Fact: brunch is the most important meal of the day. Additional fact: hangovers are the actual worst, which is what makes the post-wedding brunch so appealing. Not only is it an opportunity to spend more time with friends and family who aren't often all together, but it's also a stellar way to alleviate the hangovers of both yourself and your guests. Because, let's be honest: if there’s a bar, people are going to be hungover the next morning. Such is life.
But not just any food will do. We checked with the experts, who said these were the best foods to help ease the pain that comes after imbibing too many glasses of bubbly.
"I recommend adding Sambazon Açaí Unsweetened packets to your smoothies as these berries are super high in antioxidants," says Kimberly Snyder, nutritionist and multi-time New York Times best-selling author of the Beauty Detox book series and Radical Beauty. "Açaí is loaded with beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including Omega 3 fatty acids, amino acids, minerals, key vitamins, and fiber." Try serving smoothie bowls for added Instagram appeal.
"Because of it’s high potassium content, coconut water rehydrates the body faster than regular water," says Dana James, Dana James, MS, CDN, CNS, and Founder of Food Coach NYC & LA. Don't let your guests overdo it though—if you have more than 12 ounces, the sugar from coconut water can prolong your suffering, she warns.
Cinnamon helps counter the effects and neutralize the damage of aldehydes, a toxin found in alcohol, says James (remember its name so you can curse it in the morning—aldehydes are principally responsible for your hangover, according to James). Incorporate it into a dish like this french toast from Jeannette Ogden to reap the benefits (you can also add it to your coffee or water).
"The best next-morning breakfast? Avocado on toast with lemon zest," says James (insert a huge sigh of relief that our favorite brunch food is also good for us).
"If your body is saying no to a green juice or fruit for breakfast, listen to it—it may want some monounsaturated fat, and avocados have this is abundance. Monounsaturated fat increases a hormone called adiponectin, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels that were disrupted by the previous night’s alcohol consumption. Then top the toast with lemon zest to help the liver clear out the last remnants of the alcohol." Take a cue from The Butcher's Daughter and accent with microgreens.
"Organic eggs contain the mineral choline, which is essential for liver function, nerve function, and energy production," says James. "The protein in eggs will also stabilize blood sugar levels and assist the liver in breaking down any remaining toxins." Luckily, eggs are a mainstay of brunch and can be used in a variety of ways. This take on çilbir (a Turkish dish) by Botanica is a surefire crowd-pleaser for hungry (and hungover) guests.
What are these? According to Snyder, serve foods that include almonds, peppers, leafy greens, coconut oil, bananas, quinoa, chia seeds, and plenty of veggies. "These all provide great energy and much-needed nutrients. This will help get your body back on track and give you a nice boost of energy!" A breakfast bowl with quinoa and fruit, like this one from Botanica, is filling and appealing to stomachs still recovering from one too many signature cocktails.
Green Vegetable Juice
"Green vegetables are rich in chlorophyll, nature’s most potent detoxifier. And bitter vegetables, like artichoke, kale, arugula, broccoli rabe, dandelion greens, endive, and radicchio, contain glucosinolates that increase glutathione, the body’s most hardworking antioxidant," says James. "Glutathione helps to quickly neutralize and clear alcohol from the body."
If you're not into straight-up greens (it's certainly an acquired taste), you can also opt to serve a green smoothie. "It will supply you with tons of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and amino acids to build protein in the body (yes, greens have lots of protein if you eat enough of them in a blended form!)," says Snyder. "The fiber content also keeps things moving through your body." She recommends her Glowing Green Smoothie, which incorporates antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies (just make sure it's blended far away from your guests' tender heads).
In addition to being full of hangover-fighting nutrients, a smoothie is also a great on-the-go option for guests who want to say their farewells but can't stay long (many people will be traveling home the day after a wedding). Get inspired by Jeannette Ogden and include a topping bar for your guests—everyone knows smoothies are better with crunchies.