Healthy Social Hour
By Bree D'Aleo
It’s been a busy week; you want to share the latest news with your friends and rant about your problems at work. So, what do you and your friends do? Happy hour! Who doesn’t want to socialize over cheap tapas and cheap drinks? Very few. However, happy hour with friends can quickly turn into a calorie-filled, binge worthy “meal.” Most happy hour menus aren’t necessarily the healthiest and usually include wings, fried food concoctions, cheesy flatbreads, mac n’ cheese, and bacon wrapped something-or-other. Of course, happy hour is okay in moderation, but when it’s occurring on a regular basis - two to three times per week - then it’s important to make healthier food and drink choices.
So, where can you start? Vegetables. Ask your server if they can do a hummus and vegetable platter. You would be surprised, most restaurants offer this as an option. If that’s not an option, ask your server if the chef can prepare seasoned and sautéed vegetables - that’s sure to pack a healthy and flavorful punch. Vegetables are a low calorie way to fill you up while enjoying drinks and chatting it up with your friends. Also, brussels sprouts are on most restaurant menus these days. Read the description and if they are sauteed in a heavy sauce, ask for the sauce on the side, or maybe disregard the sauce altogether. Another healthy option is a salad; just be sure to ask for dressing and sauces on the side.
Margaritas and a glass of vino are always a top pick at happy hour. But, those are chock full of sugar and add calories very quick. So, if you just can’t kick those dink choices to the curb, ask if the margarita can be made less sweet so that you’re not filling up on calories from all the sugar. When it comes to wine, maybe you choose to drink one glass instead of two glasses. Or if you really like your wine, and you’re a regular happy hour attendee, try having one glass on one night and switch up your drink the next time with a vodka and soda water. Soda water has no calories, but pairs well with hard alcohol (vodka, tequila, gin) and a squeeze of fresh lime. Less sugar and additives means less calories.
Keep on your health grind with these easy substitutions without sacrificing taste, fun, and your goals!
Cheers to a healthy happy hour, everyone.