5 drunk meals you don't need to be ashamed of.

Image: Wikipedia

We’re all guilty of the occasional late night, tipsy feast. Whether it’s because you skipped lunch that day, or you’ve been dancing for hours or you’re just hungry damnit, sometimes it’s impossible to resist the call of the kebab stand.

But guess what – that’s okay! Eating can take the edge off if you’ve had a bit too much to drink, and if you reach for something salty (which let’s face it, you will), you’re actually replenishing valuable electrolytes.

So, which are the best foods to order when you’re a little off your chops? Read on, ladies, we’ve got you covered.

But first, a ground rule: drink some water. While salty foods can help with electrolytes, they’ll also make you thirsty. And sometimes thirsty people think it’s a good idea to drink more booze and drink it down quicker. It’s not a good idea, it’s a bad idea. If you’re thirsty on a night out, always have a water. In fact, have a water even when you’re not thirsty.

1. Kebabs and gyros

Thanks to the addition of salad, the relatively low-carb wrap, and the goodness of yoghurt (and hummus, if it’s a kebab) these babies aren’t nearly as bad for you as you might think. Nutritionist Susie Burrell told “They’re not deep fried. The meat’s not too bad. You get some salad in there. I think there are worse options.” 

This is not the case in the UK though, where researchers found that 18.5% of takeaway kebabs posed a “significant threat” to public health.

Do: Share your kebab with a friend – portion size is one of the biggest risks of takeaway.

Do: Order falafel or chicken rather than mysterious shaved meat – it’s a much lower calorie option.

Don’t: Load up on cheese or creamy sauces. Hummus and yoghurt are your friends here.

Doner kebab via Wikipedia

"This is why bread is not the enemy."

2. Burritos

The kebab's Mexican cousin, burritos, also have a decent mix of protein, not-too-much-fat and a fair few veggies. Especially if you order extra guac, or a vegetarian option. The meat in burritos tends to be leaner than kebab meat, but chicken and vegetarian options are still significantly healthier than ordering beef.

Do: Share - like with kebabs, burritos tend to be oversized, so portion control is key.

Do: Swap out one of the carbs, if you can bear it. Ask for a 'naked burrito' (one with no wrap that comes in a bowl) or get beans, but no rice.

Don't: Overdo the sour cream. It's a cream, so enough said.

Don't: Go for extra hot sauce. Your gut is already grappling with alcohol, and chilli will just make it angrier. We promise your bathroom will thank you in the morning.

White bean burrito via Wikipedia

"Why your leftover pasta can help you lose weight."

3. Jaffles

Man cannot live on cheese toasties alone - but when you're drunk, home and hungry, they're a pretty safe option. Unlike takeaway foods, a toasted cheese sandwich is a sane portion size. While a healthy diet should include a lot of vegetables; a boozy midnight snack is not the optimal time for carrot sticks, so a little carbs-and-diary is fine.  Cheese has been linked to good health outcomes in women, and while we've been taught to fear it, bread is still an important dietary staple. Best of all, jaffles are easy to make, if you've got the right equipment, so they're a safer bet than most tipsy culinary adventures.


Do: Keep it simple. Adding mayo, ham, or even tomato sauce to your cheese toasty will send its sodium and calorie count through the roof. You don't need the extras. Also, tomatoes are very acidic, which can aggravate your already off-balance stomach.

Don't: Attempt to make a toastie without a jaffle iron. If you have to fry or bake it, it seriously ups the chance you'll set yourself/your house on fire.

Cheese jaffles via Wikipedia

"Maybe milk isn't so good for you after all. Cheese, on the other hand..."

4. Curry

If you're hitting up a late night Indian joint, move past the samosas, pakoras and chicken tika wraps and head straight for the curries. They're not deep fried (even if they are full of clarified butter), and they're a good way to get some veggies in. Sure, they're not as easy to eat on the street, but maybe sitting down and drinking a glass (or three) of water while you eat isn't such a bad thing at the end of a big night.

Do: Go for mild, high vegetable options. Dahl and palak paneer are your friend.

Don't: Get anything that's super spicy, or has the word 'butter' in its name. Too much hot food or grease will not  make you feel good.

Dahl via Wikimedia

"Meet the people who don't eat."

5. Creamed corn and cottage cheese

Creamed corn and cottage cheese zapped in the mircowave for a minute is another fairly safe bet when it comes to avoiding kitchen disasters. Plus it's soft, salty and satisfying, which is everything you want in a drunk meal, even if it does look a lot like baby vom.

It's one of my personal 'oops I forgot dinner' late-night favourites.

Do: Dip any form of carbohydrate you have on hand into this. Oat cakes, rice crispies, Vita Weets, bread... it's all good.

Don't: Bite into it without testing first. You don't want to burn your mouth, drunky.

Cottage cheese, via Wikipedia

Drunk foods to avoid

Anything with tomato sauce: Margherita pizza, spaghetti, lasagna... Even baked beans. Your stomach is having a hard enough time dealing with all that booze you've put into it. Don't make things worse for yourself by adding something super acidic. You could wind up with reflux, heartburn or worse... And this intel comes from the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for the National Institutes of Health, so you know it's legit.

Pies: There's a Pie Face on every corner and they're always, always open. But pies are calorie bombs with not-so-many nutrients, a tonne of saturated fat, and an abominable amount of sodium. Most regular sized pies have between 400 and 600 calories in them, which is 100 calories more than a cheeseburger (303 calories), and around the same as a Big Mac (550 calories). Sausage Rolls are just as bad, and Pie Face cheese sticks are the worst. At 84 grams, they contain 432 calories - which doesn't even seem like something that should technically be possible.

Hot chips: I'm so, so sorry to tell you this. But the booze-soaking qualities of potato do not outweigh the fact that these are dripping with oil and even saltier than everything else on this list. Your poor guts just can't handle all that fat in their fragile state.

But don't be sad - there are plenty of other (non-drunk) foods that are healthier than you think, if that's any consolation:

What's your go-to late night feast?