Happy hour is a fun time to step out of the normal work flow and hang out with coworkers and friends. But it can snowball into an unexpectedly drunken night.
I like alcohol. Most people think I don’t because I am very firm with the times I enjoy a cocktail or beer. If it’s a night out dedicated to getting buzzed/drunk, go for it! But this is for those who want to enjoy alcohol without overdoing it. Here are some tips to stay healthy and survive happy hour:
- Start with water. Starting with water ensures that you stay hydrated (happy hour doesn’t usually last just an hour). After your first beverage alternate it with water (water, alcohol, water, etc). The extra water will help crowd out all the alcohol. Remember that reasoning is the first thing to go with alcohol. Delaying that helps 😉
- Save alcohol for after food. Eating snacks or appetizers at happy hour is the norm. Instead of pairing food with alcohol, stick to water. Here’s why: (1) you won’t be consuming a calorie beverage with food which helps you moderate excess calories and (2) you’re just washing your food down anyway! Save your beverage(s) for after eating so you can enjoy it unadulterated by food. Plus, you’ll be full. Listen to that fullness cue and it will help with portion control.
- Choose champagne, a light beer, or simple cocktails. There are lighter options when it comes to alcohol, which is helpful if you’re trying not to overdo it in calories. Champagne is about 80 calories as compared to about 120-140 calories for wine (5 oz of each). If you want a cocktail, opt for simple ones like vodka soda with lime. Fun fact: tonic water is flavored with a syrup, so beware!
- Order sparkling water with lime. It looks like alcohol but it isn’t! Please don’t call it a “mock-tail”. That’s not cool.
- Set a daily/weekly maximum and stick to it! Guidelines for daily moderation is 1 alcoholic beverage for women and 2 for men. 1 serving is: 1 oz of liquor, 5 oz of wine, and 12 oz of beer. In addition to sticking to this, set a weekly limit: like 3-4/week max. If you don’t use it, you lose it a.k.a. you can’t save it all for Saturday.
- Schedule something for after happy hour. It’s a legitimate excuse to leave and to not drink/overdo it. Coming home to work out and have dinner with my hubby is what I look forward to most after work. My family is important to me. So, I make that a priority to come home at a reasonable hour. I also try my best to be consistent with exercise so I normally don’t drink. It’s a personal choice and commitment. My schedule is already against me. I’d rather not make alcohol the reason I miss a workout or dinner at home.
As much as I understand the social expectation to go to happy hour and drink, I often go to happy hour and don’t drink because of my commitments after work. I accept any judgments my coworkers may have about me but I’m 100% okay with that. Plus, it’s not like I never drink with them 🙂 I do on occasion when I have a hankering for a tasty strong cocktail.
Drink responsibly, friends!
Thomas Ngo RD