How to stay healthy at the races, according to a dietitian

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Drinking water is just the beginning. 

Photos: Instagram @jesinta_franklin

Spring carnival is upon us, and all too often the papers show the annihilation of many race goers after consuming a few too many drinks, looking a little more dishevelled than they appeared upon arrival. So… how can you maintain your health and wellbeing on a fun day out? This might help…

Plan ahead

Just as spray tans, dresses and the odd stop off at the bookies are an integral part of race day antics, planning ahead is essential. Healthy food the day before, along with plenty of water are key to prep.

Morning of, choose a healthy, satisfying breakfast, that is rich in low GI carbs and protein. For example, a vegetable omelette with sourdough or a nut and seed muesli with Greek yoghurt both make great choices. Given that there is often few healthy options available at the track, something that will keep you feeling satisfied for much of the day. Or, if you plan on heading to the venue a little later, a lunch which is filled with similar goodness is recommended; a salad with chicken and quinoa, or a nourishing bowl with chickpeas, veggies and sweet potato can be delicious choices.

And… avoid the ‘pre-drinks’; it is likely there will be plenty of champagne flowing once you arrive, so skipping the bellinis whilst doing your make up is recommended. (There’ll be more later on, anyway.)

Don’t forget to eat

Yes, you’ve done well with making wonderful choices with your food before you arrived, however do your best to still eat during the day (particularly if you only ate breakfast). Many race tracks offer sushi, wraps and salad sandwiches; with these obviously being much healthier choices than the pies, sausage rolls and chips on offer.

Some venues will allow you to bring a picnic hamper with you; if this is the case, stock up on healthy snack foods that will allow you to graze throughout the day, as this may be more likely that trying to consume one big meal. Veggie sticks, crackers, cheese, meat, hummus, guacamole, mini quiche, finger sandwiches, or the aforementioned salads, and the like all work well, and can be enjoyed throughout the day with friends.

Drink your water

Yes yes, I know you’ve heard it before. But drinking enough water on a daily basis, particularly on a day when alcohol is involved will ensure you feel less inebriation, better recovery the day after, and helps keep your body healthier throughout the day. Alternate each alcoholic drink with water (champagne is a good option, as it has roughly 90 calories, while red or white wine has roughly 100 calories. Of course, champagne serves are generally smaller too, which helps), and each time you take a bathroom break, check the colour of your urine – pale yellow to colourless is what you’re aiming for. If it is darker, have a big glass of water the next chance you have.

And, as a final note…

We are certainly not suggesting or endorsing over indulging in alcohol on any day, including a day out at the races. Australian guidelines recommend 1 standard drink per day for women, and 2 for men for best health.

Have a fab day, and here’s to going home hydrated, shoes on… and, hopefully, a winning bet or two!

This Saturday October 7 is Moët & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes Day at Royal Randwick.

Chloe McLeod is a Sydney-based accredited practicing dietitian.

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