SolveYourProblem Article Series: Weight Loss & Dieting
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14 Ways To Stick To Your Diet During Happy Hour

Happy hour is a post workday tradition for many Americans, but those fun calories can add up quickly. Consider these options for sticking to your diet when visiting a bar or opting for other alternatives for the after work get-together.

Nutritious Bar Foods

1. Select soy. Edamame and veggie burgers can turn happy hour into a low calorie early dinner. You'll get plenty of good quality protein and vitamins. With the rest of the evening free, you can even take a run when you get home.

2. Opt for seafood. Oysters and shrimp may be high in cholesterol, but they're also good sources of low fat protein. Just watch out for the high sodium cocktail sauces. Mussels are another smart choice if you skip the French fries on the side.

3. Nibble on olives and other vegetables. Olives are high in fat but it's the monounsaturated version that's good for your heart. Cut vegetables make an excellent snack as long as you avoid the breaded and fried varieties.

4. Order the hummus platter. Hummus can also be the center of a balanced meal. Just remember pita chips may be just as fattening as potato chips.

5. Indulge in pizza. Pizza is fine for an occasional treat. Plain slices or vegetable toppings are better for your waistline than pepperoni or sausage. Plus multi-grain crust is a whole lot more wholesome than white crust.

6. Have some nuts. Portion control makes nuts a great snack. An ounce of almonds or walnuts has less than 200 calories.

Drinking Wisely

1. Drink in moderation. Moderate drinking is considered one drink per day for women and two for men. Keep in mind that many bar drinks contain more than one serving of alcohol, which is about 12 grams. That's equivalent to 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

2. Recognize the highest-calorie cocktails. White Russians and Long Island ice teas have as many calories as a whole meal. Think twice about any drink with cream or extra alcohol.

3. Pick slimmer cocktails. Rum and diet coke has less than 100 calories. Bloody Mary's are only about 120 calories and you'll get some vitamin C.

4. Drink light beer or wine. Red wine and white wine both have only about 100 calories a glass. Most light beers are about the same.

5. Switch to non-alcoholic beverages. You can always enjoy hanging out while you stick to water or diet soda. Drinking plenty of water may also help you resist the temptation to eat more.

Additional Suggestions

1. Suggest alternative activities. Focus on spending time with your colleagues and unwinding after work rather than on drinking alcohol. You could go out for frozen yogurt or take in an early movie or concert. Local gyms or yoga studios will likely give you a discount if you ask about bringing in a group.

2. Enlist your employer. Studies show that positive relationships at work can improve productivity and worker satisfaction. Talk with your boss about coordinating after-work events. Many organizations offer free guest speakers on topics like wellness or financial management. You might also use the conference room to watch a movie or the parking lot to serve up a taco bar.

3. Avoid drinking and driving. It's always best to drink in moderation but it's even more important when you're planning to drive. If you think there's any chance that you will drink to excess, pick a designated driver or make other transportation arrangements in advance.

Happy hour is great way to boost morale among co-workers and switch gears between the office and home while you sit out the rush hour traffic. Order carefully at the bar if you're watching calories or try some new activities for your next after work get-together.

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