1. Never go hungry.
Have an apple with a slather of natural peanut butter before you head out for a drink. You'll be far less likely to reach for the fried mozzarella sticks or pigs in blankets if you've already had something filling.
2. Send a gift.
Donate the basket of chips to the guys at the far end of the bar. If snacks are right in front of your nose, you'll automatically reach for them. And the salty stuff will make you drink faster and more. Duh! That's why the bartender put it there!
3. Look around.
To avoid reaching into the bowl of beer nuts, just observe for a few minutes the characters who are reaching their grubby paws into the same bowl. Now consider that they have done so after using the toilet. (It's okay, they've washed their hands, right? Right…?) Not so hungry for those nuts anymore, are you?
4. Order a chaser.
After every beer or cocktail, order a large glass of ice water. It will fill up your belly, calorie-free, and you'll automatically consume half the number of drinks—or fewer—than you would without the agua advantage. Plus it will help you stay hydrated.
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5. Stay off the bar stool.
Play a game of pool. Standing burns 1.7 times more calories than sitting. And if you play pool or darts instead of sitting close to the bar, you'll slow down your rate of drinking, you'll be active, and you'll refill less frequently than if you were right next to the bartender.
6. Avoid drinks that come with tiny umbrellas.
Tropical rum drinks and cocktails like margaritas and mojitos pack a caloric wallop thanks to the heavy-duty sugar infusion from the sweet mixers. A piña colada, for example, contains about 392 calories, versus around 145 for a beer or 95 for a vodka tonic (80 proof) made with diet tonic.
7. Choose drinks that come with vegetables.
Order a Bloody Mary, extra spicy, with double celery and a carrot stick. A 10-ouncer in a highball glass sports about 125 calories, but with it you're getting lycopene and fiber from the tomato juice and low-cal vegetables to munch on. Plus, the spice will cause you to sip more slowly and slightly increase your metabolism.