11 March 2022

Snacking or send packing? The choice is yours!

Offering the right snacks can help drinkers have the best time without causing themselves, or their hosts, a headache.

As much as licensees will be glad to welcome back the crowds as days grow longer and warmer, they’ll also do well to be prepared for some over-excitement. So, it’s worth giving thought to helping customers have a great time without peaking too soon. Let’s not beat around the bush; we’re talking about the difference between ‘making merry’ and ‘falling-down-drunk’.

Everyone who likes a drink knows the old adage about the benefits of lining your stomach before a night out. Providing some keenly priced or even complementary snacks, along with easily accessible drinking water, could be a useful investment in terms of avoiding the expense of replacing broken glasses, clearing up after unwell patrons – or worse.

The science part

Putting food into the stomach before or during drinking helps slow down the rate that alcohol is absorbed in a couple of ways. It creates a barrier between the stomach lining and the alcohol – preventing or slowing absorption there. It also causes something called the ‘pyloric sphincter’ to close – which prevents the alcohol reaching the small intestine where there’s a larger area that can absorb it into the bloodstream. (And yes, Pyloric Sphincter DOES sound like the name of a death metal band!)

Before you start reaching for the bowls of crisps and nuts, it’s worth bearing in mind that not all ‘stomach liners’ are created equal. The best snacks to offer are things which are digested more slowly. Proteins, fats and what are known as ‘low glycemic’ foods are your – and your customers’ – best friends. This is because processed and sugary foods get burned up very quickly so they simply aren’t as effective at slowing alcohol absorption down.

Made from scratch, and/or by small batch producers, with wholefood ingredients rather than processed substitutes is the best recipe for ensuring these snacks do the job you want them to.

With this in mind, here’s a few substantial snack ideas:

  1. Scotch Eggs. Big on protein, relatively low on carbs and a world of opportunity. It seems declaring them a substantial meal for ‘tier 2 pubs’ back in 2020 wasn’t as far from the truth as it seemed
  2. Vegan or vegetarian ‘beany’ pie. The key here is a well-filled pie because pulses are a slowly digested source of protein and fibre. A poor pastry-to-filling ratio is a no-no. Full of beans is what you need.
  3. Oat biscuits and cheese. Oats are a brilliant ‘low GI’ food that are both slowly digested and filling. They are much better in this respect than crackers. Cheese might be considered a food of the Gods – so oat biscuits and cheese is simply a divine snack.
  4. Hummus and crudités. A dip made of pureed pulses and high fibre raw vegetables to dip in it is a great option for healthy eaters and vegans too.
  5. Deep fried cheeses and/or battered vegetables. Whether it’s halloumi chips, whole mini brie served with cranberry sauce, or battered mushrooms served with a creamy dip, it can be a fabulous hot snack option for slowing things down while not stopping the party.


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