The experts weigh in on what’s best, what you should avoid, and how food can help you get over those pre-wedding jitters.
Getting engaged is wonderful, beautiful and meaningful. Planning a wedding, however, is stressful, frustrating and sometimes the reason couples don’t even get married. There are many decisions to make and things to see to – do you invite your mom’s cousin who last spoke to you when you were 15, or do you get a bigger cake?
There are so many things to plan that you’ll often forget the less important details, like songs you definitely don’t want your DJ to play (no one wants to be reminded of their high school boyfriend when Iris starts playing), or what you’ll eat the day of your wedding. You may be a bundle of nerves or be very busy, but it’s important to sit down and eat something on the day of your wedding.
Catherine Day, registered dietician and author of Food For Sensitive Tummies, says it’s important to eat on your big day so you can keep your sugar levels up. It’ll also help soak up any alcohol if you’re going to be drinking champagne as you get ready. “Focus on eating smaller but more frequent meals in the day leading up to the reception. Eating smaller amounts will control cravings and hunger, and won’t leave you bloated or uncomfortable,” she says.
Sandi Van Zyl, a qualified dietician with a private practice in Cape Town, agrees and also suggests drinking your meals instead of eating them. “As the day progresses, you’re likely to get busier and busier and so breakfast is the perfect opportunity to get in some much-needed calories. In this instance, something like a smoothie or some fresh fruit and yoghurt might be the answer. Drinking your calories is always easier than eating them when your appetite isn’t great,” says Sandi.
“Eating some protein and healthy fat with your breakfast will also help to keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the morning,” suggests Emily Innes, a registered dietician and member of the Health Professionals Council of South Africa.
There are certain things you should avoid on the big day though, just so that you’re not re-enacting that scene from Bridesmaids. “If you know that there are any foods that particularly make you feel bloated and uncomfortable, then avoid those foods,” advises Emily.
Don’t drink lots of caffeinated beverages and avoid energy drinks, as they could make you feel jittery or bloated. Avoid drinking energy drinks or too much tea or coffee to ‘keep you going’. “Rather eat small amounts of food regularly throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels constant. Also remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated.”
Sandi suggests avoiding anything with too much fat or fibre, especially if you already have a sensitive stomach. Catherine suggests that you treat yourself to foods you don’t usually eat every day but without going too outside the norm, and adding some staples and old favourites to your plate to balance things out.
If you’ve been following a specific diet plan up until the wedding, keep observing that, but also try and have a little fun with it. Catherine says if you’re aiming to lose weight for your wedding day, make sure you’ve set and achieved your goal a month or two before the wedding so there’s less pressure on the day and so that you’re not overindulging when on break from a strict diet. “Your wedding day should be one that you will remember with love and fondness, which means that when it comes to what you should eat on the day, you need to apply the same philosophy – “Eat foods that make you feel like the queen you are!” she says.
So what are great meal options for your wedding day?
Sandi suggests a nice smoothie in champagne glasses, bananas dipped in chocolate, raw nuts, or dried cranberries and raisins.
Emily recommends fruit kebabs, overnight oats with yoghurt and berries, egg on toast, an omelette or chia seed pots with yoghurt and fruit salad.
Catherine thinks avocado dip with fresh vegetables, plain salsa dip with nachos and veggie rice wraps would make for good additions to your pre-wedding meal.
All of our experts stress that you need to be hydrated on the day – so drink lots of water and perhaps add some lemons, mint or strawberries for some extra flavour.
Happy wedding day, and don’t forget to eat!