Here’s how to proactively feed that hangover before it’s completely destroyed the next day
It was during my particularly bustling Chicago Summer™ pangs that I really began to think I had discovered the perfect post-bar snack to cure my insatiable drunken craving. Spicy chicken flavored ramen soup was much cheaper than ordering delivery, and I found that the high salt content, in addition to the fact that it was a soup, had some positive benefits on the whole dehydration aspect of consuming excessive amounts of alcohol.
But in hindsight, I can’t help but think this revelation had more to do with the fact that I mistakenly ordered a 125-pack of ramen from Amazon than any kind of superpowers spicy ramen had to help quell an evening spent drinking.
Turns out, however, I was eating spicy chicken soup instead of spicy chicken-flavored Ramen soup, my theory for late night snacks was very sound. “A meal that combines protein and carbs is perfect after a night of drinking,” says registered dietitian Sheena Jaramillo. “This will help you get a blend of vitamins, minerals, and fiber to keep your digestion running smoothly.”
Because alcohol acts as a diuretic, Jaramillo says, “It’s important to eat and stay hydrated, because eating helps maintain hydration balance.” Thus, eating foods that are “rich in nutrients, fiber and high in water will help provide important electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which will help prevent hangovers and stomach ache the next day.”
According to registered dietitian Johna Burdeos, another thing to consider is serving size. Basically, you want to stick to things that you can eat in a small plate but have a bit of substance – think foods that are ‘a bit lighter and are nutritionally superior with fiber, protein and healthy fats to keep you satisfied, but are small enough that you have to set yourself up and avoid feeling bloated. “.
With that in mind, Burdeos recommends popcorn and peanuts. “Popcorn is a whole grain, and whole grains reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Plus, popcorn is high in fiber and contains antioxidants.” So, as long as you don’t overdo it with salt and butter, popcorn is low Relatively high in calories, too.”
Meanwhile, peanuts are “loaded with nutrients—proteins, heart-healthy fats, vitamins and minerals as well as fiber and antioxidants,” he said. “As with popcorn, avoid those with a combination of added sugar and salt, and if you don’t mind blanched peanuts, putting the shell on them takes extra time to eat, so you can eat less overall.”
If peanuts and popcorn aren’t your thing, Bordeaux recommends tricking your brain into eating a bunch of vegetables by eating some “nutrient-rich dips like salsa, guacamole, Greek yogurt or tzatziki, and hummus.” “Take it with low-salt chips or crackers — or even better, dip-friendly vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, and peas,” he says.
Finally, if you’re craving something more substantial, certified sports nutritionist Alison Sizemore says she’ll often recommend her clients make a hot ham, egg, and cheese sandwich on wheat bread after a night out drinking. “The combination of protein, carbs, and fats will leave you feeling satisfied but won’t have a lot of extra calories,” she explains. “Not to mention that the preparation is simple enough even if you have just a few drinks.”
Even better, she adds, “it also won’t cause your insulin to spike the way a carb-only snack might,” which can leave you with a worse headache and feeling particularly lethargic.
So, once you’ve satiated yourself with, say, a couple of slices of watermelon, some high-protein yogurt, and a chicken sandwich topped with tomatoes, lettuce and onions, you can pass by with confidence knowing you’ve sort of helped your body after you spent the rest of the evening poisoning it.