Everything you need to know to be your healthiest during wedding planning, and beyond!
When Borrowed & Blue—the gurus on planning locally inspired weddings—asked if I had an interest in sharing nutrition and health tips with Nashville brides, I said “I do!”. I’ve called Nashville home for close to seven years now so that officially makes me a Nashvillian, right? Oh, how this city has changed over the past few years from a sleepy little big town to one of the hippest, fastest growing American cities in 2015. Nashville has become a top destination for bachelorette parties and weddings thanks to our fun, laid-back atmosphere, free live music, incredible food scene, and one-of-a-kind downtown experience.
Wedding planning can be stressful so it’s important during this time to pay attention to your mental and physical health and wellness. But you can feel great even with all of the stress of planning by implementing the tips I shared with Borrowed & Blue. When your wedding day rolls around, you deserve to feel fabulous!The Key to #Wedding Wellness #nutrition @borrowednblue Click To Tweet
How can what you eat affect how you deal with stress?
What we eat can certainly affect how we handle stress so do your body a favor and feed it nourishing foods, especially during the stressful times. A lack of quality, complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes, and fruits, in the diet can lead to irritability and being irritable will only make things seem more stressful. Our bodies NEED these types of carbohydrates throughout the day for energy, a variety of vitamins and minerals, and normal brain function. Yay, carbs!
What are some general foods to avoid when dealing with the stress of planning a wedding?
Energy drinks, coffee, and caffeinated sodas can make stress worse because they increase our heart rate and can interfere with sleep. If you must have caffeine to start the day, stick to just one 8-ounce cup of coffee and forego the triple, Venti macchiato. Excess sugar, high-fat foods, and alcohol should also be limited to avoid crashing energy levels and feeling lethargic.
What are some foods to add into a couple’s diet?
Having a balanced diet of lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, vegetables, and fruits is important for everyone and can even help keep stress at bay. Stress-reducing foods include: fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, avocado, hot tea, almonds, oatmeal, and leafy green vegetables.
How often should couples aim to exercise on a weekly basis?
Working out as a couple is a great way to keep each other motivated! Regular exercise can also help reduce stress levels and improve your quality of sleep. Couples should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week. If you’re both already physically active and doing intense workouts, 20-60 minutes, three days a week is sufficient.
What are some of your favorite exercises that partners can do together?
Hiking, tennis, and walking are some of my favorites, but it’s important that each couple choose something they enjoy. If both people aren’t on board with the activity, then it may become a struggle between you. Find what works best for both of you and enjoy the time together. I know a couple who loves speed walking together and make time to do it most days of the week!
What’s your advice for brides and/or grooms when navigating all the food and drinks that come along with bridal showers, bachelorette parties, etc.?
Cake and cookies and cocktails, oh my! The abundance of indulgent foods and liquor can become overwhelming. Do yourself (and your loved ones) a favor by letting friends and family know early on in the planning that you would like healthier food and beverage options to make an appearance at showers and parties. Aim to balance both decadent delights and lighter, nutrient-rich foods that will satisfy, like a fresh fruit salad or this appetizer featuring lean beef tenderloin.
Have fun experimenting with reduced-calorie cocktails or even mocktails at events. Try a variation of this Spicy Sangria with seltzer water for something bubbly or this refreshing Watermelon Revitalizer for summer events.
Most importantly, remember that just because you might over-indulge at one party doesn’t mean you should beat yourself up about it for the next week. Start fresh at the next meal or snack and try to make healthy choices for most eating occasions throughout the week. Enjoy this celebratory time in your life!
What are some of your favorite healthy recipes that could serve as an alternative date night dinner instead of going out to a restaurant?
Cooking a meal together can be a lot of fun, not to mention easier on the wallet and the waistline. Enjoy a simple Italian dish like this Healthier Weeknight Bolognese or crispy, oven-baked Seared Salmon & Veggieful Lentils. In the mood for some greens? Try this Kale Salad with Tandoori Chickpeas.
When couples do eat out, what should they keep in mind when ordering their meals?
First and foremost, portion size is key and when dining out, portions often exceed what our bodies actually need at a meal. For meats, a portion size is about the size of your palm (3-4 ounces). Order the veggie sides like roasted or steamed vegetables, leafy greens, side salad, or baked potato (butter & sour cream on the side!), and limit grains such pasta to a one cup serving, which is about the size of a baseball.
Some other tips to keep in mind: ask for salad dressing to be served on the side, choose non-fried meats and sides, drink plenty of water before meals to help you feel more satisfied, and if you want dessert, share it with your sweetie!
Do you have any other advice for healthy living?
Healthy living encompasses more than what we eat and how often we exercise. Of course, both are important ingredients in the recipe for healthy living, but so are sleep, mental health, our physical environment, and our social environment. Each one of these elements can have an impact on the others, either positively or negatively. Surround yourself with people who are positive and supportive, choose foods that nourish your body, sprinkle in physical activity you enjoy, and most importantly be kind to yourself! Everything else will fall into place 🙂
Do you have any other advice for couples who are dealing with the stresses of planning their wedding?
When I’m feeling stressed, I first focus in on my breathing. It’s amazing how quickly you can calm yourself by taking a few deep breaths. Hitting the yoga mat for a good workout is another way I deal with stress. Being physically active requires focus and also releases endorphins that trigger a positive feeling, similar to that of morphine. Regular exercise will improve sleep, reduce anxiety and stress, and is also a great confidence booster.
There you have it! Thanks again to Borrowed & Blue for reaching out for this Q&A. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post! Happy wedding planning 🙂