All brides want to look and feel their absolute best on their wedding day, but what many don’t realise is that it starts with what you’re putting into your body. Good nutrition can improve everything from your skin and hair to your mood and energy; so a healthy mind and body is what all brides should be aiming for.
As the first article in our new three part ‘Wedding Wellbeing’ feature for our Helen on Weddings (HOW) blog series, we’ve gathered the top tips and tricks for you from one of the best in the business: expert nutritionist, blogger and author, Jessica Sepel. Jess herself was also a Helen Rodrigues real bride not long ago and so we’ve even included some of her own personal nutritional tips for the big day to help you out as well.
Begin with a healthy food relationship
According to Jessica, the assumption is that all brides are trying to lose weight, with many guides and programs all geared towards dropping weight fast in time for the wedding.
“I get it. As a bride-to-be you can feel enormous pressure to look and feel perfect for the special day...but I also know that the complicated relationship with food that results from this doesn’t make you or your body good,” she says.
This is something Jessica knows firsthand. Her previous unhealthy relationship with food and subsequent recovery journey is what actually prompted her to start her JSHealth blog. Letting go of this controlling and restrictive strive for thin perfection also ended up being the key to making her wedding amazing.
“It’s my secret to being a stress-free bride. I know that if I was still caught up in that mentality I would never have gotten to where I am now,” she says. “Because when we’re trying to control our food and diets, we’re inevitably trying to control other parts of our lives too.”
Jessica believes that our relationship with food has a huge impact on our emotional and physical health – and the relationship with everyone around us too.
“Healthy eating is the key to healthy and happy living. If you know you are taking care of your body and giving it what it needs, it is so good to you in return,” she says. “Don’t try to look or eat perfect – eat in tune with your body and I promise you will see results. And most importantly, you will feel the best you ever had.”
Jessica believes it’s important for brides preparing for their wedding day to realise that real and everlasting beauty is from the inside out.
“That, after all, is what your future spouse truly fell in love with!” she adds. “To be a healthy bride, we have to care of what we’re putting into our bodies.”
Here are Jessica’s top nutrition tips for the lead up to the wedding:
- Load up on veggies – add more greens and other vegetable to your plate as the nutrients will feed your skin and hair cells.
- Include protein at every meal – to help with energy levels and other functions.
- Eat lots of good fats – so many women are afraid of healthy fats and avoid them, but this is great for your skin and hair, so embrace and enjoy things like avocado, salmon, nuts and seeds.
- Take care of your digestion – more detail can be found in her book, The Healthy Life.
- Drink plenty of water – stay hydrated by drinking two litres of filtered water a day to achieve healthy skin and hair, flush toxins, aid digestion and generally feel better.
- Cut out processed sugar – also consider cutting back on fruit (two pieces a day is great)
- Add supplements – such as zinc, fish oil and vitamin C.
- Make time for sleep – Jessica herself has a non-negotiable commitment to eight hours of rest every single day for a healthy mind and body, and believes sleep is even more vital for brides.
“I really think it’s so important for brides-to-be to take care of themselves in this way. Tuck yourself into bed early so you can recharge,” she says. “Wedding planning can zap your energy and be totally exhausting. You don’t want to look and feel tired when you’re planning, and you certainly don’t want this on the big day either!”
Tips for the actual wedding
According to Jessica, most brides do their best to move and eat well in the weeks and months leading up to the big day, but it shouldn’t stop there.
“The way you fuel your body on your wedding day is just as important as the preparation you’ve put in during the planning process. And it can be challenging – you’ll be excited, nervous and BUSY,” she says.
“It’s easy to reach for sugary sweets brought in by your granny, champagne with your girls, or for some brides, nothing at all due to nerves. But in order to feel and look your absolute best when you walk down the aisle, it’s essential to eat.”
On the big day ideally Jessica recommends brides eat clean, real whole foods – mainly fruits, lean protein and veggies – but in small amounts to avoid bloat and dehydration, and boost that bridal glow.
Jessica’s ideal meal plan for a bride on her wedding day looks like this:
Pre breakfast: Upon waking, sip warm water with the juice of one lemon squeezed into it along with some ginger. Both lemon and ginger are detoxifying on the liver and prepare the digestive system for the food to come. As tempting as a mimosa might be, it can cause a blood sugar spike on an empty stomach.
Breakfast: For a bride who loves her java, one cup of black coffee – no milk or sugar added – is good. Too much more could cause extra jitters and there’s no time for that on your big day! Follow this with fresh papaya (which contains an amazing enzyme that soothes the digestive system) or grapefruit with a drizzle of lime juice.
Lunch: A piece of grilled fresh white fish with lots of herbs and spices and small green salad, or some steamed greens drizzled with lemon juice – no salt added – are great options for a light lunch. Avoid salt to prevent fluid retention and opt for herbs and spices instead which are anti-inflammatory and natural detoxifiers.
Snack: A light snack before the festivities begin is a great way to keep your blood sugar in balance – but what you nibble on is key to avoid a sugar crash. Munch on fresh celery and cucumber sticks which are natural anti-diuretics (which means they help rid the body of excess fluids). And add a small handful of raw almonds or walnuts – the healthy fats give skin an amazing glow!
Dinner: For most brides this will be at the wedding. It depends on your menu of course, but lean protein with veggies will give you major energy to dance the night away with your groom. And when it comes to the wedding cake? Go for it! Bloating will no longer be an issue and you deserve to celebrate.
Drinks: While loads of water is encouraged in the lead up to the wedding, it’s best to stick to small sips on the big day. This will prevent bloating and extra fluid retention, and mean fewer trips to the bathroom (great for all those brides in a more elaborate dress!). Bubbly is likely to be flowing all day, but try to only have one or two glasses after the ceremony and stay well-hydrated out on the dance floor so you can thoroughly enjoy your wedding night with your groom.
Jessica’s magical wedding
The renowned nutritionist married her love Dean back in December 2015 in Thailand on a beautiful sandy beach with 170 of their closest family and friends watching on. Jessica wore a stunning Anna Maier dress from Helen Rodrigues and their ‘healthy wedding’ retreat-like celebrations lasted four magical days.
Activities and aspects of their inspiring nuptials included: healthy gift bags for guests, fresh healthy wholefood buffets and snacks, vitamin juice shots, sunrise yoga, organic wine and day spa massage and beauty treatments for the girls. Jessica also even managed a refreshing personal meditation for herself just before the ceremony – something she highly recommends for all brides on their big day.
Helen on Weddings: After 17 years in the bridal business fitting thousands of brides personally, Helen Rodrigues certainly knows a thing or two about weddings. Follow our Helen on Weddings (HOW) blog series as Helen and her team share their knowledge and stories to help make your big day as beautiful and memorable as possible.