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The 15 Best Foods to Eat Before Drinking Alcohol

Health + Wellness
Hinterhaus Productions / DigitalVision / Getty Images

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

What you eat before drinking alcohol can have a huge impact on how you feel at the end of the night — and the next morning.


In fact, picking the right foods before you indulge in an alcoholic beverage or two can help control hunger, balance electrolytes, and decrease some of the adverse effects associated with alcohol.

Conversely, selecting other foods can end up causing bloating, dehydration, heartburn, and indigestion.

Here are the 15 best foods to eat before drinking.

1. Eggs

Eggs are highly nutritious and filling, packing 7 grams of protein per one 56-gram egg (1).

Snacking on protein-rich foods like eggs before drinking alcohol can help slow the emptying of your stomach and delay alcohol absorption (2 Trusted Source, 3 Trusted Source).

Plus, protein is the most filling macronutrient, keeping you feeling fuller for longer, which can reduce your risk of alcohol-induced food binges later in the night (4 Trusted Source).

Since alcohol lowers inhibitions and has been shown to enhance appetite, choosing a filling meal before a night of drinking may be a smart way to minimize cravings later on (5 Trusted Source).

You can enjoy eggs in many ways. Prepare them scrambled, hard-boiled, or mixed with your choice of veggies for a nutritious, fiber-filled omelet.

2. Oats

Oats double as a great source of fiber and protein, both of which support feelings of fullness and ease the effects of alcohol (3 Trusted Source, 6).

In fact, a single 1-cup (81-gram) serving of oats supplies nearly 10 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber, plus plenty of iron, vitamin B6, and calcium (6).

In addition to its stellar nutritional value, several human and animal studies have found that oatscan benefit liver health by protecting against alcohol-induced liver damage and improving liver function (7 Trusted Source, 8 Trusted Source, 9 Trusted Source).

Besides oatmeal, oats work well in baked goods, granola bars, and smoothies. They can even be blended and used as a base for pizza crusts, veggie patties, or flatbreads, which are perfect choices for pre-drinking snacks.

3. Bananas

Packing in 4 grams of fiber per large fruit, bananas are an excellent, portable snack to have on hand before drinking to help slow alcohol absorption into your bloodstream (10).

Plus, they're high in potassium, which may prevent electrolyte imbalances associated with drinking alcohol (10).

Because they're made up of nearly 75% water, bananas can also help keep you hydrated (10).

Bananas are a healthy, convenient snack all on their own but can also be topped with peanut butter or added to smoothies, fruit salads, oatmeal, or yogurt for a power-packed treat.

4. Salmon

Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fatty acids associated with a multitude of health benefits (11 Trusted Source).

Some animal research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids could help reduce some of the harmful effects of alcohol, including inflammation in the brain caused by binge drinking (12 Trusted Source).

Salmon is also high in protein, supplying a whopping 22 grams in each 4-ounce (113-gram) serving, which may help slow the absorption of alcohol (13).

One of the simplest ways to prepare salmon is by roasting it. Place salmon in a baking dish with the skin down and season with salt, pepper, and your choice of spices.

Simply bake at 400°F (200°C) for around 10–15 minutes, then pair with your choice of vegetables and enjoy as a healthy meal.

5. Greek yogurt

Offering the perfect balance of protein, fat, and carbs, unsweetened Greek yogurt is one of the best foods you can eat before a night of drinking (14).

Protein is especially key, as it's digested slowly and can minimize the effects of alcohol on your body by slowing its absorption (2 Trusted Source).

It can also help keep you full all night long to prevent hunger and cravings fueled by alcohol (15 Trusted Source, 16 Trusted Source).

Try topping unsweetened Greek yogurt with fruit, nuts, and seeds for an easy, filling, and delicious snack before your night on the town.

6. Chia Pudding


Chia seeds are a great source of fiber and protein, as well as important micronutrients like manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium (17).

In particular, fiber can help delay the emptying of your stomach and slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream (3 Trusted Source, 18 Trusted Source).

Plus, chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, such as rosmarinic acid, gallic acid, and caffeic acid, all of which work to prevent cell damage and protect your liver (19 Trusted Source, 20 Trusted Source).

Chia pudding is easy to make. Simply mix 3 tablespoons (42 grams) of chia seeds with 1 cup (237 ml) of dairy or nondairy milk alongside your choice of fruits, nuts, spices, and natural sweeteners.

You can find chia seeds in stores and online.

7. Berries

Berries like strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries are loaded with essential nutrients, including fiber, manganese, and vitamins C and K (21 Trusted Source).

They're also rich in water, helping you stay hydrated, which minimizes the effects of alcohol and prevents dehydration (22 Trusted Source).

What's more, eating antioxidant-rich foods like berries may protect your cells against alcohol-induced damage.

One animal study found that blueberries were effective at increasing levels of several antioxidants in the liver, which could help protect against oxidative stress caused by alcohol consumption (23 Trusted Source).

Another study in 12 people noted that consuming 17.5 ounces (500 grams) of strawberries daily improved antioxidant status within 16 days (24 Trusted Source).

Pair berries with a handful of almonds for a more substantial, pre-drinking snack, or try adding them to smoothies, fruit salads, and yogurt parfaits.

8. Asparagus

In addition to supplying an assortment of important vitamins and minerals, asparagus has also been well studied for its ability to promote liver health.

In fact, one study found that asparagus extract improved several markers of liver function and increased antioxidant status in mice with liver damage (25 Trusted Source).

What's more, test-tube studies indicate that asparagus is a great source of antioxidants like ferulic acid, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, and isorhamnetin, which prevent cell damage caused by excess alcohol consumption (26 Trusted Source, 27 Trusted Source).

