Happy hour business conceptAh, happy hour. If your job is stressful—and whose isn’t from time to time—happy hour can be the one thing you look forward to all day. But, take it easy. Otherwise, you’re likely to set yourself back with pounds gained. Are multiple margaritas really worth all that hard work you put in at the gym last week? Here’s your happy hour survival guide so that you can have the cocktails without the guilt.

Skip the Flavored Drinks

If you’re a fan of flavored drinks, that might be where you really get into trouble (and sacrifice all of your hard work at the gym!) Drinks that contain sugar rimmed glasses, flavored margaritas (mango margaritas, etc.) or shots that contain whipped cream and caramel drizzle are calorie pitfalls.

Along with a buzz, you may be seriously adding to your waistline—up to an extra 1,000 calories worth! Mojitos and sangrias are delicious, but all contain added sugar—much more than you need for a couple of drinks with your buddies. Instead of already flavored drinks, stick to a flavored vodka (raspberry vodka has only about 95 calories per 1.5 ounces, or rum, which also has 95 calories.)

Friends At Happy HourBe Weary of Cheap Drink Specials

Cheap drink specials are tempting to order, especially since you think you’re getting a steal, and with the ability to drink twice as much for the price of one. However, happy hour specials are meant to be enticing, so that you’ll order ‘filler drinks’ – those drinks that are chocked full of sugar and carbs.

Unfortunately, they are loaded with everything you don’t want, if staying on track with your fitness and weight loss goals is important to you. Skip the cranberry and vodka cocktails (8 ounces of cranberry juice has over 30 grams of sugar!). Instead, stick to your favorite 1.5 ounce of liquor which contains just 100 calories per serving. What’s your poison—rum, tequila, vodka, or whisky? Add a twist of lime to it, and on the rocks.

The Truth About Wine and Beer

While you may be a red wine or dark beer connoisseur, go easy. The truth about these types of drinks is that they don’t just contain calories that you need to monitor—but carbs. As a rule of thumb, five ounces of wine contain 4 grams of carbs (or more) and 120 calories. Beer depends (whether you’re drinking a darker beer which contains about 130 calories and 20 grams of carbs, whereas a light beer contains 110 calories and 7 grams of carbs.)

The next time you head to happy hour, do your best to plan ahead. Eat a small, healthy snack before you get to the restaurant so you don’t give in to the fried mushrooms or chicken quesadillas. If you do stick to ordering food, opt for a higher nutrient punch, such as a veggie and hummus spread. Stick to liquor based drinks instead of fruity, discounted beverages and you’ll save calories, save on your budget and on your waistline!