How to Stay Healthy While Indulging at Festivals

Jazz Fest may have just ended, but there's still plenty of festivaling to look forward to this summer. With that comes lots of food and drink, which means your healthy lifestyle could take a hit.

Healthy festival options are available though if you look for them. If you were indeed at Jazz Fest, you might have enjoyed the low fat and non-deep fried spring rolls and cool vermicelli noodle bowls from Ba Mien Vietnamese Cuisine, owned by MYB Vice-President Thomas Nguyen's sister, Mai Nguyen. Or maybe you hunted down the Eat Fit NOLA approved vendors offering healthier food and drink options.  

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You can also get in an active festival experience by running first and indulging after – or during – at such events as the Pink Bra Run (brought to our attention by MYB Krewe member Jennifer Z) and Red Dress Run

For more, we reached out to MYB Krewe members on social media for their thoughts on staying healthy –  if that's even a priority – during festival season. Dietician Lisa Littrell also gave some practical advice for every level of fesitvalgoer.

Tips From the Krewe

Based on the feedback we received, sticking to a healthy diet isn't high on the MYB Krewe's list of things to do when enjoying New Orleans' many festivals. But there was a common theme:  hydration!

Here's what you said:

Kirk W: Enjoy!! Calories don't count on the weekend.

Noelle R: Sharing = ½ the calories!

Jules M: I say enjoy! Make up for it after with lots of water and clean eating.

Lauren Ja: Enjoy and hydrate!

Carey B: Water, lots of water! Plus sunscreen.

Teri4eternity: Stay hydrated!

Lauren Je: Get your workout in beforehand.

Tips From a Professional

Move Ya Brass member and registered dietician Lisa Littrell chimed in with her thoughts on balancing indulgence with health during festival season. And it isn't too far off from what the Krewe had to say. 

"If you are a one-hit wonder and don't plan on hitting up every festival," she offered, "the most important healthy factor to consider is staying hydrated since indulging in that one day will not make a major difference in your overall health goals."

However, if you are a marathon fester and, say, go at Jazz Fest hard all weekend, what you do during the week will become more important. "In the weeks before and after the festival," she explained, "you should be making an extra effort to consume foods that are low in calories and fat to make up for the excess amount consumed all weekend at the festival."

"Stay hydrated," she continued, "not just the day of the festival, but particularly in the days following the weekend festivities since your hydration will most likely be off balance from the excessive salt, sugar, and alcohol consumed over the weekend."

Now, if you're an ultra-marathon fester and plan to fest it up all summer long, she pointed out, "Your weekday habits will become even more crucial than if you are a marathon fester. In addition to making healthy choices during the week, look ahead at the food and beverages vendor schedules so that you can prioritize and spend your 'calorie dollars' wisely."

As for fitness, Littrell instructed, "Instead of putting your exercise goals on hold, make an extra effort to keeping getting your miles in during the middle of the week and in the mornings before the festivities."

"And most importantly," she concluded, "when festival season is over, get back to the grind. When there is a long season of indulgent eating we tend to pick up unhealthy habits that are meant to be temporary, but end up staying with us even after the season is over. "

What festivals and events are you attending this summer? Do you plan to stay on the healthier side of festival season? Tell us below!

- Lori Wilson

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lori wilson

Chicago, IL 60640, U.S.

After moving away from her hometown, just outside of Detroit, Lori has done her best to stay out of her former constantly-working-to-make-ends-meet rut. Having lived in Los Angeles, Chicago and Denver, Lori began her writing career covering soap operas. While she will always keep track of the latest returns from the dead on “General Hospital,” she now focuses her writing on fun ways to stay happy, fit and out of the house. Recent adventures have led to her love of indoor cycling, getting pampered at the spa and her new favorite city New Orleans. A Midwestern girl at heart, Lori is back in Chicago, where she continues her quest to top the thrill she felt her first time on the trapeze.