Making Healthy Festival Food Choices
Does jumping around, slushing through dirt, moshing with strangers, waiting in the cold for your favorite performer, camping in the heat, losing cell service, using facilities dug into the ground, or poorly cleaned porta-potties sound familiar?
While music festivals host a range of activities and festivities for their guests, you could run into difficulty during your stay if you don’t nourish or hydrate properly.
With a slew of tasty food vendors and snack options at a music festival, here’s a list of the top ten foods to eat during the musical weekend and five to stay away from.
What to Eat
You know the feeling when your favorite EDM artist is about to hit the stage? The lights dim, the crowd unleashes all their pent-up energy, and you unleash a demonic scream to welcome the artist.
The set has everything: pyrotechnics, fireworks, ground-rattling bass beats. Well, if you don’t stay conscious during the set, how can you enjoy it? So what should you eat for prolonged energy and fuel to power through the show? Acai bowls are an option to supplement you with energy for a festival. Most music festivals have acai vendors, too.
The superfood has a low-sugar count and is rich in antioxidants, supplying you with the needed energy to survive a music festival. Acai can also cool your body down and make you feel full longer, which works to your benefit if you plan to see back-to-back sets.
The slow-burning oats provide your body with the energy needed to have a successful day at the festival. Oatmeal might not be the most appealing item on the festival vendor menu, but one serving of oatmeal will give you enough fuel to dance in the same spot for hours. You won’t feel faint but nourished, and your body will thank you.
To enhance your oatmeal, add energy with bananas or sweeten it with some antioxidant-rich berries like blackberries or strawberries.
Speaking about the potassium-rich fruit, you can eat bananas with a meal or as a snack during a festival. The potassium levels in bananas keep you hydrated for a long time, which is perfect when you hold a totem or dance to your favorite dubstep artist during those four-hour midnight sets.
This item is a popular one for many reasons. It’s trendy, light, and gives your body essential nutrients to power through a festival.
Remember, you will be doing a lot of walking, and dancing, so you need to be hydrated. Avocado toast with multigrain or wheat bread or dishes with avocado help hydrate your body for extended amounts of time.
It is no secret that most festivals are strangers to air conditioning and fans. So bulk up with these water-rich fruits to guarantee your body stays hydrated.
Chicken, Rice, and Veggies
A plate of grilled chicken, brown rice, and steamed veggies is a staple for most people who work out.
The lean meat releases its energy into your bloodstream over time, dispensing you with nutrients on a schedule. Since you don’t receive the benefits all at once, your body can endure physical activity for longer. Complementing the chicken with whole grain rice helps you stay full and energized. Steamed veggies are full of fiber, keeping your blood sugar healthy and you safe during those intense, sweaty sets.
Don’t eat meat? Many vendors have vegan or vegetarian options.
Spreads such as peanut butter or nut butter have enough protein to give you energy and are tasty. Stick to natural butters without added sugars or preservatives. You can even add some to those bananas mentioned earlier.
Soon after eating yogurt, your body digests the carbs and sends them to your muscles. The protein levels give you added strength to power through the festival.
Pick plain greek yogurt, stray away from those with additives or artificial flavors, and add antioxidant-rich fruits or water-rich fruits for flavor.
Although it is not food, water is essential to keep you on your feet and present at a festival. Most festivals have free hydration stations throughout the grounds. Make sure to bring a hydration pack and fill up before and after each set.
Festivals are hot, with swarms of sweaty people. Avoid falling ill in the heat by staying hydrated.
Many festival-goers, campers, and exercises invest in a trail mix. Search for one with a high distribution of protein (nuts/ peanut butter), a blend of raisins or craisins (energy bites), and a small dose of chocolate.
You can also make your own trail mix. Add dried fruit and nuts for a combo rich in antioxidants and protein.
Gatorade and Powerade are high in salt and sugar, which can dehydrate more than rehydrate. However, other electrolyte replacers like liquid IV or Pedialyte give you the same benefit without the added salt or sugar. Coconut water is also heavy in electrolytes.
Drink electrolyte drinks before a festival day, during a set, and after to replenish your body.
What to Avoid
Before singing your lungs out or moshing around in a sweat-drenched pit, you will want to eat something to sustain yourself.
Stay away from fried foods. They might look good, and the greasy smell might appease you, but fried foods zap energy and cause you to feel fatigued quicker. Fried foods also can make you bloat and have an upset stomach during the festival.
If you really want to try out the fried food vendors, wait until the festival day is over to buy a burger.
Avoid drinks rich in sugar, ones with added preservatives, or heavily carbonated beverages. The additives in soda make it easier to crash, and the extra sugar compounds make it easier to tire or get sick. In addition, consuming soda during periods of excess activity or heat can cause stomach aches.
Also, avoid caffeine which can cause you to crash soon after consumption.
While a platter of cheese and creamy alfredo sounds delicious, dairy products have high-fat content that slows you down and tires you out. Plus, the fat can lead to stomach aches.
Pastries are decadent and delicious but consume them appropriately. If you eat a giant slice of chocolate cake before a two-hour mosh pit, you will probably cramp, bloat, and want to leave. The added sugars and fats make it difficult for your body to digest, and the energy supplied by these foods doesn’t have any benefits for a festival.
Spicy food is not inherently bad for you. In fact, it aids digestion, boosts metabolism, curbs appetite, and reduces the risk of cancer, but eating spicy food before a music festival is not the wisest decision.
Due to the levels of spice, hotter foods need more time to digest, and when they don’t have enough time to break down, you can experience heartburn or acid reflux. Stick to lighter spiced cuisine during your festival outings.
You don’t have to skip out on your favorite music festival food vendors, but you should plan your meals to ensure you make the most of your festival. Save the pastries, spicy foods, and fried foods for the nighttime or post-set snacking and indulge in antioxidant, protein-rich, and water-based fruits before sets.