Social situations, especially those involving alcohol, can be one of the biggest challenges when your goal is to live a healthy lifestyle. If you say “no” to social events, you are defining your lifestyle as being non-sustainable long term. Instead, say “YES!” Going to happy hours, events and doing the things you love will build confidence that you can enjoy your usual level of social activity and still make good food choices.
Let’s face it…most social events are filled with alcoholic beverages and calorie packed snacks. It’s important that you go in with a game plan. Drinking alcohol can reduce your willpower to stay focused on eating healthy food, so decide how many drinks you are going to have before you go and stick to it! After all, you don’t want to sabotage all the hard work you’ve put in during the week with one social event.
Our Best Tips For Successfully Navigating Social Events
Don’t Go Hungry
Always eat a balanced meal or a snack packed with lean protein and lots of veggies before you arrive. This will keep you feeling full and less tempted to order food out of convenience. You can also bring a healthy snack with you in case hunger strikes.
Dodge Appetizer Pitfalls
When your friends are ordering thing like fries, wings, quesadillas and nachos, look on the menu for healthier options. Things like guacamole or hummus with veggies, grilled chicken skewers, shrimp cocktail or a salad are much better choices. Ask for a small plate and limit yourself to only one plate of food. This will help you to avoid grazing on the other appetizers that are on the table.
Avoid Mindless Eating
If there are chips, bread, popcorn or nuts on the bar or table, ask the bartender/waiter to remove them or move them out of your reach. Out of sight, out of mind!
Order a tall glass of water every time you order an alcoholic drink. Be sure to finish your water before you order another drink. This will slow down the effects of alcohol and keep you hydrated and feeling full.
If your plan is only to order one or two drinks, ask the waiter to cash you out. Stick to water or soda water the rest of the evening.
Non Alcoholic Options
If you want to avoid drinking altogether, order a soda water with lime or a diet coke with lime in a short glass. Others will think you are drinking and this takes off any social pressures you might feel.
Avoid High Calorie Mixers
Mixers often contain lots of added calories and sugar. Choose a light mixer like club soda and add flavor by squeezing in a lime or orange. Light beer or wine are also good choices.
If you are sharing a bottle of wine, be cautious of refills. These can add up and you can lose track of how much you have been drinking.
Volunteer to be the DD
Another way to avoid drinking is to offer to be the designated driver. Not only will this ensure your friends arrive home safely, but you won’t wake up the next day tired or with a hang over.
Let your friends and family know that you are making changes to live a healthier lifestyle and that you aren’t planning to drink. You might be surprised that your friends will support your decision.
Social events are a chance to spend time with friends and family. Enjoy yourself, laugh and relax.
Our Favorite Lower Calorie Drink Options
Beers like Corona Light, Bud Select 55, Michelob Ultra, Coors Light, Bud Light, Sam Adams Light, Omission Lager (GF) and Fat Tire have less than 160 calories.
Consider ordering one 6oz glass instead of sharing a bottle.
- 1 shot of vodka (1.5oz)
- Soda water
- Fresh lime juice
- Splenda or Stevia
Lower Sugar Mojito
- 1 shot rum (1.5 oz)
- Soda water
- 6 mint leaves
- Fresh lime juice
- Ask for half the sugar or leave out the sugar and sweeten it yourself with Stevia or Splenda
“Skinny” Cuba Libre
- 1 shot rum (1.5oz)
- Diet coke
- 3oz chilled wine
- 2oz club soda
Want more tips or advice on nutrition or more information about staying on track with other real world situations like eating out? Contact FitFlex Nutrition to learn about our Nutrition Coaching services.