Going to brunch is an extremely popular outing, and for good reason. It’s a great time to get together with friends over a meal that is often festive and filled with fun drinks and fancy foods.
However, if you’re someone who is quick to order a double stack of pancakes, brunch can get unhealthy fast. For those of us trying to eat healthy, it can be a challenge to stick to our good decisions during this particular meal of the day.
“Brunch gets unhealthy when it consists of excess refined carbohydrates and sugar,” says Daphne Olivier, LDN, RD, CDE. “Many brunch menus can also dub as dessert menus because of the amount of sugar, and that goes for foods and beverages.”
Luckily, you don’t have to skip out on brunch altogether if you’re trying to be healthy, as there are ways to still enjoy the meal while sticking to your clean eating.
If you’re a fan of brunch but don’t want to give up your healthy eating habits, try to stick to these seven ways to stay healthy when going out to brunch.
1. Eat A Little Something Before
“When people go to brunch, no matter how late, they often avoid eating prior,” says Anna Baker, Managing Director and Head Nutritionist at Nutrition Journey LLC. “Eating a light healthy meal prior, such as a green smoothie, fruit, or non-fat Greek yogurt, can assist in getting your metabolism fired up and prevent you from possible overeating due to increased hunger levels.”
2. Drink Plenty Of Water
Water is probably the last thing on your mind while brunching, but staying hydrated is important. Drinking before your meal can help you consume less calories later on, as it can help you feel full and prevent you from overeating.
3. Mind Your Alcohol
“Alcohol plays a major role in unhealthy brunch choices,” says Baker. “If avoiding alcohol is not in the cards, drink in moderation and choose low caloric options. Contrary to popular belief, a mimosa is not a smart choice — this drink is approx. 144 calories. A Bloody Mary, on the other hand, is 125 calories. ” More importantly, Baker notes that it has nearly a third of the carbs and half the sugar.
4. Take Your Time
“To properly enjoy brunch as it should be as a social gathering, take your time eating,” says Baker. “A common reason people over eat is [because they don’t give] their body sufficient time for the body’s feedback mechanisms to work. Slowing down how you eat can make the meal even more enjoyable, as well as assist in reducing calories consumed.”
5. Choose Savory Over Sweet
Stick to savory foods such as eggs, wraps, or salads, which can be spruced up with additions such as avocado, lemon, or hot sauce. “Sweet food alternatives, such as pancakes and waffles, are best to avoid due to the higher risk in blood glucose levels, which can be followed by a crash and negative symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and further hunger,” says Baker.
6. Choose Your Side Wisely
Instead of opting for the potatoes, choose a side salad or something with vegetables. Make sure these aren’t loaded with heavy oils or butter, and consider getting dressing on the side.
7. Avoid Additional Sweeteners
Between the pieces of toast, fancy drinks, and gourmet coffees, it’s easy to quickly load up on sugar without even realizing. “Avoid additional sweeteners, such as syrup and jelly,” says Olivier. Include berries, melons, or citrus fruits for a little sweetness.”