This past weekend we had a wedding up in Santa Barbara a few hours’ drive up the coast. It was not only a beautiful wedding but a beautiful little mini-trip to get away and get a change of environment for a minute.
It’s been a little while since I’ve attended a wedding, so I hadn’t really thought about how many details and how much work a wedding truly is. This one was really tastefully done, with pale pink roses mixed in with local California succulents for the table centerpieces…and the added thoughtfulness of a whole huge bin of flip flops for late night dancing! Pretty awesome touch, right?!
But. The. Food. Because of Bubs and all (and honestly just being disorganized and taking a super long family beach walk that morning), it got crazed at the end, and except for Glowing Green Smoothies® and a Power Protein Smoothie I packed for the next day, I didn’t bring any other food. Because we got there later in the afternoon on Saturday and the wedding started at 4:30 (read: we had to get ready in a huge rush and barely made it on time!), I was pretty hungry to begin with…and so, you can start to smell the impending food disaster on the horizon.
Of course (!), people should serve whatever food they want at their wedding. But we also have to do the best we can to take care of ourselves and feel our best and not starve to death through a long, active day with little to eat.
That’s sort of what happened to me. And I want to keep you from suffering the same fate. In short, there were white bread rolls on the table and the set menu was filet mignon for everyone across the board with mashed potatoes (apparently the groom’s favorite). A starting salad was topped with cheese. There was a tiny note on the bottom of the menu you could ask for a vegetarian option, which I did ask about and soon learned was ravioli stuffed with cheese.
How did I last until late at night without starving, and keep up enough energy to dance- full jumping/mosh pit style and all?! (Yeah that’s right, Mama’s still got it!). Read on. I have some tips to help you through as well.
I already admitted to you that I did NOT prepare myself ahead of time.
But if you have time/energy/an organized spirit to get some food together before your event- DO IT! If you are at home, this is of course easier. You can eat a light dinner of salad, soup, even a Gluten Free Avocado & Sprout Wrap or a bowl of Kitcheree before you head out. That way you can talk and pick at your food but not be completely starving.
If you are traveling, you could still try to get a lighter option along the aforementioned lines at your hotel beforehand, or some joint in the area (thank you smart phones!). Heck, getting a salad with black beans, salsa and guacamole from Chipotle would be a totally reasonable option!
Again try to leave yourself 30 minutes or so to devote to pre-event, healthy Beauty Detox food eating/foraging (do not follow my lead for this particular event and get stuck rubbing blush into my cheeks jogging down the hallway to the wedding without a mirror because I were running that late).
#2 Speak up! And be extra NICE.
When I found out the vegetarian option was laden with dairy, I politely asked the waiter if the kitchen wouldn’t mind making me a vegetarian plate. He was very obliging and agreed. But…
At restaurants in LA and beyond (and hopefully that “beyond” is getting more and more easy/common), chefs are used to accommodating “veggie plates.” I’ll usually say at an Italian restaurant, “Please make me a plate of whatever veggies you have. Mushrooms would be awesome, as well as spinach, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, whatever you have. It’s all veggies, so feel free to pile it on!” And sometimes (sometimes!) if restaurants have brown rice or quinoa they can throw some your way).
Most times, you’ll get a substantial veggie plate and will be satiated. It’s been my experience over the years.
But at this particular event, all I got were a few pieces of baked carrots and a radish cut in half. Hmm. Clearly NOT enough for me- hungry from going on a beach walk earlier and nursing the baby and having been dancing for a while and a while left to go at this shindig….but I also had a feeling that if I ordered 20 more of those same veggie plates at this particular place, I would still be hungry.
So I decided instead to…
#3 Get another salad.
The salad they brought me was pretty good and “safe” in that it was topped with a non-dairy vinaigrette, and some heartier artichokes.
The reality is that everyone around is focusing on their food and listening to speeches and into their little circles of chit chatting, so seeming “weird” for getting another salad is of zero concern. No one really cares. And I didn’t care at that point. And at least you will get some more precious fiber in your system.
But another salad was kinda like a bandaid, so also…
#4 Ask for nuts.
That’s right, nuts. I simply can’t survive on carrots and some salad. And as bad as it is, I won’t eat ravioli with cheese. I just know what that will do to my digestion (constipation), feeling bloated and like total crap for at least 1-2 days, and to be honest cheese is now (after a long transition period from where I was obsessed with it and ate it every day) pretty nasty to me.
So I thought to myself, Okay the veggie plate sucked. What is one thing this dining hall place will be guaranteed to have that is a little heartier?! Nuts!!!”
So I asked the waiter for any kind of nuts he could bring (remember the part about being extra nice?! And we tipped him well). He brought these salty, heavily roasted, sort of candied (?) cashews. Not my first choice, perhaps, but I ate the whole bowl of them. Survival mode, you see. It was not the best option, but it was certainly a good and perhaps the best option I could have gotten at the time to make me feel more full.
So if you are at an event and truly desperate, ask for some almonds or other nuts, and even if they are super salty and roasted or whatever, at least you won’t be stuck starving or have to succumb to eating a whole bunch of dairy or gluten-y bread or something that on the contingency, is worse.
#5 Best choices for late-night food.
I ate the sparse veggie plate. I ate more salad. I ate nuts. I danced a lot. And I made it back to the hotel room hungry. Real hungry. I raided the mini bar like an ancient Greek running messenger that hasn’t seen food in days. I didn’t want to wait for room service, that was for sure.
I ate the best possible options I could: a huge bag of pistachios, coconut water, and ½ of my Power Protein Smoothie that I was going to eat the next day (one of the few things I did bring!).
If you are really hungry after a long event, try to do your best. Some better beverage options (like coconut water, which is on the sweet side) can be surprisingly satisfying and may help you eat less. Some snacks that take a while to open and chew (like pistachios) are also helpful. And of course, if you haven’t eaten in a while and see a bunch of bananas lying around, that would be a great option.
You do want to avoid options like late night pizza (gluten, dairy, bad food combining!). So do your best, and if there are decent snacks in the mini bar it means you can eat, and then still take a shower and get ready for bed with a little digestion time built in- versus having to stay up super late for room service.
If you are home, again, an avocado wrap is probably what I would have made at home, or an emergency frozen veggie burger.
See what your body feels like, remember this out of whack situation too will pass, and vow to get back on track tomorrow.
Again, much of this would have been avoided with a little planning and pre-dinner, but hey, no one’s perfect and most of us don’t really have the time and organization to always plan ahead. ☺ Hope this inspires you with new ideas for your next wedding/sit-down event.
Hope you have a great day!
Sending you all the best and lots of love.