Nutrition-Bites-Making-Smart-Food-Choices-at-Festivals

Nutrition Bites: Making Smart Food Choices at Festivals

As the summer months approach, so do a wide variety of food and music festivals. The summer includes French Market Creole Tomato Festival, ESSENCE Festival, Satchmo SummerFest, and the list goes on and on. With so many delicious food and drink options to be found, it can be tough to make healthy choices. Below are some simple tips on how to enjoy the festivals throughout the season without packing on the extra pounds.

Keep portions small – Focusing on dishes that come in smaller portions will not only save calories, but allow for trying several different options, rather than filling up on just one.

Choose seafood options – Not only does seafood local to Louisiana happen to be some of the best in the country, it'll provide protein to help stay full, while providing heart healthy omega-3 fats and keeping calories lower. Just make sure to avoid fried options!

Purchase one thing at a time – Eyes can be bigger than the stomach! While it might be tempting to purchase all your food at once (those long lines!), buying and eating one item at a time will allow you to decide if you're really hungry now or if you want to wait until a little later. Festivals are all-day events, so spacing out meals will help make the fun continue for the whole day, rather than just a couple of hours.

Avoid dishes with that are fried, or come with heavy, creamy sauces – Not only are they high in calories and saturated fats, but heavy dishes on a hot day in the New Orleans summer can leave you feeling sluggish and tired. That's no fun when you're out at a festival!

Drink responsibly … for your waistline – Part of the fun of a festival is indulging in adult beverages, there's no doubt about that. While daiquiris may seem appealing in the hot sun, the sugar content will pack on the calories, and probably contribute to that sugar crash you'll feel a couple hours in. Try drinking lower calorie mixed drinks or beer to save on added sugars.

Don't forget to hydrate – For every alcoholic beverage you drink, have a glass of water. Alternating alcohol with water will keep you hydrated in the hot sun, and help you avoid too bad of a hangover in the morning.

Enjoy the rest that the festival has to offer – Regardless if the festival is food or drink based, every New Orleans festival has music! Hang out by the music stages to keep temptation at bay, while enjoying some of New Orleans' local musicians. Check out any art or merchandise tents too. Local artists typically have stands at festivals. Get some exercise perusing the art markets, and supporting local artisans.

By Kara Lubeck, MPH, Tulane Dietetic Intern
June 2017

(Photo from Bing.com Images. Nutrition Bites is a recurring feature that appears in the Tulane PRC’s e-newsletters and covers nutrition and health tips. If you have any suggestions for Nutrition Bites topics, please contact Naomi Englar at nking2@tulane.edu or 504-988-7410.)

Topics:   diet , nutrition , health communication

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