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Seek out seafood happy hour deals to indulge guilt-free (Amanda Shapin)

Four healthy ways to tackle happy hours

Warm weather and post-work sunshine mean one thing, happy hour! Whether you’ve had a long day at the office and are craving a drink, or you're out to celebrate closing that big deal, happy hour is a great way to bond with coworkers and let loose. Even if you’re looking to unwind after a rough day, it doesn’t mean your healthy habits need to unravel as well.

If you’re eating healthy and fighting hard to stay fit, you don’t need to skip out on happy hour and office gossip, be prepared and you’ll leave happy hour feeling refreshed. And your healthy habits may even rub off on a coworker! Here are four strategies to stay strong while you tackle happy hour.

Make a Plan & Stick to it:

Check out the happy hour menu before you go, pick out the healthiest options, and stay committed to your choices. Don’t be lured in by the fried specials or sugary margaritas. By preparing yourself ahead of time, you’ll be less likely to sway towards the unhealthy options because you’ve set up a plan. Even if your coworkers are sharing appetizers, don’t feel shy about ordering your own food. Remember why you’re making these healthy choices and stay true to what you’re working towards.

Find Happy Hours with Healthy Options:

If you’re in charge of scouting the location, do your research and find a restaurant with lighter listings. Seafood restaurants tend to have great healthy options like fresh oysters and tuna tartare. Check out these restaurants featuring guilt-free happy hour options in the D.C. area: Brasserie Beck (half price seafood towers, $1.50 oysters and $1 shrimp), Brine Restaurants ($1 oysters), Clyde’s (50% off raw bar), Sushitaro (half priced regular sushi and drinks). As for drinks, simple is best; go for a glass of wine or a basic mixed drink of liquor and soda water. Make sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water between rounds.

Go Off Menu:

For those restaurants that don’t offer healthy happy hour selections, go off menu. Sure, the wings and fries are only $5, but does that mean you want them? You probably splurged on a $14 salad for lunch, so why bargain hunt at happy hour? Don't feel pressured to order off the happy menu just because it's a steal. It’s about choosing the foods that you’ll enjoy and won’t throw your diet off track, and those items might not be on the happy hour menu. Splurge a few extra bucks if there’s a better option on the regular menu.

Find Alternate Happy Hour Options:

There are other ways to let off steam and bond with coworkers that aren’t grabbing drinks at the nearest bar. Instead of defaulting to drinks, look for a fun workout to do together or take a long walk to enjoy the nice weather and catch up on the move. After your workout or walk, you can then grab that much-needed glass of wine, you’ll feel much better indulging after a workout.

A happy hour that you can leave feeling good? Cheers to that!