Tips to a Healthier Happy Hour

Posted by Health and Fitness With Amy MAC

Yeah, I watched the 1988 Smash Hit film, Cocktail, the other night, so what?

It seems that one of the most difficult dieting obstacles is drinking alcohol and facing happy hours. If you are one of those that doesn’t have to worry about these social situations or can drink a club soda with lime (my staple) then the cocktail calories and the snacks that accompany them are not an issue for you.

For those that do struggle with this, here are some tips to a healthier happy hour:

  • Have a glass of water or club soda in between each beverage.
  • Eat a healthy snack before heading out and about.
  • Select a lighter beverage – wine spritzers, light beer or even a glass of wine will be “healthier” than a frozen froo-froo drink like a daiquiri, margarita or winter time drinks like eggnog.
  • Having a party at your place? Make your own mixers like this one from FabFitFun

A standard sweet and sour mix is practically all sugar and can run up to 200 calories. Kim suggests tossing the bottle and whipping up your own: mix 2 parts lime juice, 2 parts lemon juice, and 3 parts agave nectar. You’ll get vitamins from the fresh juices and Agave has 20% fewer calories than the sugary syrup typically found in mixers.

(The spiced cosmo further down the page also looks fantastic!)

Then it’s onto food. How do you keep with your diet when all the food around you is fried and you are suddenly starving? (Well, obviously you didn’t take my advice and have a healthy snack before you went out.) Anyway, here are a few ideas on making healthy happy hour food choices from FitSugar.

  • Pick the right seafood. Jonesing for something from the ocean? Stay away from fried baskets of calamari (350 calories per serving) and order a shrimp cocktail (120 calories) or raw oysters (about 10 calories each) with lemon juice or a dash of mignonette sauce instead.
  • Snack attack. If you want something to nibble on, don’t be tempted by the fries. Instead, choose finger foods like edamame, which gives you that hit of salt without the calories and fat (about 100 calories and 3 g of fat in a 1/2 cup of edamame vs. 427 calories and 22.8 g of fat in a medium serving of fries).

I love edamame but I’m not sure it would be a great substitute when I’m seeing and smelling french fries… we’ll see how that one plays out.

I know that it can be difficult trying to diet and be social and it’s one of the biggest obstacles for people but just remember that the goal is worth the sacrifice. Just be realistic on the food and beverage compromises that you can make and stick to your guns! I mean really, look at the struggles that Tom Cruise overcame to open “Cocktails and Dreams”!

Have a happy hour victory story? Want to profess your love for Tom Cruise? Feel free to do so in the comments.


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