5 Tips for Healthy Happy Hour Drinking

5 Healthy Happy Hour Drink Swaps

To happy hour or not to happy hour, that is the question…if you are striving to live a healthy lifestyle that is.

The truth is you can enjoy an adult beverage from time to time without the typical stereotype of being loose-lipped while you throw back drink number 4 or feeling #fullofregret the following day while you write down your liquid calorie intake in your food journal. Two for one deals can lead to absent minded drinking, but happy hour doesn’t have to be an all-out diet disaster if you are making smart beverage choices.

Continue to attend the after work drink ritual and also keep your calories in check with these 5 tips to ordering when HH pops up:

Beer Lovers Rejoice

You don’t have to avoid your favorite brew if you are watching your carb intake. Many light beers are under 110 calories and have less than 6 grams of carbs. Plus those beer bottle have an added bonus: portion control. You know exactly how much you are getting in each bottle.

Wine is a Winner

Skip the sugary cocktails and indulge in wine. No matter who is pouring, 5 ounces of red or white will be about 120 calories per glass. Just don’t do this:

Nix Tonic

Tonic water is empty sugar calories. If you want to order a mixed drink order club soda/seltzer and leave soda, juices and tonic in the dust.

Put on Your Sombrero for Freshly-Made Margaritas

If you must have a margarita then say no to frozen and have the bartender mix you up the original. Freshly-made margaritas are a great choice if they come from real ingredients like lime and tequila, but pre-made mixes are straight up sugar, dye and fake Mexican flavor.

Keep it Simple

Fancy-schmancy drink names can lure you in, but simpler is better. Specialty cocktails fool you into sipping a McDonald’s caloric meal through a straw. Make a point to check the calories of said drink (via your smart phone!) before you order.

Like all healthy dining habits, moderation is key. Keep track of how many drinks you consume just like you would if you were having dinner in a restaurant. If you frequent happy hour, challenge yourself to keep your drink intake to single digits for an entire week. The added pressure will ensure you keep happy hour HAPPY and HEALTHY!

If all else fails, you can always go to happy hour at the spa. Different crowd and a manicure! Win.

What is your go to happy hour drink? Have you made adjustments for healthier beverage consumption? 


  1. Good tips! A friend of mine was shocked when I told her my glass of wine was far less caloric than a Cosmo:)
    Lucky for me I love wine!
    The spa happy hour tip is great to-drinking is so woven into our culture that it is quite refreshing to have nights on the town that don’t involve needing a designated driver…

    • I am always surprised on what people “think” is healthy. That is why I am so glad to be sharing information to help people make wiser choices! Thanks for the comment Ellen. You are always very insightful.


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