How to Eat Well at a Music Festival

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It’s festival season: you’ve got your summer dress and picnic blanket ready to go for days and nights filled with music, new friends, and lots of fun. Many people spend these hot summer days drinking lots of alcohol and indulging themselves on festival food, which can often be heavy and unhealthy. However, with a little planning, your festival days do not have to be your ‘cheat’ days; you can enjoy yourself without feeling guilty about the choices you made while you were having fun! These tips relate to any festivals or outdoor events you plan on attending this summer!

Before the Festival:

Pack some snacks! Whether you are only going for a day, or are camping for the full weekend, bring snacks to keep you fueled throughout the long, hot festival days. Make sure to grab dried fruit and nuts in bulk. These snacks will last for days and are great for energy. By mixing these, you can make your own trail mix. You can also pack granola bars and whole grain crackers. If you are camping, bring a cooler to fill with water, pressed juices, fruit, and vegetables. You may want to bring your own grill and some breakfast and dinner items to cook, but check the festival’s website first to see what each festival allows you to bring.

On the Way:

Get most of your nutrients during the day: fill up on a large nutritious breakfast. Throughout the festival day, your energy will be utilized (for dancing!) and your body will thank you for fueling up in the morning. Make sure to eat a big breakfast each morning for the duration of the festival. For convenience, you can make pre-prepared breakfasts like overnights oats or smoothies.

At the Festival:

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! This is so crucial, since lots of festivals take place in open fields and deserts, and dehydration is so common. Pack a large water bottle with you, bring more bottles along with you, and refill often! Music festivals often provide water-filling stations throughout the area. If you’re consuming alcohol, you will be increasing your risk for dehydration, so be sure to balance out alcohol drinks with water in between to prevent dehydration. Diluting an alcoholic beverage with water or seltzer is also a smart way to lower your alcohol intake.

As for food, enjoy the snacks you brought, and also scope out the festival food booths and trucks. Festivals are now offering more healthy options, so avoid the temptation-stands with fried foods, fries, and tacos and opt for the salads, falafel and hummus, veggie options, and smoothie stops instead. Choose grilled food over fried food when possible, and stay away from highly processed foods. If the healthy options are sparse at the festival, remember that it is okay to treat yourself in moderation.

These days will be packed with fun, so you will definitely need the energy from eating a healthfully balanced diet to get you through each day. In addition, eating well at festivals will reinforce the healthy habits you furrow at home ! Let loose, enjoy the food, good times, and sunshine!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the The 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of The Year by The New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a speaker, blogger, entrepreneur and innovator who is passionate about spreading the message of healthy eating for optimal health. To help restaurants improve upon menu choices and food preparation, Lisa recently founded Eat Well Restaurant Nutrition where she collaborates with chefs to get healthy meals on the table. She is the author of the “The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad,” (Nirvana Press 2014) and the widely-acclaimed “The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy,” (Nirvana Press 2012). In her private practice, with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Lisa specializes in weight managment, travel nutrition and diabetes for teens and adults. For more info, contact Lisa via email or visit here. Special thanks to Social Media Intern Anita Renwick for writing this blog.

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