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Party on with these 5 lean tips for Fat Tuesday

  • Category: Living Well
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Devin Brittain, Registered Dietitian
Party on with these 5 lean tips for Fat Tuesday

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Mardi Gras is here again.

Nobody does this season quite like we do in New Orleans. From festive floats and marching bands, to bead throws, amazing tunes, and all-day dancing, we know how keep the party going all Carnival long.

And of course, it wouldn’t be Mardi Gras in NOLA without decadent, delicious foods and drinks. You can’t let the season slip by without enjoying a slice of King Cake, chomping on a Po’Boy, or savoring a bowl of your favorite Gumbo recipe.

While these traditional treats aren’t always the healthiest, you don’t have to feel bad about indulging a little on a special occasion. Kicking back and eating good is a special part of the celebration—but it doesn’t have to derail your healthy habits and fitness goals for the rest of the year!

After all, with Mardi Gras falling in early spring, it wasn’t too long ago that we were making all those health and fitness New Year’s Resolutions. Carnival is a great time to remind ourselves of those goals, while still treating ourselves here and there.

With that in mind, here are some tips that will help you have fun, feel good, and stay on track with your health and fitness all season long:

  1. Pack snacks: You never know when you might get a craving for something to snack on along the parade route. Carrying nutrient-dense, portable snacks like trail mix, granola bars, and fresh fruit is a great way to satisfy a grumbling tummy and stay energized all day long.
  1. Hydrate: Whether you are indulging in alcoholic or non-alcoholic sweetened beverages or not, be sure you are also drinking plenty of water. This will help you stay hydrated and feeling good and can help minimize your intake of high caloric beverages.
  1. Try mindful eating: With so many great tasting treats around, Mardi Gras is a great time to practice savoring our foods! Be mindful of portions, and take time to really enjoy the smells, flavors, and textures of that King Cake, daiquiri, or Jambalaya. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to send the signal to your stomach that it is full—so slowing down and appreciating your meal is a great way to avoid overindulging.
  1. Get moving: While Carnival is the perfect time to eat our favorite foods, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to get moving! Plan to walk or bike to the parade route to get some extra exercise in—plus, you’ll avoid the headache of trying to drive and park around all those blocked-off streets! You can also feel good knowing that all that dancing, jumping for beads, and marching along is great exercise. Be sure to take care of yourself and get plenty of rest, too!
  1. Don’t feel guilty: Lastly, there’s no need to feel guilty about letting your diet slide this season. Mardi Gras is a joyful time for fun and celebration with our friends and family. If you do end up eating or drinking more than planned, no worries. Remember that health is about the bigger picture and year-round habits, not one or two “slip-ups” on the holidays, so don’t beat yourself up about a couple days of festive foods.

This Carnival, be sure to have fun, be safe, and let the good times roll! We’ll see you out there!

TRY THIS: Devin’s Parade Poppin’ Trail Mix Recipe

Popcorn trail mix

Healthy snacks don’t have to be boring! Enjoy this parade-ready recipe from Devin Brittan, Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist at West Jefferson Medical Center.


  • 3 cups popcorn
  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 2 cups lightly salted almonds
  • 1 cup dried raisins or craisins
  • 2 cups dried mango


  1. Melt ½ chocolate chips in the microwave
  2. On a lined baking sheet, drizzle popcorn with chocolate and chia seeds. Let dry for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Once dry, mix all ingredients in a bowl (including the rest of your chocolate chips). Store in airtight container or individual ziplock bags.

Stick a bag in your back pocket to enjoy on the parade route! Happy Mardi Gras!

More: Time to get poppin'! 3 reasons popcorn should be your go-to healthy snack.

To learn more about healthy lifestyle choices, schedule an appointment with one of our primary care providers.

About Devin:

Photo of Devin Brittain

Devin Brittain is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist. Devin serves as the Outpatient Dietitian for the Cancer Center at West Jefferson Medical Center where she assists patients and teaches healthy cooking classes. She serves on the board for the New Orleans Dietetic Association where she strongly advocates for the dietetic profession and the health of her community. In her free time, Devin enjoys attending festivals, reading, developing recipes, dancing, and cheering on the Saints! She is passionate about utilizing her food and nutrition knowledge to benefit others and believes in finding innovative ways to encourage a healthy lifestyle that works for each individual.