It’s no secret that here in Louisiana we are in known for our food, festivals and love for our families. This weekend in particular kicks things into serious festival mode with Festival International happening in Downtown Lafayette and New Orleans Jazz Fest, not to mention the abundance of other festivals happening around the state.
It’s not unusual for people to roll their eyes at the idea of eating healthy at festivals. And nutritionally speaking, a day or two of indulging in decadent festival food won’t make or break things. However, if you are a mama who needs to ensure she has the energy to keep up with your busy children and other demands of motherhood … what you eat matters.
From both professional and personal experience, I know what we eat matters … and it matters for more than just our waistline.
What we eat directly impacts the way we feel and the amount of energy we have and if you’re anything like me, then you feeling good and having the energy to give your family, home, work and beyond are important to you.
Which brings us back to the topic on hand – how can we eat well while still enjoying the culture of Louisiana which includes food, festivals and more.
This month I am sharing a few tips to inspire a healthier festival experience, helping to empower and energize you to look and feel your best – not at festivals, but in life!
Healthy Food Finds at Festival International:
While I don’t have the nutrition breakdown of the items being served this year nor was I able to dive into any of these menus, I did look over what is being offered by some of the vendors this year and discovered what appear on the surface to be healthy.
- Poor Boy’s Riverside Inn – Grilled Alligator Bites – hold the fries and Grilled Fish Taco
- Blu Basil Wine and Grill – Vietnamese Beef Kabob
- Gulf Tacos – Gulf Taco, Shrimp Taco, Street Corn, Veggie Taco
- Poke Geaux – As an Eat Fit partner, Poke Geaux offers a variety of healthy options – at the festival, ask for no rice (or sub brown rice) and go light on the sauce
- The Creole Caveman – Appear to have a few better for you options including Grilled Chicken Kabob, Black Eyed Peas & Rice and the Creole White Beans & Shrimp
- Zeus – Hummus and Veggies or Chicken Schwarma on a whole wheat wrap
Tips for Healthier Festivaling:
- Hydrate – Bring a refillable water bottle and drink up, and fill up on water! Other low-calorie hydrating options include sparkling water, fruit infused water or herbal iced teas.
- Eat More Plants – When it comes to what to eat, think “how can I eat more plants” – from salads to beans to fresh fruit, where can you incorporate more of these into your diet? Think Southern-style plant-based eating. Beans or peas, okra, and collard greens is a plate full of fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals, all for less than 400 calories.
- Share the Splurge – When it comes to the more indulgent items, find a friend (or a few) to share with! This is a case where less is usually more, and usually, a few bites help to satisfy that craving
- Pack Some Snacks – A day at the festival usually means a long day and a little advanced planning can ensure you have the right fuel to keep you energized and keep you satisfied. A few non-perishable ideas include nuts, trail mix, and protein bars.
If you are headed out to The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, check out the Eat Fit Hidden Menu. Here’s how it works: ask specific vendors for dishes to be prepared “Eat Fit” style and they’ll serve up a plate with no white carbs, centered on lean proteins, vegetables, and plant-based fats, essentially dishing up the best parts, nutritionally speaking, of their quintessential Jazz Fest fare.
With a little bit of pre-planning, it’s possible to savor every bit of festival season, while still feeling good and staying with on track with your wellness goals!