It can be a struggle to put together the best meal in the dining hall before going out on a Saturday evening. No one wants to leave dinner feeling bloated and heavy, but you also need to satisfy your hunger so you can absorb any alcohol you might be drinking (and so you avoid late-night noshing). Here are some tips on navigating a pre-booze dinner.
Grilled chicken is the first thing you should look to when filling your plate. It’s a lean protein that contains little fat, keeps you full and can be paired with almost anything. Skip red meats like lamb or beef, which are higher in fat. Don’t add salt to your chicken, as it promotes water retention (in a bad way), which then leads to bloating.
It’s also important to eat complex carbohydrates if you’re planning to drink later in the night. They’ll keep you energized while helping to absorb alcohol. Add brown rice or a slice of whole wheat toast to satisfy this need. Stay away from any refined carbs like white rice, potatoes, and pasta, as these will only leave you hungry after the party.
Next head over to the salad bar. Seek out dark, leafy greens like spinach or kale, pile on lettuce, carrots and chickpeas, and add ripe tomatoes. These vegetables are low-fat, low-calorie, water-rich and a great source of fiber, which will keep you satisfied longer. Also make sure to add plenty of cucumbers. They’re full of water, and this will help you avoid that uncomfortable bloated feeling the next morning. Skip creamy dressings like Caesar and blue cheese, and drizzle olive oil over your salad instead. It’ll add flavor to your meal while boosting your immune system.
To finish off your meal, reach for citrus fruit like oranges or potassium-rich bananas instead of apples or pears. Oranges and bananas will satisfy your sweet tooth without creating gas.
Finally, drink water rather than anything carbonated, as you’ll need all the hydration you can get to combat the inevitable dehydrating effects of alcohol.