Going out for one too many drinks might be fun in the moment, but the hangover the next day is never a good time. The next morning can make you feel like your body and last night’s choices are in a Drake- versus Meek Mill-level feud.
One helpful tip to spend more time enjoying your day and less time hiding from life under the covers? Prevention. One way to do that? Eat a healthy, nutrient-packed meal before going out. So, what counts? Well, we went to the healthy-eating experts to find out. We asked five local healthy-eating pros what they eat before going out on nights when they know they’re going to down a few drinks. Spoiler alert: Pizza bagels didn’t make the list — which may explain why I was so well-aquainted with the bathroom floor during my freshman year of college.
While these foods aren’t guaranteed to prevent hangovers or liver damage, they do help prime your body to help to combat some of the negative effects of drinking. And note: Three key players in pretty much all of these meals were foods with B vitamins, which are depleted when you drink; healthy fats, which slow the absorption of alcohol; and protein. But don’t get us wrong: None of these meals acts as a free pass to down a handle of vodka on your on, consequence-free; they just might make that third margarita feel like less of a mistake.
Jolene Hart, certified health coach and author of Eat Pretty
Favorite pre-drinking meal: Fish Tacos
“A favorite of mine would be a meal like fish tacos topped with avocado, a slaw made of cabbage, cilantro and arugula dressed with lime juice, with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast for extra B vitamins. The next morning, I’d replenish nutrients and electrolytes with coconut water and a green smoothie.
“This particular dish is great due to the mix of protein and healthy fats contained in fish (wild-caught halibut, cod, flounder, or sea bass are all good fish choices) and the fat in avocado, both of which that help to slow the absorption of alcohol. The vitamin C in cabbage, lime juice, and arugula, and the B vitamins in nutritional yeast replenish the body after drinking and help it handle stress. The coconut water is great for replenishing electrolytes after drinking as well.”
Jessica Procini, emotional eating coach and founder of Laugh Yourself Skinny
Favorite pre-drinking meal: Avocado Toast
“My favorite pre-drinking meal is avocado toast: two slices of toasted bread topped with half a smashed avocado. I like to drizzle mine with a little olive oil, salt and some red pepper flakes and enjoy with a side of roasted asparagus. I love it because it’s super simple to make and who doesn’t love avocado?! Weird combo, I know but hear me out.
“Asparagus contains amino acids, which help metabolize alcohol and protect your liver. The avocado toast is a better choice than something carb heavy like pasta because of its healthy fats, which help to slow the absorption of alcohol and help you steer clear of a cheesesteak craving at 2 a.m. Avocado also contains potassium that will give you a head start on replacing the potassium that’s lost due to alcohol’s dehydrating effect.”
Angie Asche, registered dietitian and founder of Eleat Sports Nutrition
Favorite pre-drinking meal: Homemade Chicken Burrito Bowl
“The foods I recommend before embarking on a night of drinking would be anything high in water content, or what I call ‘hydrating foods.’ Consuming foods high in water content prior to or during a night out for drinks will not only help keep you hydrated, but the majority of these foods are very healthy for you, too! Think: fruits (the obvious, watermelon, or less obvious citrus fruits such as strawberries and kiwis), vegetables (cucumbers are 95 percent water!), yogurt, beans, or soup.
“When it comes to my favorite meal to have before a night out, it’s a chicken burrito bowl. It’s packed with protein from the chicken and beans, and the fiber in the brown rice and healthy fats from the avocado help keep me satisfied so I’m not tempted to munch on unhealthy snacks all night long. I love topping it with sautéed kale and salsa. The salsa and beans are both hydrating foods.”
Jessica Baumgardner, certified holistic health coach
Favorite pre-drinking meal: Stir-fry Bowl
“My nights out have changed quite a bit since having a baby last year, but if I know I’m going to have a few glasses of wine, I’ll eat a filling meal like a stir-fry bowl with protein to keep my blood sugar stable (and therefore prevent late night pizza!), fat to slow the absorption of alcohol, B vitamins to restore those depleted from drinking and eggs which have helpful amino acids that flush the body of toxins and repair liver damage.
“I typically make these bowls with quinoa, whatever veggies I have on hand, tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), and egg, and top it with avocado.”
Juliet Burgh, vice president and nutrition director at Unite Fitness.
Favorite pre-drinking meal: Chicken with Brown Rice and Avocado
“I like Chicken with brown rice and avocado, because the chicken gives me lots of protein and B vitamins which help with digestion and immunity. The brown rice gives me a great source of complex carbs, which will fuel me throughout the night and the avocado has a good source of monounsaturated fat, which helps to keep me feeling full and stabilize my blood sugar.”
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