Foods to avoid the day before
Beans and legumes
I love chickpeas, lentils, black beans and the like. However, if they’re not prepped properly, the sugars in beans and legumes can’t be digested properly and this can result in gas and bloating. I stick to lean proteins like chicken, fish and turkey instead. PSA: if a few vinos are on the agenda, the amino acids in protein help your liver detoxify, which means a less severe hangover (well, ideally – there’s only so much lean chicken can do).
Avoid sodium-rich foods because too much sodium will have you retaining water, resulting in bloating. FYI, it’s easy to take in too much sodium – even if you don’t go near the salt shaker. Stacks of sodium is often hidden in processed foods branded “healthy”, so stick to whole foods.
If you’ve got more time…
If you’re reading this a few weeks out from your big event – cutting back on dairy and gluten can help, too. Not everyone is sensitive to dairy. However, it is a more common food allergen than many realise and even the slightest intolerance can leave you bloated. I find that reducing dairy a few weeks before an event keeps my skin clear, too.
I also completely eliminate gluten from my diet for a few weeks. By doing this, I find my energy levels go up and this eliminates any gas and bloating. Plus, cutting gluten can reduce inflammation – inflammation can lead to looking and feeling “puffy”.
Foods to eat the day before
The aim here is to eat plenty of nutrient-rich foods as a bit of damage control. In short: help your liver out here.
Leafy greens naturally detoxify the liver, blood and respiratory system and are high in vitamins A, C, E and K, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium. This is a great recipe for feeling energised – no champagne required (okay, champagne may still be required…).
Berries & lemons
In general foods full of antioxidants, phytochemicals and healthy fats are my choice. Fresh fruits and veggies are always an awesome go-to, as they're full of nutrients and have a high water content. Oranges, berries, cucumber, spinach and lemons are high in vitamin C – important for collagen production and healthy skin. Foods like salmon, sardines, walnuts and flaxseeds offer omega-3s and are anti-inflammatory.
Carrots & capsicum
Get in your bright yellow and orange veggies – capsicum, beetroot and carrot are my go-tos. They contain B vitamins, which are essential to support both the liver and the pancreas. If your beverage of choice for your event contains high amounts of sugar, which many do, your pancreas is going to be working hard producing insulin and your liver will be working overtime breaking down the alcohol.
Quick pre-party meal plan
This is what you can eat the day of or day before an event to make sure you feel your best:
Upon waking: Warm water with a squeeze of lemon.
Breakfast: Omelette with avocado, sautéed greens and mushrooms.
Lunch: Green smoothie with blueberries, coconut water, spinach, avocado, cucumber and a good quality protein powder.
Dinner: Grilled Salmon with mixed green salad.
2-3 litres of water
Snack: Activated nuts if necessary.
Shannon Young is a nutritionist at THR1VE, they offer fresh ready meals and meal plans.