Your favorite watering hole is a great place to get swept away in a sea of liquid calories, so it’s best to head to happy hour with a game plan. Decide how many drinks you will have—and how many calories you can afford—before you arrive, then order accordingly.
A glass of wine (125 to 150 calories) is generally a smart choice, as long as the glass is moderately sized and isn’t brimming with vino. A light beer is a good pick (the average has about 100 calories), as it contains the same amount of alcohol, but fewer carbs.
Ordering a mixed drink can get dangerous, and not just because of the hangover. Starting with the liquor, the higher the proof, the higher the calorie count. For example, an 80-proof vodka contains 64 calories per ounce while an ounce of 100-proof has 82 calories.
Then come the mixers, which can easily carry any drink into dessert territory (key lime pie martini, anyone?) if you’re not careful. Smart choices are diet soda or tonic water or light fruit juice.
Another sneaky calorie-saving tip is to counter each cocktail with a mocktail, a zero calorie non-alcoholic—but totally authentic-looking—drink, like sparkling water with a twist of lime. It’ll keep you hydrated and your inhibitions in check. Read: No post-bar pizza delivery.