It's only natural to want to look and feel your absolute best on your wedding day — it is your special day, after all. Part of achieving that dream is putting your nutrition at the top of your to-do list (along with finding a honeymoon swimsuit and getting a relaxing prewedding massage). What isn't natural is taking your diet to the extreme with the hopes of attaining a certain look for your wedding. POPSUGAR turned to Jessica Beacom, RDN, and Stacie Hassing, RDN, LD, of The Real Food Dietitians, to find out what you should (and shouldn't) eat the week before your wedding.
Their most important tip: just say "no" to crash diets. "We all know how extreme diets end — in out-of-control binges followed by feelings of guilt and failure. You already have enough on your plate; spending most of your waking hours obsessing about what you can't eat isn't going to allow you to enjoy the time leading up to your wedding (or the day of, for that matter)."
That being said, feeling like an overfilled balloon isn't any more fun than feeling hungry and calorie-obsessed, so Jessica and Stacie did advise us on which foods to avoid in the days leading up to your wedding. "We suggest steering clear of fried foods and processed foods with lots of added sugars or sodium, as they may cause digestive distress, water retention, or skin issues. There'll likely be plenty of occasions to splurge on drinks and rich food as the big day comes near, so just be sure to pace yourself. Overindulging may feel good in the moment but will leave you feeling tired, bloated, lethargic, and puffy in the end."
Instead, try swapping out a sweet, low-nutrient snack for an apple and a handful of nuts and replacing greasy, fried foods with whole-food-based meals like this one-pan sweet potato chicken bake. It's easy to make, and you'll have enough left over for lunch the next day, too (especially important when you are rushing around finalizing those last-minute wedding details)! And remember, even healthy foods like dairy and cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and the like) can leave you feeling gassy and bloated if you are sensitive to lactose or aren't used to consuming these foods on a regular basis.
Jessica and Stacie added, "You deserve to enjoy your wedding day, and standing around sipping ice water and sucking in your belly is a miserable way to spend what should be one of the happiest days of your life. Since you chose the menu, the food will probably be pretty great, too, so why deprive yourself? Your spouse-to-be will undoubtedly be happier knowing you're comfortable with yourself and enjoying the day rather than fretting over how you look."
Just how can you achieve this state of prewedding bliss? First of all, make time for some basic meal planning and prepping so you have access to healthy, satisfying meals. "If you don't have the time or the skills to do so, consider asking a friend to help you out by preparing a few meals and snacks for your fridge or consider a healthy meal-delivery service like The Good Kitchen so you have premade meals on hand that you can heat and eat," Jessica and Stacie recommended.
Maintaining an exercise routine is also important. "Adding in a light exercise (if you're not already doing regular workouts) or continuing with workouts you enjoy are great ways to relieve stress and give you time to focus on what's really important, like time with your family, friends, and the person who'll be looking back at you when you walk down the aisle."
Sure, you could starve yourself for a few days leading up to your wedding, but do you really want to remember feeling hangry and moody on one of the most special days of your life? We didn't think so. By taking a more balanced and realistic approach, you won't just look like the radiant, happy bride you've always imagined . . . you will feel like her, too.