I’d argue that one of le best things about drinking alcohol is all of the food that typically comes after gaining a buzz. Think: pepperoni pizza, double cheeseburgers with Extra Sauce, and a Jimmy John's sandwich.
Truly, food just hits differently when you’re inebriated from wine—science even says so. According to a study published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, alcohol stimulates the appetite in a way that makes you crave high-fat, salty foods, which makes perfect sense.
But what’s not so fun: Waking up after a night of raging with a dry-ass cottonmouth, a rumbly, nauseous belly, the DADS (the day-after-drinking shits), and a raging headache. Yup, been there.
If you want to prevent this terrible morning after boozing feeling (or at least combat it a lil bit), you don’t have to completely halt the drunk munchies. There are some nutritious eats you can totally treat yourself to that won’t make you feel horrendous in the morning while also hitting that “I’m-drunk-need-food” sweet spot.
For your drunk eating pleasure, I bring you the foods and snacks that registered dietitians recommend. But, FWIW, if you want the hot dog, just eat the hot dog.
Fruit, water, lean protein, and starchy veggies
Definitely over-do it on the H2O front, says Cara Harbstreet, RD, founder of Street Smart Nutrition. No, water is not a food gr0up, but I just needed you to hear this.
From there, try to incorporate as many fruits and veggies into your drunk eating snacks as possible, suggests Harbstreet. Another solid place to start: lean protein and starchy veggies, says Gabrielle Tafur, RD. That means a baked potato could be kind of amazing in this sitch as well as any cauliflower-based snack. (Cauliflower gnocchi, you hear that?!)
Healthy-ish take-out options
Obviously, eating an apple while your friends order late-night fries while you're out is very much depressing. In those cases, scan the menu for options like these, says Tafur.
Chipotle burrito bowl with lots of peppers, beans, onions, tomatoes, corn, and salsa.
Burger with half of a bun (skip the fries).
Slice of pizza with cheese and vegetable toppings.
Baked chicken wings with sauce on the side (If you can, save the ranch for a time you'll remember eating it).
Grilled chicken gyro with tzatziki on the side.
Caesar salad with grilled chicken or shrimp.
Basic DIY meals
Cooking three margs deep? El oh el. In those cases where handling sharp objects is not advised, consider these simple meals, says Harbstreet.
PB and J on an English muffin, bread, or wrap.
Cheeseboard snack plate: deli meats, cheeses, raw veggies, dips, dried or fresh fruit, and crackers or pita chips. Prep it before you leave for the best welcome home ever.
Bowl of cereal with milk. “This is often fortified with essential vitamins and minerals,” says Harbstreet.
Fruit smoothie. You can make this ahead of time too.
Healthy-ish packaged snacks
If you're not ready for a full-on meal, try these super easy snacks, says Bansari Archarya, RD.
A banana and peanut butter
Raspberries with melted dark chocolate
Apples and peanut butter with mini chocolate chips
Homemade trail mix
Veggie Chips (anyone else cheering on the inside rn?)
Dehydrated vegetables or fruit leather
Baked Chips with Salsa
Oatmeal raisin or dark chocolate cookies
What happens if you eat...not these things?
This is literally NBD. Sipping milkshakes and chicken nuggets with your friends is all a part of life, bb. Just remember, “Regardless of what took place last night, your body still deserves to be nourished and cared for today,” advises Harbstreet. “While it’s tempting to restrict or try to compensate for the food and drinks you had the night before, this is likely to kick off a cycle of restrictive thoughts and behaviors,” she adds.
“Though it may feel uncomfortable, the best thing you can do is focus on your actions in the here and now, providing your body with the nutrition (energy) and hydration needed to start feeling physically better,” says Harbstreet.
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