How to Scale Back at Happy Hour and Brunch
By Danielle Michels
Yeah, yeah New York City has great pizza, but here in D.C. we have entire meal times that are infinitely more delicious than any slice of pizza, for example brunch and happy hour (yes, I regard happy hour as a meal time).
And although these two D.C. food-time staples are something we can all regard with fondness (because who doesn’t love all-you-can-drink mimosas?) I think we can all agree brunches and happy hours can get the best of not just our wallets, but our waistlines, too.
So if you’re starting to feel a little more doughy lately, like all those chocolate croissants you’ve been eating, here’s some tips to scale back:
Don’t Take The Words “Bottomless” and “Endless” to Heart
I get it that we all want to get our money’s worth whenever we pay for the bottomless chips and guac or the brunch buffet, but just because we can doesn’t mean we should.
Pace yourself and take little portions of the things you want. Just like you’re supposed to eat slowly through other meals so your brain can come to the natural realization that you’re full before you’ve actually stuffed yourself, the same thing goes for happy hours and brunch.
Yes, you read that correctly. Before you hit the bar or the buffet, make sure you’ve had something to eat.
We’ve all experienced heading out to happy hour feeling a little hungry, so we’ll split some wings or nachos (and by split I mean, you let your friend have one or two) and then you fill up on a few beers, and before you know it you’ve actually consumed enough calories to make a whole meal, even though you still fully intend to eat dinner later.
Or how about the times you head to brunch starving because you deprived yourself of breakfast?
Let’s stop kidding ourselves, brunch is just lunch where we let ourselves be okay with eating indulgent breakfast food later than normal and drinking at noon.
I’m not saying you can’t order that cocktail or have the meal you want, but don’t go there with an empty stomach where your natural instinct to overeat sets in.
And remember, take-out boxes exist for a reason, it’s okay to not finish your meal and ask for one.
Pick One Indulgence
Happy hours and brunches in and of themselves are an indulgence in my opinion. We really shouldn’t be doing happy hours every night of the week or brunch every single weekend, but to each their own.
However, if you are going to indulge in these events more often, you’ve got to make healthier choices while you’re attending.
Thankfully, many of D.C.’s hotspots are putting locally-sourced, fresh and health-conscious items on the menu, so choosing an item that doesn’t break the caloric bank isn’t too difficult if you go to good places. Find a salad loaded with vegetables or make sure to get a side of protein and vitamin-rich eggs with your short stack of pancakes.
Not only will hosting your own happy hour or brunch ease up the tightness of your wallet, but anytime you make things at home your work pants will be less tight, too.
Obviously hosting your own brunch or happy hour isn’t exactly comparable to a restaurant in D.C., but you may find it’s actually a fun change of pace to host people at your place.
Have everyone B.Y.O.B. or bring a dish for a brunch potluck and I think you’ll find that it’s not just a nice alternative to your regular ritual, but you’ll not feel like you did as much damage to your body since it’s easier to make healthy choices from home.