For an easy side dish, drizzle asparagus with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake at 425°F (220°C) for 10–15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

9. Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a flavorful citrus fruit that delivers a hearty dose of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A in each serving (28).

It also contains naringenin and naringin, two antioxidant compounds that have been shown to prevent liver damage and help optimize liver health in test-tube studies (29 Trusted Source).

Plus, a six-week rat study found that drinking grapefruit juice increased levels of several enzymes involved in liver function and detoxification (30 Trusted Source).

Try cutting grapefruit into wedges and sprinkling the fruit with a bit of salt or sugar to help balance the tangy, tart flavor.

However, keep in mind that grapefruit may interact with certain medications, so be sure to speak with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

10. Melon

Melons are very rich in water and can help keep you hydrated while drinking.

For example, watermelon is made up of approximately 92% water, while cantaloupe is comprised of about 90% (31 Trusted Source, 32).

These fruits are also rich in important electrolytes, such as potassium, which can quickly become depleted with excess alcohol consumption (31 Trusted Source, 32, 33 Trusted Source).

Honeydew, watermelon, and cantaloupe all make refreshing, hydrating snacks that can be cut into wedges or cubes.

11. Avocado

Rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, avocados are one of the best foods you can eat before drinking alcohol.

That's because fat takes much longer to digest than protein or carbs, which can help slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream (3 Trusted Source, 34 Trusted Source).

Plus, avocados are high in potassium to help balance electrolytes, with just half an avocado providing 7% of your daily potassium needs (35).

Best of all, this fruit is as versatile as it is delicious. Try spreading it over toast, using it to top salads, or sprinkling wedges with a bit of salt for a tasty snack.

12. Quinoa

Quinoa is a whole grain high in protein, fiber, and a number of essential micronutrients (36).

It's particularly high in magnesium and potassium, two minerals that can help minimize electrolyte imbalances caused by drinking alcohol (36).

It's also a great source of antioxidants like quercetin, ferulic acid, catechin, and kaempferol, which can protect against the buildup of harmful molecules known as free radicals caused by excessive alcohol consumption (37 Trusted Source).

Quinoa can easily be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, or salads. You can also add it to homemade granola bars, energy bites, or muffins for a delicious and healthy pre-drinking snack.

You can buy quinoa locally or online.

13. Beets

Beets stand out as a superstar ingredient, due both to their vibrant color and impressive antioxidant content.

One animal study showed that beetroot juice exhibited a protective effect on liver cells, decreasing induced cell damage by 38% (38 Trusted Source).

Additional research found that giving beetroot juice to rats increased levels of several enzymes involved in detoxification and liver function (39 Trusted Source).

Beets can be boiled, pickled, broiled, or roasted and used to make dips, soups, salsas, or slaws.

14. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are not only a great source of potassium to help balance electrolyte levels when drinking alcohol but also high in complex carbs (40).

Complex carbs are composed of larger molecules that take longer to break down, which can be beneficial for reducing the effects of alcohol on your body (41 Trusted Source).

According to a study in 10 people, eating boiled sweet potatoes minimized spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, which could potentially reduce hunger and prevent overeating caused by drinking (16 Trusted Source, 42 Trusted Source).

Try whipping up a batch of sweet potato fries for an easy snack or side dish before going out. Simply cut sweet potatoes into wedges, toss with olive oil and spices, and bake 20–25 minutes at 425°F (220°C).

15. Trail Mix

Homemade trail mix is a great option for a healthy, hearty snack before you start drinking.

Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin and flax seeds are all high in fiber and protein, which may help slow the emptying of your stomach to lessen the effects of alcohol (43 Trusted Source, 44 Trusted Source).

Plus, they're great sources of magnesium, potassium, and calcium, all of which can help prevent electrolyte disturbances caused by drinking (45).

Trail mix is easy to make using ingredients like nuts and seeds along with mix-ins, such as rolled oats, coconut flakes, and dried fruit.

If you want to opt for store-bought trail mixes, look for varieties without added sugars, salt, or artificial ingredients. You can find some healthy options locally or online.

Foods to Avoid Before Drinking Alcohol

Being mindful of what foods to avoid before drinking alcohol is just as important as selecting nutritious foods to eat before a night out.

In some cases, alcohol can trigger symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition characterized by heartburn, nausea, and belching (46 Trusted Source).

If you have GERD or are prone to indigestion, you may want to also avoid other triggers prior to drinking, such as spicy foods, chocolate, carbonated beverages, and caffeine (46 Trusted Source).

What's more, salty foods like potato chips, pretzels, and crackers may cause bloating and fluid buildup, especially when paired with alcohol (47 Trusted Source, 48 Trusted Source).

Finally, be sure to skip the refined carbs and sugary foods and drinks, such as white bread, pasta, sweets, and sodas.

These foods and beverages are not only digested more rapidly but can also cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate, increasing your risk of overeating later in the night (49 Trusted Source).

Additionally, be sure to stay hydrated by sipping on plain water throughout the night to reduce the chances of hangover symptoms in the morning (50 Trusted Source).

Summary

Before drinking alcohol, you may want to avoid salty foods, refined carbs, and foods that trigger GERD.

The Bottom Line

Picking the right foods prior to drinking alcohol is incredibly important.

Certain foods can trigger indigestion, bloating, and heartburn while also upping your risk of increased cravings and hunger.

Meanwhile, other foods may not only ease some of the negative effects of alcohol but can also affect how you feel the next morning while protecting your long-term health.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.

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