN and author of the upcoming book Body Kindness.
Have a cup of ginger tea
"Sip on some ginger tea before heading out the door," offers Lisa Hayim, RD and founder of The WellNecessities. "Ginger works in many ways to help to help digestion and reduce bloat. It also supports the healthy bacteria in the gut, thereby stimulating digestion." It also will calm you down like whoa—which we all could use a dose of after all this election drama. Speaking of reducing bloat, though, bookmark these 42 Foods to Deflate Your Belly Bloat so you know what to do when you're feeling a bit too puffy.
Stay calm and breathe in the crisp fall air
Heed this brilliant piece of calming wisdom, y'all: "Find a spot outside and breathe in through your nose for seven counts, hold it in your lungs for seven counts, and breathe out slowly for seven counts," instruct The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and authors of The Nutrition Twins' Veggie Cure. "The cool air will feel refreshing and the deep breathing will stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which brings on relaxation—just what you need to help prevent stress eating while nervously watching the election poll results."
Come up with a booze MO
If you plan on drinking on Election Day, do this: "Sip on sparkling water or at least dilute your cocktail to reduce the extra calories and metabolic hit that alcohol gives," says Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, a plant-based dietitian and author of The Vegiterranean Diet and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition. Here are nutritionists' best tips for choosing healthier drinks!
Bust a move
We can't all be as coordinated as the Obamas, but try this clever sweat-breaking tip: "Every time your candidate wins a state, do 20 pushups, crunches, squats, and/or triceps dips," suggests Hever. "[You can] reduce stress by pumping out explosive exercise sets in front of the television or computer." And you just got a great workout in, too!
Swig some kefir
"Drink kefir, a fermented dairy product like yogurt that's full of live active cultures of good probiotic bacteria that populate your colon and help support your immune system—and even regulate your mood!" Scritchfield offers. Want more probiotic goodness? Check out these surprising probiotic foods for a flat stomach!
"If you must eat something while anxiously watching the results pour in, choose naturally crunchy, low-calorie foods, such as whole grain crackers, air-popped popcorn, or crudite (e.g. cut-up celery sticks, baby carrots, cauliflower or broccoli florets, and jicama)," advises Hever. Want to stock up your snack options? Check out these 25 Best New Clean Eats You Can Buy Online!
Sprinkle in seasonal spices into in your morning coffee
Nutmeg and cinnamon are both available at your Starbucks and most likely in your spice rack, too. "The flavors are warming on a chilly day and the cinnamon helps to fight diabetes and keep blood sugar levels stable, which could prevent insulin spikes that trigger overeating," say The Nutrition Twins. It may also be a long, so you'll be glad you had that morning cup (or two).
Load up on H2O
"Drink a full glass of water each time a poll closes and you hear about it," suggests Hever. Why? Oh, let us count the reasons water is good for you. It's refreshing, hydrating, and can help beat belly bloat, just to name a few. To channel the greatness of our 50 states in the union, here are 50 of The Best Detox Waters around!
Indulge in a healthy dessert to take the edge off
Better yet, get in the November spirit and make it a pumpkin one. "Mix some canned pumpkin with a sprinkle of stevia, maple syrup or brown sugar and cinnamon. Be sure to go for 100% pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) for a truly healthy twist on pumpkin pie filling that hits the spot," say The Nutrition Twins. "Pumpkin is only 40 calories per half-cup and packs in 5 grams of satisfying fiber. You'll save hundreds of calories compared to traditional pumpkin, apple or pecan pie—or compared to practically any sweet treat you may typically go for."
Or have a piece of fruit
"Craving sweets? Stress can increase your sugar cravings. Swap your chocolate bar for nature's candy—fruit," advises Scritchfield. But, no, fruity pies don't count. Speaking of, you can find out where your favorite type of pie stacks up with our exclusive report on the 25 Most Popular Pies—Ranked!
Don't believe the lies
It can be overwhelming—and kind of nauseating—to try to keep up with all the lies of the different campaigns, the fake websites with lies about campaigns, and the more. Turn your attention to the lies that affect your waistline, like these 26 Belly Fat Myths. Learn 'em, love 'em, and follow their wisdom.
Park as far as possible from the polling station
Or, if you live in a big city, get off the bus or train one stop before you need to for your final destination."If you are missing your normal workout to make it to the polls, get in those extra steps while you're there! If it's at a school, you may want to utilize their playground for some extra calorie burn," suggests Hayim.
Make like popeye and have some spinach
"If the election is depressing, eat a spinach salad," advises Scritchfield. "Leafy greens contain folate which is used to make dopamine—a happy hormone." Slip it in a smoothie, toss it into your favorite fat-burning pasta salad recipe, or make it the base for your next leafy green medley.
Pace the night away
File this under genius: "Go ahead and pace while you wait for the election results. Fidgeting can be exercise and your nervous energy can be put to good use! Run, walk, pace, or plank as you wait for the results to roll in," says Scritchfield. You can fold it into tip #5 if you'd like!
Slip turmeric into your meals
This super spice will help you, uh, "go" if E-Day stress has you tightly-wound and constipated. Yes, we're going there. "Turmeric spice helps to keep things moving, which means less gas and bloating during digestion," says Hayim. Some suggestions: "You can add it into your favorite fall curries, oats, smoothies, or try turmeric lattes." Overnight oats are calling our name…
Long line? Keep your core engaged as you wait
Make the most of the time you're standing in line at the polls! "Draw in your waist, as you lift the rib cage away from the pelvis. This takes some pressure out of the hips, improves posture, and flattens the belly." Read these 30 Fascinating Weight Loss Tricks You Haven't Tried on your phone after you get into position.
Drink hot lemon water at night
A smart alternative to soda, alcohol, or creamy coffee creations is a cup of hot lemon water. "Instead of reaching for booze, sip on water as you take in the news of our next president," suggests Scritchfield. You'll channel those teatime spa-vibes, and the lack of caffeine at night will make sure you don't have (more) trouble falling asleep after the results come in.
When in doubt, snack on more apples and pistachios
Running out of #fitspo for your day's snacking? An apple is the perfect portable snack to have with you as you run from work to the polls and back to the office. "The fresh, crisp, seasonal apple will provide with the fuel to power you through the anxiety-provoking day and a handful of pistachios provide the perfect combination of protein and fiber to help keep you full and satisfied," share The Nutrition Twins. "Plus, the pistachios are the Skinny Nut, since you can have 30 of them for about 100 calories and shelling them is great for getting out those nervous Election Day jitters!"
Grate ginger into your smoothie
"Research shows it reduces muscle soreness by as much as 25 percent, which means you can exercise more and burn more calories," share The Nutrition Twins. "To ease your Election Day stress, drink your ginger-infused smoothie and then jog circles around your polling site to boost your body's stress-fighting and mood-boosting endorphins before you head off to vote." Bonus: ginger can also soothe an upset tummy like these 15 Best Foods to Ease a Stomach Ache.
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