Last night, Victoria (Feel Awesome, Be Awesome’s ace Graphic Designer) and I did some field work on your behalf. We went on an adventure, in order to find the healthiest and most delicious happy hour snacks and drinks.
I’m stoked to share our findings, since summer socializing is in full swing. Here are three tried and true tips that will make sure your happy hour decisions leave you feeling just as happy the next AM:
1. EAT REAL FOOD. I’m gonna repeat that once more so you really absorb it: EAT REAL FOOD! If you eat mostly plant-based, wholesome food that’s found in nature, and not packaged, chemically altered or fried junkers, you will feel amazing. It’s really that simple.
2. DRINK WATER. This one might sound obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in the moment, the snacks, the drink specials, your co-workers jokes, etc. and not make hydrating a priority. Do yourself a favor and have a 2:1 ratio of water:alcohol.
3. PICK ONE. If you decide to indulge, pick one thing, not ALL the things. For example, if you’re at happy hour and your friends order a big plate of fries, and they are your absolute favorite - go for it. But let those fries be the one indulgent thing. Don’t dive in and eat the fries and the chips and the chicken wings and the cheesecake and the bread basket and the onion rings.
Please note that I am obviously not advocating for fries as a health food (though we all wish that I could). Of course your body will be happier if you stay away from fried/sugary/packaged/inflammatory food altogether, but we’re talking about happy hour not a New Year’s cleanse.
Snacking on healthy fats, proteins, and veggies is a foolproof way to have an improved happy hour. Sticking to these food groups will send messages to the brain that you are full, allowing you to think and communicate clearly, and your digestive track will high-five you. On the flip side, eating fried, sugary, chemically enhanced snacks can leave you feeling blurry, moody and bloated.
If you want to make healthy choices and avoid the junk completely, here are some great options:
Enjoy shrimp and oysters. Ditch the fried calamari and onion rings.
Enjoy olives and edamame. Ditch the fries (RIP buddies).
Enjoy summer rolls/fresh rolls. Ditch the fried spring rolls.
Enjoy crudité and hummus/guac/salsa. Ditch the chips.
Enjoy deviled eggs. Ditch the chicken wings.
Enjoy meatball appetizers. Ditch the meat lovers pizza.
Some of you may shudder at the thought of eating healthy fats or think that something like deviled eggs are too caloric. Thankfully, gone are the days of the 1990’s low-fat fad, where Snackwells were considered a health food.
Your body actually needs healthy fats and protein (think eggs, guacamole, hummus, etc) in order for your brain to function properly. You won’t process 100 calories of chocolate chip cookies in the same way that you process and digest 100 calories of deviled eggs. All calories are not created equal, and your system knows the difference!
If you’re ever unsure of how to navigate the snacks, just refer to Tip #1 above.
The healthiest drink options are wine and sake, and thank goodness they are delicious. While some studies show that the resveratrol found in wine is a beneficial antioxidant, those scientists aren’t suggesting that you go overboard.
If you prefer mixed drinks, be mindful of the added ingredients. In addition to the liquor, bartenders often add mixers that are loaded with sugar and chemical dyes. No bueño.
For example, if you order a margarita, inquire about what’s in your drink, besides the obvious tequila. Some bartenders will use freshly squeezed fruit juice rather than mixers (which is good), while some will use a packaged mix (which is bad), so it’s always best to ask. Go a step further and request your drink without the added sugars.
If you prefer liquor over wine and sake, an easy option is liquor plus seltzer or club soda (as in soda water). Steer clear of tonic, which is loaded with sugar and chemicals.
If beer is your drink of choice, I recommend doing some research. Many beer companies, especially the big boys, use high fructose corn syrup and dyes in their beer. This translates to more bloating and eventually packing on the pounds.
Beer typically doesn’t have an ingredient list and sadly the manufacturer easily gets away with the unhealthy additives. Small, local breweries usually incorporate wholesome ingredient practices, but it’s always best to inquire. Thank goodness for the internet!
No matter what you drink, don’t forget about Tip #2.
As always, if you have any questions, want to dive deeper, and think you or someone you love would benefit from coaching support, let’s jump on the phone and jam out!