5 Things to Do Instead of Drunk Eating

Where does the infamous “Freshman 15” really come from? Most people will say the pounds pack thanks to a combination of stress, eating greasy dining-hall meals and drinking alcohol. However, I don’t think the potentially detrimental effect of drinking — and, in particular, drunk eating – on weight gain is taken seriously enough.

So maybe you noticed the weight gain after your first year of college altered your eating habits and hit the gym more, but it still doesn’t seem to be enough. Whether you’re a sophomore, junior or senior, chances are that your body still isn’t at its prime, no matter how healthy you eat and how much you work out. You can thank the empty calories of alcohol and, often, the food we consume in a haze at 2:30 a.m. for that.

Coming home after a night out, ordering pokey sticks with your friends or stuffing your face with whatever leftovers you have in your refrigerator seems impossible to avoid when you’re intoxicated. Worst of all: All drunk eating seems to do is make you feel sick and full of regret the next morning.

This isn’t an article advocating to stop enjoying your nights out, but rather, it is one to offer solutions to this problem that many college students (myself included) personally struggle with.

Here are five things to do instead of eating when the drunk munchies creep up:

1. Go straight home

This may seem obvious, but the majority of the time I tell myself from the beginning of the night (and throughout) that this is the night I’m NOT drunk eating. Yet, that’s easier said than done when you walk out of Fat Daddy’s to be surrounded by the sweet smells of Pizza By The Slice, Jimmy John’s, Pita Pit, Relish and Flaco’s all conveniently open until the bars close.

Order an Uber before you step foot outside of the bar, so you don’t even have time to give into the temptation the smells give you. I, for one, never have food in my fridge at home (being a broke college student and all), so going straight home makes avoiding drunk eating that much easier.

2. Eat dinner before you go out

Again, this probably seems like a no-brainer, but it’s really not with the ungodly early hours we go out at in Gainesville. It is not an uncommon occurrence that I have to start doing my makeup at 6 p.m. while simultaneously trying to sip on a vodka lemonade just to make it to the pre-game in time, so we don’t have to wait in a two-hour line on a Friday night.

When we have class and/or work all day and have to get to the bars by practically 8 p.m., who has time to think about dinner? It is important to make the effort, however, because chances are you will make much better choices of food when you aren’t starving and blacked out with your inhibitions about eating unhealthy foods thrown out the window.

3. Go home with friends and watch TV or play a game

One of my personal favorite ways to combat drunk eating is to continue the fun of the night with the people with whom I started it. Pinky promise your friends not to order pizza, and watch a show or play a video/board/card game instead.

Cards Against Humanity is my game of choice – it’s even funnier when you’re intoxicated, trust me. If you watch a TV show or movie instead, chances are you’ll fall asleep on the couch before you can even reach for your phone to dial Gumby’s number.

4. If you’re going to drunk eat, do it right

Sometimes it is impossible to resist drunk eating for whatever reason, but that doesn’t mean it has to be *that* detrimental to your health. Jimmy John’s offers the option to get any of their sandwiches as an “unwich,” which is just a sandwich wrapped in lettuce instead of bread. My roommate attests that it’s actually still very good, and it saves you nearly 300 calories.

If you make food at home, never eat straight out of the container or bag, and portion it instead.

5. Go to sleep.

As college students, sleep is hard to come by. Whether we’re pulling all-nighters at Library West or all-nighters at Midtown, we are usually sleep-deprived on a day-to-day basis. So, the next time you go out, tempt yourself with how heavenly getting into your bed is going to feel instead of tempting yourself with the thought of chicken nuggets.

Make a beeline for your room, straight past the kitchen and directly to your bed. Now you’ll get at least an extra thirty minutes to an hour of sleep than you would have gotten if you spent the time making, waiting for and eating food that you didn’t need. You can wake up in the morning and treat yourself to a guilt-free, healthy breakfast instead.

Let’s take these steps so we can wake up the morning after going out and look back at our night with laughter and no remorse… because we all know you weren’t really hungry enough to eat that full Flaco’s burrito that you barely remember eating.