We've all been there: After a day of indulging in pizza and doughnuts at the office, we get home and need to eat something healthy to make us feel a little better. During these times, it's good to know what foods to eat that help repair a day of unhealthy eating. Nothing will technically "undo" what you've eaten, but there's no need to. You had some food you enjoyed, and now's the time to eat well moving forward.
"Indulging is part of every healthy diet, as long as you do it an a thoughtful, planned out, conscious way instead of mindlessly eating an entire sleeve of cookies," says Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, CDN over email. "The main thing to remember is to be kind to yourself and move on from it quickly. If you throw yourself a pity party, you’re more likely to continue to overindulge than to bounce back. And remember the key to bouncing back quickly is to eat better, not less."
If you find that your stomach doesn't feel its greatest and your in need for some feel-good health foods, consider incorporating these 11 foods into your next meal that can help you recover after a day of unhealthy eating.
No matter what you've eaten, your number one solution is going to be drinking water. "Staying hydrated is a huge factor in bouncing back quickly," says Zeitlin. "First of all, it will help flush your body of any extra bloat-causing sodium that is still lingering. Second of all, it will help curb cravings that might have been revved up from your indulgence."
2. Dark Leafy Greens
Time to get out that kale, spinach, and broccoli. "Leafy greens are high in fiber, which will get your body back to feeling normal and healthy again," says Zeitlin. "They are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that will help your body’s natural detoxing system work most efficiently."
"Fish and seafood are great sources of lean protein that provide energy and satiety to fill you up and keep you full between meals so you can have better willpower fighting off any lingering cravings," says Zeitlin. "It also boosts your energy, preventing you from feeling sluggish so that you can make it to the gym after work." Plus, fatty fish like salmon and tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help fight inflammation, according to multiple studies.
4. Plain Greek Yogurt
"Another source of lean protein, plain Greek yogurt is a great source of probiotics that help promote healthy gut bacteria," says Zeitlin. "A healthy gut helps to get rid of excess waste your body doesn’t need from the food you took in, and it helps fight any bloat that is still haunting you. Aim for 2 percent or full fat."
Eggs are not only high in protein, but they also contain choline, which can help fight inflammation. "Choline also helps support your nerve function and cognition, so that your brain is extra focused," says Zeitlin.
6. Herbal Tea
Drinking tea can not help you with more than just staying hydrated. "Try tea with fennel or mint," says Monica Heather Auslander, MS, RD, LD/N over email. "These are indicated for bloat reduction from overindulgence."
"Eat parsley: it freshens breath while flushing gas out," says Auslander. Whether you add it to a smoothie, mix it in a salad, or cook it in some soup, the herb can help aid in digestion and boost your immune system, according to WebMD.
If you need a quick-fix, nibble on some nuts before dinner. The fiber will stabilize your blood sugar and prevent the 'food hangover' effect from lasting," Auslander. "Not to mention all those omega-3 anti-inflammatory fats help your body's detoxification processes occur."
9. Fresh Fruit
Eating fruits with high water content can help keep you hydrated, says Auslander. Avoid dried fruits, which are high in sugar. Auslander recommends watermelon, apples, citrus, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, papaya, pineapple, kiwi, grapes, and more.
"If your day of indulging has left you a bit nauseous or uncomfortable, turn to ginger tea or add pure ginger to your dishes to reduce your symptoms," says Allison Stowell, M.S., RD, CDN and registered dietitian for Guiding Stars over email. Ginger is a helpful digestive and can particularly help you feel better after heavy meals, according to WebMD.