Chances are you will drink too much over the party season, but there is plenty you can do in advance to minimise the effects of that hangover. The key is choosing the right pre-party meal.
Here, we asked some of the UK’s ­leading dietitians and nutritionists for their suggestions.
The key in minimising that morning-after-feeling is choosing the right pre-party meal
1. Baked beans (drizzled with ­Worcestershire sauce) on grainy toast with a little chopped avocado and a glass of apple juice.
‘Baked beans, avocados and grains release their energy slowly, so if you eat this two hours before going out you won’t be starving when you get there,’ says ­dietitian Azmina Govindji.
‘Adding Worcestershire sauce helps because its natural acidity slows down digestion of the beans. This means you won’t feel the effects of ­alcohol so quickly and are less inclined to have another drink quickly.
‘This meal will also help prevent the natural fall in blood sugar ­levels caused by alcohol (which leads to many hangover symptoms such as nausea and cold sweats). But you’ll still need to eat something else during the evening such as pasta.
‘Apple juice keeps you hydrated and contains vitamin C, which is often depleted by heavy drinking.’
2. Lamb chop with sweet potato wedges and peas, probiotic yogurt and a glass of water.
‘If you eat this at 2pm, it’ll still be curbing your hunger and helping to slow alcohol absorption by the time you have your first drink at 6pm,’ says dietitian Dr Sarah Schenker.
‘Lamb is rich in protein, which fills you up, and sweet potatoes release energy slowly. They are a good source of zinc and vitamin A respectively. Both are essential for a healthy immune system and are depleted by too much alcohol. Probiotic yogurt might counteract morning-after bowel problems caused by binge-drinking.’
3. Large wholemeal bagel filled with smoked salmon, tomato and full-fat cream cheese. Followed by a banana and large glass of orange juice.
Hangover cure: Large wholemeal bagel filled with smoked salmon, tomato and full-fat cream cheese
‘This is an ideal snack before a night out,’ says nutritionist Carina ­Norris. ‘It’s high in potassium, which helps balance fluid levels that can take a ­hammering during drinking — ­alcohol is a diuretic, so the body loses more fluid than it takes in.
‘Just this once, normal, low-fat rules can go out the window because the protein and especially the fat from the salmon and soft cheese help slow the rate of ­digestion, preventing blood sugar levels from dropping too slowly (a common effect of a hangover).
‘The banana, tomato and juice will also top up levels of vitamins B and C, vital for energy and the immune system.’
4. Canned rice pudding with sliced mango and a cup of tea.
‘This is a good option if you’re short of time,’ says Dr Schenker.
‘While a glass of milk is the ­traditional pre-night-out drink — it lines the stomach and prevents alcohol from irritating it — rice pudding is more substantial and will fill you up. Add some sliced mango and you’ll be topping up vitamins C, A and B. Contrary to popular opinion, tea doesn’t ­dehydrate, so it’s fine to have a cuppa before a night out.’
5. Vegetable and lentil soup and a milkshake with skimmed milk, banana and a ­teaspoon of honey.
‘Soup with lentils or pulses is stomach filling, satisfying and packed with slow-release carbohydrates — a combination that will help ensure your stomach won’t be empty (so you won’t feel drunk so quickly) and preventing your blood sugar levels dropping,’ says Sian Porter, of the British Dietetic Association.
‘Also, alcohol depletes levels of vitamin A, but chopping, blending and cooking carrots and tomatoes increases absorption of beta-carotene, which the body then turns into vitamin A. The milkshake provides filling protein and fibre.’
6. Scrambled eggs on rye bread with a glass of one per cent fat milk.
‘This large afternoon snack will provide a good balance of slow release carbohydrates and protein to help keep blood sugar levels stable through the evening,’ says nutritionist Fiona Hunter.
‘Rye bread is a slower releasing sort, giving steadier blood sugar levels than white or wholemeal. Eggs and milk supply a wealth of vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, so you are bolstered against the nutrient-draining effects of excessive alcohol.’
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