Healthy Eating Tips

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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Outsmart the Over Eater in You!

Take the Quiz bellow to see how you can improve your eating habits.

6 Week Quiz

1) The weight number on the scale is the best way to tell if I am losing body fat.

a) True

b) False

2) If I suddenly have a craving for something (i.e., cheese) it means my body needs something that food can provide.

a) True

b) False

3) If I only have 10 minutes to exercise, that’s OK, it all adds up.

a) True

b) False

4) Vegetables are a good source of protein.

a) True

b) False

5) I should be drinking at least ___________ of water each day.

6) I should have ___________________ at every meal.

7) When I have lost all the weight I want, I can go back to my “real” life.

a) True

b) False

8) If I fall off the wagon today and have a piece of birthday cake (or whatever it is!) the whole day isn’t ruined, I can get right back on track, I don’t have to wait for tomorrow.

a) True

b) False

9) I should eat __________times a day, every __________hours.

10) What I eat is more important than exercising to help keep off the weight I have lost.

a) True

b) False

11) A plain salad with nothing on it is a good substitute for a shake at lunch or dinner.

a) True

b) False

12) If I feel hungry and it is not time to eat, I should have a big glass of water because I may be dehydrated.

a) True

b) False

Outsmart the Over Eater in You

You’ve lived with your overeating habits for a while now. They are “programmed” into your every day behavior. In order to change them you need to a) slow down and take a look at what they are and b) figure out ways of “fooling” that programming so it is harder for you to follow those same old routines.

  • Make over eating a hassle. The more you have to work at getting to excess food, the less likely you will be to indulge.
  • Leave serving dishes of more “risky” food in the kitchen. Serve up the plates in the kitchen and bring them to the table but leave the “extra” food in the kitchen. If a serving dish is at least 6 feet away, it will be less tempting to get a second helping of you have to get up and go get it.
  • The opposite should be true for salad and veggies. Make sure they are right in front of you on the table.
  • If you have to have them in the house for others, make the tempting foods harder to get at. Re-package them; put them in the back of the cupboard or freezer. Ask others not to leave them out where you can see and get to them easily.
  • Eat only at the kitchen/dining room table. Do not eat in the car, or while walking. If you must eat at your desk at work, stop working while you do. Devote time to slowly savoring whatever food you do have.
  • Always eat on a clean plate. Not a napkin or paper plate. Having to wash a dish is another deterrent.
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