Blogger Lee Tilghman is walking us through her go-to tips for staying well while soaking up the rays at Coachella, Stagecoach, or whichever music festival you’ll be hitting up this summer. The temptation is to let it all hang out all weekend, but you worked so hard to rock those short shorts…
It’s that time of year again: crop tops and jean shorts, perfectly laid out, take over your Pinterest feed; new artists, like Jamie XX and Kendrick Lamar are releasing new music; and photos of golden desert scenes, palm trees, pools and your favorite bands crashing backstage parties flood your Instagram. It’s festival season, y’all!
For many people, festival season means three-day weekends of extended boozing, sporadic eating habits, and questionable food choices. For healthy eaters like myself, attending music festivals can pose a real challenge for staying on track. The 100+ degree heat combined with alcohol consumption, late nights that bleed into early mornings, too many tempting food trucks to name, and a schedule that is far from regimented can make music festivals a healthy eater’s worst nightmare.
Throughout festival season (and life in general!), it is important to keep in mind that balance is key. Above all else, you’re at the festival to enjoy yourself, so take steps to do so and allow yourself to experience it any way that you wish. Remember that you are there to connect with the music and the people around you, so if you make an unhealthy choice or overindulge a bit too much, it’s okay. Life goes on. Music festivals only happen once a year, and the most important thing is to enjoy them! Just be sure to not let it be an excuse and get back into your routine as soon as you return to “real life.”
After a few trial and error weekends, I learned how to navigate my way through the season, staying healthy, putting my body and mind first, all while still enjoying myself and the environment. To help others do the same, I’ve put together a few tips on how to stay healthy while at a music festival.
8 Secrets To Staying Healthy At A Music Festival
A week before the festival, go grocery shopping and hit the bulk bins. Bring a bunch of mason jars and reusable cotton bags to load your goodies into. Stock up on items like dried fruit, nuts and oats. These are great because they can withstand extreme temperatures. They also pack in a lot of nutrients with a small punch. When perusing the bulk bins, look for things like raw almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, mulberries, golden raisins, goji berries, coconut chips and medjool dates. You can mix and match these ingredients and make your own sort of trail mix, too! I love coconut-goji-cashew trail mix. You can even make some bliss balls ahead of time – they store well and are super healthy and nutritious.
Each festival has their own set of rules and regulations for taking outside food items onto festival grounds. If you can, obtain a doctor’s note from your general practitioner stating that you must bring in food with you due to medical reasons. It is for your health, after all! If this is not possible, do your research. I’ve packed trail mixes into things like Tupperware and Ziploc baggies and had no issue. Lots of campsites do not allow glass on campgrounds, so keep that in mind. Seal everything airtight so it can last all three days!
Bring a cooler to store things like juices, fresh fruit and vegetable crudités. The cooler will be helpful for the car ride, the campsite or even the hotel. Hit up your local juice shop and stock up on your favorite juices before you hit the festival — your body will thank you! Also pack things like raw coconut water, apples, grapes, watermelon and hummus!
We already know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it is especially true when you go to a festival. Eat a big breakfast for all three festival days. It may be tempting to skip it all together and to just see where the day takes you, but chances are, you’ll end up famished in the heat and be more likely to reach for something not so good for you. Trust me, it’s worth the extra effort to eat in the morning. If you’re camping, think overnight oats (oats soaked in water/nut milk) with nuts and dried fruit. If you have a hotel, consider bringing your blender so you can make smoothies each morning. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do that!
I can’t stress enough the importance of drinking plenty of water. Water will you give you energy, keep you from getting sick and also stave off heat exhaustion, which is all too common at festivals. Aim to drink between 16-24 oz every hour. Drink more if you choose to drink alcohol. If you do decide to engage in alcohol consumption, try to stick to light refreshing drinks such as white wines and rose. Stay away from hard liquor and beer.
At the festival
When you’re on the grounds, keep an eye out for light, fresh and nutrient-dense options. There is a ton of temptation at festivals such as ice creams, tacos and crab fries. While these foods may look delicious, remember that it’s hot and you need to sustain your energy; heavy foods will only weigh you down. I usually eat a meal of a falafel salad or smoothie around 6:00 PM before the night sets. I also love hitting up the coconut stands; Coachella has a lot of them. Lots of festivals are beginning to provide healthier eating options, such as salads, veggie tacos and smoothie stands. Be on the lookout for such options.
Lots of festivals offer free morning yoga classes or 5Ks to run. Take advantage of all of the amenities that festivals have to offer and get moving. It’s a great way to meet new people with like-minded goals and headspaces.
On sticking to your goals
It’s important to keep in mind that many people around you will be engaging in unhealthy choices. Remember that you are in total control of what you put into your body, and it is 100% your decision. If you don’t want to drink alcohol, make that decision and take the steps to stick with it. Maybe grab a friend who can be your support buddy. There are also a number of sober tents popping up at festivals for additional support and sense of community, so do your research and seek help if you need it. Grace yourself with this knowledge and power; remember that although this festival is fun, you eventually have to return to reality and only you will have to live with the choices that you make. You will feel so much better after the weekend if you line up your goals and stick to them.