Festival season is upon us, and our guide on healthy eating, with expert guidance from our nutrition team, will help you make the most of it.
There’s nothing like getting dancing around a field and watching your favourite bands with your best mates. Whether you’re going all out and camping at Glastonbury, joining the Pride parade or enjoying a jazz extravaganza at Love Supreme, healthy eating can sometimes take a backseat in the fun and chaos.
But not with our top tips on what to eat at a festival to stay healthy. They’ll help you stay energised, so you have an absolute blast.
Water is your best friend
First up and most importantly, staying hydrated is key to enjoying yourself at a festival. It stops us from feeling tired, dizzy or lightheaded and becoming dehydrated on hot, busy days. Whether you’re camping or going for the day, making sure you have enough water can be a dealbreaker. It’s recommended that we have at least 6-8 glasses of water a day (around 1.2L) but when it’s hot or you’re active, you’ll need more. Make sure to pop a few bottles in your bag and keep drinking.
One of our top tips is to do some research beforehand and scout out where the hydration stations are located on the festival site, so you can regularly fill up throughout the day. Try our pomegranate, ginger and lime-flavoured water for a quick way to make staying hydrated fun and tasty, and make the most of that unforgettable festival experience!
Start your day right
Having a nourishing, filling brekkie will replenish you after late nights, and set you up for the day ahead. Oats are a good source of fibre-rich carbohydrates to help you maintain energy throughout the morning. Track down a porridge van, or for the perfect portable breakfast, try Jools’ breakfast on the go, a lovely mix of soft berries and oats. If you take a camping stove, Jamie’s roll-and-go omelette wrap with vibrant tomatoes and golden, melty Cheddar cheese is so easy – finish with a dash of chilli sauce to bring the heat! Eggs provide us with a source of protein, so can make a brilliant breakfast addition to help keep you full for a morning of stomping around the fields.
Snack to basic
Walking miles around a festival site each day requires lots of energy. Packing some healthy snacks with you means you can keep topped up with nutrients throughout the day. Plus, it’s kind on your wallet and will save you time waiting in queues – when you could be joining the crowd in front of your favourite artists having the time of your life!
A few clever options are unsalted nuts or trail mix, dried fruit, popcorn, yoghurt-based snacks, fresh whole fruit and oaty bars. Oaty bars are great, high-energy snacks, and fruits like apples and pears are easy to transport and refreshing, making them a winner in the summer. Feeling organised before you go? Make a batch of Jamie’s granola bars and wrap up individually. If you’re taking a cool bag, freeze yoghurt at home before you go for a quick and refreshing treat. Dips are straightforward to make before you set off, and easily portable – Jamie’s simple houmous is delicious dunked in chunky veg or served over flatbread.
Take a cool bag
Keeping your food fresh and helping you to save money, cool bags are the ideal festival companion. Lightweight and easily portable, rest assured, they’re up to the challenge of keeping your festival food cool and fresh. Packing your cool bag with frozen water bottles is a brilliant little festival trick. They melt much more slowly than normal ice and provide you with ice-cold water when things get hot.
Cool bags are also great for fresh ingredients that don’t need refrigeration like tomatoes, cucumber and apples. Bring a lovely loaf of bread and you can even consider cured meats — as long as they are kept in your cool bag, you’re good to go! However, remember food and drink in a cool bag won’t stay cold for longer than 24 hours (and not that long if it’s really hot).
Invest in a gas camping stove
Trying to save the pennies? Festival food isn’t cheap, and buying every meal from the stalls can really add up. Bringing a gas camping stove to make some meals yourself is a great way to cook tasty, no-fuss meals on a budget for you and your mates. Camping stoves are cheap and portable, and you’re sure to have some of your best times at a festival cooking around it – there’s nothing to bring people together like sharing the experience of making simple meals. Eggs are a fantastic breakfast option, and fried, boiled and scrambled can be easily achieved on a camping stove – fried egg sandwich, anyone?
Take precautions with festival food
If you don’t have enough space to pack much food, and feel like trying some of the many options on offer, there are a few things you can do to stay healthy and safe. Skipping hot, spicy or fatty food if you’re particularly sensitive to it can be helpful in avoiding extra trips to the loo! Checking hygiene ratings or asking the staff for the rating at food stalls is a fantastic way to ensure the quality of the food before trying it. Check if the food is cooked to order, too – food cooked to order is fresher.
Looking for more easy, low-fuss recipes perfect for festival eating? Our no-cook recipes have got your back.