The holidays are not just a time for being with our loved ones, relaxing and having fun. For most of us, it’s also a time for delicious food. However, some of us tend to forget to pace ourselves, eat in excess, and end up with bloating. This condition can be so uncomfortable that it can take the fun out of our holiday experience. Fortunately, it can be avoided, and the solution is actually simple.

If you have experienced bloating in the past and would like to ward it off in the future, remember these 7 foods that cause bloating and their healthy alternatives.

1. Beans    
A type of legume, beans typically have an excellent macronutrient profile (high in healthy carbs, fibre and protein) and are rich in various vitamins and minerals. However, because they contain sugars called alpha-galactosides, they are likely to escape digestion, get fermented by bacteria in the colon, and cause gas production.

It’s always best to choose highly digestible beans, such as pinto and black. You can also replace beans with quinoa or grains.

3. Wheat
Wheat has become a subject of debate because of its gluten content, which can cause serious problems for those who suffer from gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Wheat also has short-chain carbohydrates, which can cause digestive problems for some people.

Fortunately, there are healthy alternatives. Aside from pure oats and quinoa, you can also replace wheat with almond flour, coconut flour, banana flour and buckwheat.

3. Onions
These bulb vegetables are a staple in a lot of meals and easy-to-prepare snacks. Unfortunately, when eaten raw, they can lead to serious bloating and gas issues. Onion’s fructans, which are soluble fibres, have been known to cause digestive problems.

Luckily, onions are not difficult to replace. To reduce the risk of bloating, try giving your food a kick with herbs and spices instead.

4. Garlic
Much like onion, garlic is a common ingredient in lots of dishes. It has also been touted as a healthy remedy and is eaten raw by some people. However, similar to onion, garlic contains fructans that make it likely to cause digestive issues.

While cooking garlic does decrease the likelihood of bloating, that doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re preparing a dish for someone who’s sensitive to fructans, try herbs and spices like basil, chives, parsley, rosemary and thyme.

5. Cruciferous vegetables

When most of us talk about superfoods, the particular foods that come to mind usually include broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. These cruciferous vegetables are without a doubt among the most nutrition-dense foods known to man, containing a wide range of essential nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, iron and fibre. Unfortunately, they are also known to cause bloating.

Of course, there are plenty of vegetables that offer a similarly impressive micronutrient profile. Cucumbers, lettuce, spinach and zucchini are all nutritious and do not cause bloating.

6. Dairy
Milk is not as healthy as some of us think. In fact, aside from being acid-forming, dairy products such as milk, butter and cheese have been known to cause gastrointestinal issues. People who have difficulty processing lactose, the sugar found in dairy may experience bloating and gassiness.

To prevent dairy-related digestive problems, try alternatives like almond, coconut, soy and rice milk.

7. Apples
An apple a day keeps a doctor away unless it gives you a serious digestive issue. While apples have been linked to a list of health benefits because of their antioxidant content, they are also likely to cause bloating. The combination of fructose and fibre can be fermented in the large intestine, thus causing problems with digestion.

If you’re prone to bloating, try to limit your intake of apples. You should also consider eating bananas, blueberries, oranges, grapefruit and other fruits that are easier to process.

Bloating won’t be a problem if you minimise your intake of bloat-causing foods, and stick to healthier alternatives. For a simple but comprehensive guide on upping the health factor of your diet, check out this blog post. And if you experience prolonged bloating despite staying away from the foods mentioned above, make sure to consult your doctor to rule out any medical condition.