Carnival season, and especially Mardi Gras itself, is all about indulgence – eating, drinking, and partying to excess before the restrictive nature of Lent begins.
There’s not much about the Carnival season that naturally coincides with healthy living, but that doesn’t mean some slight adjustments can’t be for the better. Our Lady of the Lake offers these five tips to minimize the overall damage to your health goals, while still having fun.
1. Wash your hands, and keep washing them. The New Orleans area alone nearly doubles in size with visitors during the five days leading up to Mardi Gras, and the parades are not generally known for offering an abundance of personal space. Germs are everywhere, and 2018 is shaping up to be one of the worst years for flu cases that the nation has seen in a decade. No matter what city you are celebrating in this year, do what you can to minimize your chance of infection by washing your hands or using hand sanitizer often. Also, try to avoid close conversations and drinking after others.
2. Wear comfortable shoes, and get moving. Instead of being dropped off by a friend or a car service to your destination, explore ways that you can get there by bicycle or foot.
3. Plan your day in advance. Determine what time the parade you’re planning to attend is going to roll. If it’s in the morning, make dinner or lunch ahead of time so that you have a healthy option ready to go when you get home, even if you’re too tired to cook. If it’s in the afternoon or evening and you’re planning to celebrate into the night, plan a breakfast and/or lunch that is full of protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. A nutritious breakfast and lunch will help keep you energized and may even inspire you to make healthier decisions later that evening.
4. Keep a bottle of water at your side. Even when it’s cold outside, you can become dehydrated, especially if you’re also drinking alcohol. Bring a bottle of water with you to the parade route and try to drink at least eight ounces between each alcoholic drink.
5. Take time to take it easy. During a marathon weekend of parades and festivities, it’s easy to forget the importance of a good night’s rest. Plan ahead when you can, but also remember that it’s okay to miss one parade or to turn down an invitation. Remember, you can’t be the life of the party if you don’t take time to refuel.