Healthy Drunk Food
It is possible. The Sakara nutritionists on 5 late-night, post-bar NYC restaurants. Plus, what to make yourself at home.
It's 3 A.M. on a Saturday. Do you know where your metabolism/liver/mind/discipline/bodily function or organ of choice is? If you're anything like us, you've made your way from an incredibly civilized and grown-up affair (that definitely didn't involve a dive bar or what you thought were really inventive, sexy dance moves) to some unfortunately and brightly lit diner or Chinese, or maybe even back home to order in something and then promptly pass out.
Whether it's a perfectly-melty grilled cheese at home, a late-night bodega run or a sunglasses-necessary brunch the next morning, the art of drunk food is one we have down. Not to brag, or anything. And while we're more than down with indulging on occasion, we realize that on those nights where you go from oversharing with your Uber driver to feeling generous enough to buy the bachelorette party next to you a round and sending everyone in your contact list the entirety of your most recently-used emojis, we've probably had enough regret for one night.
Finding nutritionists that you trust who won't simply point you in the direction of some quinoa when it comes to the drunk food dilemma is no small feat, but we found them in Danielle and Whitney of Sakara Life. We mean, they can throw down with some sake one second and fill us in on the exact benefits of all those healthy fats in salmon sashimi the next—need we say more? And so in the interest of avoiding waking up only to be greeted by discarded take-out containers and a sinking feeling in our stomachs, we asked them to advise on a few healthier options in NYC... that we'll hopefully actually manage to remember this weekend. Since they're the pros, we'll let them take it away. And you're welcome.
"The late night options in NYC are pretty sinful—they’re ooey, gooey, creamy, crunchy and everything your drunk body is craving right this very second. And the worst (best?) part is…everything is at your very fingertips. When your baseline is a clean, nutrient-dense, whole-food diet, you can afford to dip into the drool-worthy pool of drunk munchies every now and then—your resilient body can handle the brief change of pace, and as long as you hop back on the clean eating band wagon first thing tomorrow morning, you’re good to go. But the problem is, most of us don’t usually dip. We drunkenly cannon ball in, fully dressed. A little all or nothing action when the only thing standing in your way from a third and fourth helping is some very serious self-control that you can’t seem to locate at this particular time.
"The good news is, you can have your drunk munchies and eat them too. We know because we have years of practice and can happily say we are queens of the late night. The key is to be picky, focus on quality, and choose the item on the menu that boasts nutrients that will help your body digest the alcohol. If you’re going to indulge in some late night, the least you can do is give your body a little extra support in the recovery department. Here are our favorite, fool proof and most trusted ways to honor both your late night cravings and your beautiful body all at once."
The Blue Ribbon
Soho - Open till 4am
"The Blue Ribbon deserves a gold ribbon for its mouthwatering, late-night gourmet menu. With an extensive list of options to choose from, we like to start off with a healthy hummus plate. The protein and fiber combo helps soften those hunger pangs—you know, the ones begging you to go get nachos for God’s sake—so that you can plan out your next move. The menu is filled with quality late-night options that are guaranteed to provide your bod with way more help than harm. Our fave? The gluten-free tofu ravioli with grilled veggies: just enough carbs to restore blood sugar levels, proteins to replenish your amino acids and support liver detoxification and fresh veggies to remind your body that everything is going to be okay."
Chelsea - Open 24 hours
"[Order] artichoke toast with parmesean, chilli, grilled lemon and a side of sweet potato fries. Artichokes are loaded with prebiotic fiber, which nourishes the army of microbes in your gut that keep your entire body’s ecosystem in balance. Alcohol weakens the immune system and increases toxicity in your body, so this will feed your good bacteria to strengthen your immunity and escort toxins ever so kindly out of your body. We all know late night fries are sometimes a must, so if you’re going to indulge, go for sweet potato fries! We may have overdone it on the booze but at least we got our betacarotene fill for the day..."
The Spotted Pig
West Village - Open till 2 am
"This cute, cozy gastropub has some of the best options for healthy, yet hearty, late night eats. Their roasted almonds make for a healthy app, will fill you up so you don’t overeat when your entree comes, and throw in some hangover-fighting healthy fats. Healthy fats stick to your stomach lining longer than other macronutrients, slowing down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream and giving your body more time to process those glasses of sangria and all the toxins they came with. If you can stomach the idea of seafood after drinking, order the oysters with mignonette. Oysters have more zinc per serving than any other food—and their aphrodisiac qualities will keep the night going long after you get home ;)"
East Village - Open till midnight.
"When we’re craving midnight Mexican, the Bowery Tacobox is our go to! Our taco of choice? Taco Vegeteriano (hold the sour cream please!). This late-night delight has protein packed pinto beans, heart healthy guacamole (healthy fats!), and antioxidant-rich pico de gallo, so we can indulge in its deliciousness knowing that were still doing so much good for our bodies."
Chelsea - Open 24 hours.
"What could be better than capping the night at a sexy French bistro? We head to L’express in the wee hours of the morning for a three-egg omelet with antioxidant add-ins. Okay, maybe that’s not what it’s called on the menu, but we like to think of it that way. You can always boost the nutrition factor of your omelet by adding in veggies that will help hydrate your cells. Order the works! We like tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms and spinach, but no cheese please. We know you’re probably craving some fats right about now, but trust us, that delicious omelette was just browned in a buttered-up pan. Eggs are our secret hangover cure. When you drink alcohol, the liver converts ethanol to acetaldehyde, a toxin that worsens your hangover the next morning. Eggs, bless their souls, contain cystein, an amino acid which breaks down acetaldehyde, so that you can wake up happier, healthier and sans headache!"
All night long
"The #1 healthy late night treat is the one that comes from your kitchen. When we lived together during our very early NYC years, we’d come home and make food, rather than eat out and have the burden of deciphering a menu. Our go to was a variation of toast. We’d keep a loaf of sprouted Ezekial bread in the freezer, pop a slice or 2 in the toaster and top those bad boys off with whatever our bodies were craving that night. The key is to make sure you are slathering that toast with those healthy fats that aid in your body’s recovery. Our favorites were coconut oil with pink himalayan sea salt, almond butter with sliced banana and unsweetened coconut flakes, mashed avocado with a drizzle of olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes. Yes, choosing your kitchen over Roberto’s takes some extra patience, but it’s so worth it. You’ll go to bed with a happy tummy and wake up ready for Soul Cycle and a smoothie."
Photos courtesy of Caitlin Mitchell