Love it or loathe it, wedding season is a shake-up to your routine. Though an overall healthy diet can include occasional indulgences, when you attend many weddings in the span of a few months, all the extra food and drink calories can really add up. Keep these 11 tips in mind to have fun while still treating yourself.
Before You Go
Do something active in the morning. Yes, a workout, walk, or fitness class burns calories. But even more important, it clears your mind, helping you feel calm, centered, and more in control of your choices later in the day. If you're traveling, bring sneakers, resistance bands, a swimsuit, or other workout equipment that's easy to pack. Download a few yoga podcasts or workout apps for hotel or guest room–friendly workouts. Or ask a concierge or pal to recommend nearby parks, running trails, gyms, yoga studios, or bike paths.
Don't skip meals. Trying to save up your calories will just leave you hangry and more likely to overdo it during the cocktail hour—not to mention you'll likely get drunk more quickly on an empty stomach.
Front-load your day with vegetables, lean protein, and water. If you would normally enjoy a Saturday treat, enjoy it at the wedding. You can also make room by skipping, say, bread with a salad, fries with a sandwich, or sugary road drinks and snacks in the days beforehand.
Pack a healthy snack. Show up to cocktail hour hungry, and you'll overdo it. Try protein-rich plain Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of ground flax, which adds filling fiber, and cinnamon to help promote stable blood sugar. You could also do a boiled egg or an ounce of cheese and some fruit. On the go? Pack a purse-friendly serving of nuts or dry-roasted edamame.
Pace yourself. Remember, you've got the whole night ahead of you. Decide ahead of time how much you want to drink. One drink per course (cocktail hour, dinner, champagne toast) is a good rule of thumb. But if that's just not realistic, limit yourself to one drink per hour, alternating alcohol with water.
Skip the bread and butter. Most of the time, it's nothing special. If you're drinking alcohol, consider that your carb for the meal.
Eat meat. Unless you're a vegetarian, skip the meat-free options (which tend to be carb-heavy and low in protein) in favor of meat, poultry, or fish—whichever one you'll feel the most satisfied with. Because sit-down meals are usually pre-plated, it may be difficult to request a meal with sauce on the side or no potatoes, but it's worth asking.
Choose wisely. There's no rule that says you have to have some of everything. Decide what you want to make room for. Stick to one plate, and fill it halfway with veggies, and the rest with protein—or a quarter with protein and that last quarter with a grain or starchy vegetable like potato, corn, or beans.
Practice portion control. Most weddings don't stop at cake: There are cupcakes, cookies, s'mores, you name it. Rather than grabbing a bunch of things, decide what you absolutely want to try. Look for mini desserts and pick just a few favorites. You can also share with a pal or your date. Fill your plate with fresh berries if they're available and grab some tea or coffee.
If you're hitting the afterparty, go slow on the booze and focus on rehydrating. If you're hungry, a combo of protein and complex carbs will help your blood sugar stabilize as you sober up. Just steer clear of greasy and super-sweet stuff. Aside from the fact that they won't do you any favors, these foods can wreak havoc on your digestion, especially if you've got some alcohol in your system.
When in Doubt...
Remember to have fun—and wear an outfit you feel confident in. Feeling great about yourself helps you stick to good intentions.