One of the biggest pitfalls staying true to eating clean is temptation at social gatherings. Happy hours, bar gatherings, and all-night-dance-party-ragers (is that what the kids still call it these days?) can wreak havoc on your eating and drinking choices. How can you stay healthy but not labeled as “that girl” who only orders a vodka soda and has a crumb (ok maybe two) of shared appetizers?
Well, you can have your
cake booze and eat drink it too when you are staying healthy during happy hour.
Mindful ordering your alcoholic beverage(s) can spare you extra calories and sugar. Here are some good (or better) choices when you are out with friends, enjoying a spirit or two.
Spirits & Cocktails
Order a mojito and ask for half the simple syrup or none at all. The sugary addition to this classic minty bev is what cranks up the calories. Or even better, order it made with gin, club soda, lemon juice, and extra mint.
Craving a morning (or afternoon, or evening) Bloody Mary? Ask for half the tomato juice (which is usually loaded with sodium) and add club soda for a light blast.
Fall back on the go-to drink, a vodka soda with extra lime. Yeah, I know I dissed it earlier, but it really is one of the best low-calorie drinks you can order. If the establishment has fruit, try it with a juiced orange wedge or ask for muddled watermelon/raspberries/strawberries.
Try a white wine spritzer – half wine, half club soda. The carbonated water actually makes this drink feel like a light summer treat and you omit extra calories and sugar.
Or ask for your old trusty friend, red wine. At least you are consuming heart-healthy antioxidants, plus red wine typically boasts less sugar that white.
Shoot for a ‘healthier margarita’. Try a skinny version made with club soda, tequila, extra lime and a little salt on the rim.
Mmmmm, Moscow Mule – ask for half the ginger beer (which is insanely high in sugar) and sub the other half with club soda.
Now that you have some great boozy options, what about the grub? This is by far the hardest temptation (in my ‘happy-hour-expert’ opinion). Social eating will draw anyone in like a moth to a flame. If your friends were jumping off a cliff, would you? Of course not. But if your friends were pounding truffle fries, quesadillas and pita bread during happy hour, would you? Well yeah!
To help combat the temptation, order some healthier alternatives like guacamole and ask for half veggies, half chips. Check the menu for marinated olives or fresh spring rolls. Any protein options? That’s another easy go-to (always ask for grilled, not fried). Try chicken skewers, grilled/steamed fish or shrimp cocktail (skip the cocktail sauce). Go ahead and order those mini siders but ask for them in lettuce wraps or with tomato slices vs buns. If all else fails, move the greasy, heavy food to the other end of the table to avoid mindless snacking.
Making smart choices while being a social butterfly will keep you on the healthy wagon while still enjoying the happy hour train. Choo choo!