So, you’re off to the big beer fest or heading out with friends for a night on the town. You’re not in college anymore: knocking back a dozen light beers, 3 tequila shots, 4 slices of midnight pizza – and then expecting to recover quickly the next day … it’s just not gonna happen. We’ve grown slightly older and have hopefully learned from some of those past benders (some of us needed more ‘lessons’ than others.) Now we know that it’s important to pre-game if we’re going to imbibe later in the day. There is a delicate balance in play here: don’t eat enough or have the wrong foods, and we could be face down in the dumpster two-hours into the festival. Eat too much, and we feel like we’re waddling into the event and too packed full to consider anything other than Pepto-Bismol. Here’s a quick crash course on foods to include, foods to avoid, and portion sizes … all designed to maximize the fun of the day.

BabyGotBeer is off to cover the 2019 Roswell Beer Festival on Saturday. There are nearly 500 beers there. No, we won’t try them all, but we need to plan the morning and afternoon properly so that we can fully take advantage.

What to Eat

The key here is to put enough of the right type of food into your system so that you don’t feel gross and jacked full, but also to have food that is digested more slowly. If you knock back a plate of something greasy, it’ll disappear too quickly, and you’ve defeated the purpose. Here are some foods you should consider incorporating into the pre-game meal:

  • Healthy fats/ proteins. These take a long time to digest will slow the process of alcohol absorption. Think avocado, salmon, grilled chicken etc.
  • Something high in potassium. You lose potassium when you pee, so things like baked potatoes and milk are a good way to counterbalance that loss. I wonder if a milk stout has the same effect?
  • Fruits and veggies. They’re loaded with water, so it’s a good way to start the hydration process before you even start.
  • Water. Duh … early and often.
  • Pasta. We all know about carb-loading. Pasta is a good way to go. Maintains your glycogen levels and keeps you full longer.
  • Cereal. Yes – knock back some Honey Nut Cheerios. High in fiber, it digests slowly and provides a nice pause button on alcohol into the bloodstream.
  • Eggs. they carry the protein mentioned before but also contain amino acids that help to break down the alcohol faster.


Portion Sizes

Take it easy. If you have a massive plate of pasta with a 12-ounce piece of salmon on top, yes you followed the rules above quite nicely. But now you’re so full that the thought of a sip of stout makes you think you’re either Violet the Blueberry in Willy Wonka or that huge, fat guy in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. You’re going to explode! So, let’s throttle back on portion sizes here. Again, we’re looking for a healthy balance of the right foods and the right portion sizes. Protein … size of your fist. NO MORE THAN THAT. You’re not at a Brazilian steak house … no meat sweats today. Just enough to have a nice fill.

And if you need snacks during the day, nuts, olives … small & light snacks are the only way to go!


What to Avoid

  • Sugar. Alcohol is sugar. Adding more sugary components will really mess with blood sugar levels.
  • Fried foods. Good fats good. Bad fats bad. Your stomach has enough issue digesting fast food. And they usually are loaded with salt, which leads to massive dehydration.
  • Side Salad. There’s just no substance to it. It won’t slow down alcohol absorption at all, and it isn’t substantial enough to do any good. But it sure is healthy!
  • Tomatoes/ spicy foods. You’re already attacking your stomach – don’t make it worse with acidic foods that will only worsen that assault.
  • Caffeine. Caffeine jacks you up and can make you think that you can handle more when you really can’t. Add an alcohol crash onto a caffeine crash … you’re done.
  • Salt. It can make you feel bloated, which sucks enough. But psychologically, it also makes you less likely to drink the water you need. Dehydration is the enemy.

Plan ahead, boys and girls, you (and pretty much everyone you encounter later that day) will thank you.

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March 21, 2019
Mike Pennington

Author: Mike Pennington

Mike Pennington, normal, 40-ish, father of three, living the suburban dream north of Atlanta.  

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