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The Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before a Night of Drinking

Posted by on September 29th, 2018

What to eat before drinking

There’s no question booze can do a number on your body, especially when you throw back a few too many (hello, awkward holiday happy hour!)—from bloating and brain fog to the all-out misery of a head-pounding hangover. But by taking a few precautions before the alcohol starts to flow, you can help minimize the damage, experts say. Here’s what to eat (and what to skip) to prep you body for a big night out.

Best: Protein and healthy fats

The food in your stomach when you start drinking affects how quickly that booze goes to your head. With more food in your stomach, alcohol is absorbed more slowly, and it takes longer to feel its effects, explains George F. Koob, PhD, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “When you drink on an empty stomach, you feel tipsy very fast, whereas you might not even notice if you consumed the same amount of alcohol with a meal,” he says.

While just about any food in your belly is helpful, Koob notes that some experts argue meals with protein and fat are even more effective at slowing alcohol absorption. For that reason, nutritionist Claudia T. Felty, PhD, RDN, recommends Buddha bowls: “They provide a healthy dose of plant protein, healthy fats, and hydrating veggies.” (Try our Salmon Noodle Bowl for a filling meal that fits the bill.)

Best: Fruits and veggies

Most Americans don’t eat enough produce, and that’s bad news for our health overall. But fruits and veggies might be especially important if you’re planning to indulge in adult beverages. That’s because these nutritious eats are a great way to stay hydrated: “Fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants and vitamins you need to stay healthy, while providing a large dose of water as well,” Felty points out. Cucumbers, celery, and watermelon are some of the most hydrating picks.


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