One of the events everyone looks forward to is a spring happy hour. The sun is shining, there’s not a cloud in the sky, and the bar patio is just begging you to enjoy your drink outside. Sometimes, we might think that a spring happy hour can’t fit into our weight loss or health goals as we prepare for bikini season, but all it takes is tweaking a few drink recipes and modifying a few habits. This way you can enjoy your happy hour without having to slave away at the gym the next day. To survive happy hours and other social events this season, try these seven easy tips.
1. Eat a Snack before You Go
When the weather warms up, sometimes all you want to do is go to a spring happy hour with your coworkers or friends, order a bunch of fruity drinks, and eat a bunch of delicious food. But going to happy hour as little as once a week can lead to weight gain over time. To curb your appetite, try having a healthy snack at work before you head out. A piece of fruit and a slice of cheese, a high fiber cereal bar, or some raw veggies with hummus are all great choices that will keep you from getting tempted by greasy bar food. The food will also slow down the absorption of alcohol in your blood stream, resulting in better judgment and a much safer time.
2. Try Walking to the Bar
Do you work in a big metropolitan city? If your location permits you, try walking to your happy hour spot instead of driving or using public transportation. Considering you’re about to drink at least a couple hundred calories at the bar, walking will help offset this expenditure. Besides, even a short burst of physical activity for a few minutes poses physical benefits like improving cardiovascular health and preventing diabetes. So ditch the cab in favor of the crosswalk.
3. Use Club Soda as a Mixer
When you get to the bar, there are a ton of drinks to choose from. Some are pretty harmless, but some will drive you into major calorie debt. Try to steer clear of drinks that use multiple liquors or a ton of sugary mixers. These drinks might taste great, but the fun is short-lived and only leads to weight gain. Instead, try using club soda as a mixer. It’s calorie free and sugar free, making it the perfect partner for your vodka or gin. You can even add club soda to wine for a wine spritzer.
4. Drink Water in between Drinks
If you like having a few drinks during happy hour, that’s totally fine! Just remember to pace yourself between drinks. Try having water after each drink to slow yourself down. Keep in mind that alcohol also dehydrates you, so it’s important to drink a glass of water to make up for each alcoholic beverage you consume. This is a great way to keep your calories in check during a spring happy hour!
5. Avoid Salty or Fried Appetizers
What would happy hour be without crispy potato skins, salty Buffalo wings, or cheesy nachos? I know these foods taste great, but they’re not great for you. If you can, avoid appetizers that are fried or full of fat and salt. You might be tempted by the discounted prices at happy hour, but that doesn’t mean you should give in. If you must order something to munch on, have small side salad with oil and vinegar or some baked tortilla chips and salsa. These dishes are affordable and available at almost all bars or restaurants.
6. Spend More Time Socializing
When you go to happy hour, do you and a friend simply gulp drink after drink? Try to change your attitude about happy hour. The point is to not drink a ton and get really wasted, but rather savor an adult beverage while you catch up with friends and coworkers after a cold and harsh winter. So instead of making camp at the bar, walk around and mingle. You’ll end up drinking less and even burn a few calories by staying active.
7. Uphold a Two Drink Max
This tip is a surefire way to survive a spring happy hour. Although you might be having a fantastic time, don’t think that adding tons of alcohol to a fun event will make things better. Sometimes all it takes is one drink too many to go from awesome to awful. Sticking to no more than two drinks per event poses multiple benefits. You stay within a healthy caloric range, plus you keep yourself from getting too sloppy. Save yourself an embarrassing night by drinking water or club soda after you’ve reached your limit.
Dieting doesn’t need to be anti-social. Just because bikini season is around the corner, doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a drink or two with your girls at your favorite happy hour spot. After this crazy cold winter, we could all use an excuse to kick back and enjoy a drink. What are some of your tips for having fun at happy hour without going overboard?