The 180th Oktoberfest festival kicks off this weekend, September 21, and will go for two weeks until October 6th in its home city of Munich, Germany. But local celebrations will kick off across the US giving everybody a chance to indulge in the historic celebration of beer and bratwurst. I never turn away a good party, but I also love to put my skinny skills to the test and figure out how to find Balance in Booze and Brats!
A Quick, Little Oktoberfest History Lesson:
Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12th October 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields have been named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s fields”) in honor of the Crown Princess ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the “Wies’n”.
What? Really? Oktoberfest, the largest beerfest in the world, is held at Theresa’s Fields? Granted, the spelling is not 100%, but I do think Munich is calling my name! And as luck would have it, I just flew into town! Not Munich, Amsterdam. But we have 10 days, so I’m sure we’ll make our way east on the train.
So what’s my plan? Here are my top tips for managing any boozy festival.
1. Exercise in the AM and Dance at the Party
I’m a huge fan of the “best line of defense is a good offense.” Pre-burning your calories is a great way to go. Once the first beer goes down, you are lights out with no chance of getting in planned exercise later. But a great way to manage your alcohol calories is to burn them as fast as you consume them. Did you know that traditional Bavarian folk dancing could burn up to 300 calories per hour? That’s about a liters worth of light beer!
2. Eat Before You Go
This is always a good idea. You never want to arrive anywhere “starving.” You are defenseless and at the mercy of the local menu and also uber venerable to alcohol absorption. Once you get tipsy, you automatically lose your smart girl dining head, the game is over and you’re in line at the burrito stand. Or in this case, the sausage stand.
3. Stray to the Lighter Side of Things.
If you’re out for a few hours, you’re going to have to eat something. So stray to the lighter side of the menu. Lean protein and some complex carbs are the smartest option. They are filling, and will help delay alcohol absorption, allowing you to keep your wits about you. Use these three tips; avoid anything fried, creamy, or covered in bacon and always watch your portion size.
4. Drink Water.
Always alternate a non-boozey beverage per boozer. This will keep you hydrated and stave off the biological urge to drink more booze.
5. Be Happy and Social.
Focus on the festival! Focus on the people! Have a fun. Be nice. Laugh! Let the celebration and your friends be the indulgence. Beer and sausage alone in your living room are not nearly as much fun as Oktoberfest. So make the most of your company and put your focus on them, no the calories.
And remember, an occasional indulgence is totally ok! Oktoberfest is an annual celebration and life was meant to be lived. As long as you don’t binge on beer and sausage everyday, and balance your fun and your fitness, you’ll be just fine