Q: What foods should I eat to offset the effects of alcohol?
There are no magic foods that can offset the negative effects of alcohol on your metabolism. That being said, you can do some pre-prep to help yourself stay in control. If you know that you’re attending a social event in the evening, it’s important to hydrate well before you go. Try to meet your water goal earlier in the day to counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol.
Next, make sure to eat a meal rich in protein. One of the worst things you can do is to attend a social function on an empty stomach. You won’t save on calories—drinking a few cocktails on an empty stomach will reduce your ability to make healthy choices. Instead, eat a meal beforehand containing lean meats, low-fat dairy, nuts or legumes. By eating a balanced meal of protein and whole grains, the alcohol will process more slowly, which allows you to stay in better control of portions and food choices.
Q: I overdid it last night. How can I get back on plan?
It happens to many of us. Don’t beat yourself up! Rather than giving up or throwing in the towel, regroup and get back on your accountability plan as soon as possible.
When you overindulge, you probably don’t feel all that great afterward. When you eat or drink too much, it often has unintended consequences for the next day—namely, you may continue to make poor food choices and overeat. A better strategy in this situation would be to drink a lot of water and eat a broth-based soup. The water, along with the salt content in the soup, will help restore your body’s proper balance and prevent dehydration. Grabbing foods like fruit, veggies and whole grains, along with lean proteins, will help nourish you to feel better sooner.
You may also want to have some strategies at the ready, so your weight-loss efforts can stay strong in the face of temptation. Eating a light meal beforehand will help prevent you from overeating party foods. Alternating between a cocktail and water will help you stay in control of your evening and true to your weight-loss plan.
This information is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for personal medical attention, diagnosis or treatment. If you are concerned about your health, please consult your licensed healthcare professional.
Dena McDowell, MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian who works in the fields of cancer care and community education. Look for her videos about food and nutrition in the Members Area.