Let's face it: When all of your homies are meeting up after a long day of work, it is almost impossible to say no to the invite because of your 6 pm gym class.
In fact, spending an evening with your besties is good for you. It releases endorphins, the same hormone that is released in the body when you exercise.
But if you make the conscious decision to skip your cardio session at the gym, then you should also make the decision to drink semi-responsibly.
Here are the ways to drink and make sure you can still fit into those skinny jeans:
1. Lose the added sugar.
If you haven’t heard by now, sugar can cause some serious mental and physical health issues.
Not only is sugar a major culprit when it comes to expanding waistlines, but is also now being investigated as being detrimental to depression and anxiety.
Alcohol has enough sugar on its own, and it's definitely not necessary to add more sugar to your drink.
If you love specialty cocktails, order the drink like you normally would, but simply tell the bartender, “No simple syrup,” or “No agave."
If you like your drinks simple with just a mixer and liquor, try the tried-and-true vodka with club soda.
Club soda is sugar-free and hydrating, which is a definite plus when you're drinking.
Missing that fruity flavor? Add a slice of lemon or orange to your drink.
Tricks like this save you a lot of calories and sugars, which play a major role in that awful hangover you usually get the next morning.
2. Hydrate between drinks.
Happy hour can get pretty dangerous due to low prices and a fleeting time frame.
In-between drinks, try to order a club soda or water.
This is essential to pacing yourself when drinks can cost less than a one-way Metrocard.
No one will know it doesn't contain liquor, and you won’t show up at your morning meeting the next day with a bacon egg and cheese in one hand and a bottle of aspirin in the other.
Hangovers happen when your body becomes dehydrated, and this is easily preventable if you make sure to switch between club soda or water every other drink you consume.
3. Avoid the nachos.
I know that this is the hardest one to handle.
Drinking inhibits your judgement, and when you otherwise wouldn’t dive head first into a plate of disco fries, consuming booze makes you hungry.
Ultimately, you crave greasy, fried food.
Luckily, there are a few solutions for this.
Order a healthier option with a buddy before you even take a look at the menu. This way, you aren’t the only one not indulging in those fried buffalo wings.
I promise that someone else out of the crew is trying to make healthier choices, too.
By splitting a veggie-filled sandwich or grilled chicken skewers, you can easily avoid making an unhealthy choice.
Another option is to eat before you go.
If you are anticipating someone rallying your coworkers for 5 pm drinks, bring a healthy (and filling) snack to work and eat beforehand.
4. Have happy hour at home.
This is my all-time favorite option because it saves your waistline and money.
When you are making your own drinks, you can completely control what goes into them.
Just like how cooking at home is healthier than eating at a restaurant because you are in charge of all ingredients that go into your meal, you can infuse your own liquors with fruit or veggies for some amazing flavor, without the artificial additives that make up the flavored liquors you find at the bar.
Have a blender?
Add blueberries and strawberries into a sweeter wine to make my signature “Berry New York” Wine Slushie.
Ask your buddies to help out and bring light snacks to take all the pressure of you for hosting.
These super easy happy hour hacks are not hard to implement in your busy life, and you will noticeably look and feel better than you had from your usual morning after happy hour.