The battle between maintaining a healthy diet and attending every single happy hour you are invited to continues to wage on.
However, there exists a world where you can enjoy the best hour of the day while sticking to your healthy eating and drinking habits. We will always stand by the fact that you are entitled to enjoying some delicious and fatty bar food from time to time.
Happy hour deals often include reduced prices for some of the menu’s cheaper and snack-able items. Your goal is to do everything in your power to make the most of your happy hour experience while making healthy choices.
If you are looking for some strategies for your next happy hour, check out our list of healthy happy hour tips. They are sure to at least get you Our goal is to point out some obvious and some not-so-obvious tips to follow the next time you are gettin’ happy.
Table of Contents
1) Stay Hydrated
This healthy happy hour tip is designed with your next morning in mind. We’ve all been to an event that we say we are only going to stay out for an hour and then go home. The next thing you know you are on your way to dinner after Happy Hour and your night is on the fast track to “Hangoverville.”
Mixing in a glass of water after every drink is an excellent way to keep your body happy while cutting down on caloric intake. Substituting your next drink for a sparkling water with a bit of lemon or lime for flavoring can be a great way to have something to hold while at the Happy Hour without worrying about your blood alcohol level.
Suggestion: Make your next drink a water
2) Avoid Sugary Drinks
While out with friends or colleagues at happy hour, you may be convinced to try out the specialty drink that may be strong on flavor but heavy on sugar. Oftentimes the same sugar-filled beverages that we enjoy at happy hour can leave you drowsy, bloated, and with a heavy-duty hangover. It may be an excellent idea to have one if you are feeling inclined, but once you order that second one, beware that you may be headed with a one-way ticket to hangover-ville.
Suggestion: Vodka Soda With Lime
3) Order Healthy Appetizers
Oftentimes when you go out to a local happy hour spot you can fall into the trap that it is all about the beverages. However, local eateries often offer well-priced and delicious snacks and appetizers to munch on while sipping a discounted cocktail. While the happy hour menu can be filled with high caloric crowd pleasers, most restaurants and bars will offer a few options that are healthy and delicious.
Taking a second to peruse the menu and find a good option to snack on can be a healthy happy hour hack that will pay off in the long run. You’ll have a belly full of quality ingredients, and you and your party will be able to try a new appetizer or dish you may not have tried at your local happy hour club.
Pro-Tip: Don’t forget to ask the waiter or host if there are any options that are on the healthy side. Since they are close to the source, they should be able to help you out and give you the low-down on what to snack on and which appetizers you should avoid.
Suggestion: Mix in your drink order with some food
4) Go Non-Alcoholic
While you may be tempted to think your next happy hour is a booze-filled adventure through the town, you may end up feeling the benefits of a good time out with friends -sans alcohol.
This trip through your next happy hour can involve a number of delicious beverages that are zero proof but 100% delicious. Many bars have an arsenal of non-alcoholic alternatives and even more are carrying major alcohol brands that offer 0% ABV.
While we do not recommend downing 3 Coca Colas at the next bar you walk into, there are a number of options on the menu that can avoid serious calorie damage while still giving you something nice to have in your hand.
Pro-Tip: You can go a long way at a happy hour by knowing the right people. Asking the bartender for a delicious and healthy non-alcoholic drink should give them an opportunity to flex their knowledge.
Suggestion: Try ordering a ginger beer with lie juice. You may not be in Moscow with this mule, but it sure will pack a kick.
5) Take Your Next Healthy Happy Hour Virtual
You can take out a lot of guess work out of your night if you plan your next event with friends as a virtual happy hour. With the rise of work-from-home and remote work, almost everyone now has a Zoom or some sort of conference call software on their computer that can help them access your happy hour from the comfort of their couch.
While we do not recommend this solution for every upcoming get-together with the homies, this virtual experience can get a lot of people together without a lot of logistics.
An added benefit is that your healthy virtual happy hour is going to be filled with the food and beverage of your kitchen, which is a place you can easily control. Although it will be a lot harder to wave down a waiter for a plate of nachos, you can plan a head and set up a platter of delicious and healthy bar food for your upcoming virtual happy hour.
Pro-Tip: If things get to busy on a weekday, try out this online experience on a weekend with a virtual tailgate party or a virtual brunch that will get people involved around a common theme and can be a great way to connect with friends who live far away.
Suggestion: Take a few minutes to research a few online party games to play with friends. Games like Skribbl and GeoGuessr are easy to set up and can have your happy hour laughing in minutes. You can also help loosen the group up with an icebreaker question while people log on.
Did we miss any other tips that you have found for your path through the perils of a healthy happy hour?
While it may seem difficult, there are clearly a multitude of ways you can enjoy your favorite hour with friends and colleagues without having to chug down 4 IPAs and a basket of garlic fries.
Not that there is anything wrong with that!