When it comes to game day, the obvious drink of choice is a glass of ice cold beer. Of course, alcohol is not ideal when it comes to healthy eating and weight loss. However, the good news: if consumed in moderation and alongside foods high in protein and fiber, a pint of beer isn't going to spoil your diet. If you're trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, but want to enjoy some suds on game day, these tips will help you stay on track.
With football season in full force, you may have every reason to drink a beer in celebration of America’s favorite sport. But between game day snacks and tailgating fare, it’s easy to get off track from your diet, and washing it all down with an ice cold brew is only going to add more unnecessary calories. But enjoying beer while you're watching your calories can be done. And we can help.
Tips for Beer Drinking on a Diet
- Don't drink on an empty stomach. First of all, depriving yourself of food calories to save room for the beer(s) you intend to drink is probably one of the worst things you can do for yourself. Drinking on an empty stomach can be a recipe for disaster, as the alcohol will cause your blood sugar levels to soar as well as give you a buzz just a little bit quicker. As we all know, impaired judgment might lead you to go for those loaded nachos that you’ve been eyeing all day long. It's a no-win situation.
- Snack often. To avoid overeating because of a buzz, keep healthy, high-protein snacks on hand that will keep you satisfied and fueled throughout the game day. Along with snacks, make sure to be consuming at least one glass of water with every drink. (More is better.) Not only will staying hydrated keep you feeling full, but it will replenish you from all the dehydrating effects of alcohol and ensure that you will wake up tomorrow hangover-free.
- Slow your drinking. Another great way to make sure that your game day beer doesn’t throw your healthy eating off track is to make sure you drink in moderation. Having one drink every day of the week is not the same as having seven drinks in one. Have a game plan, and stick to 2 or 3 beers through your whole day. The more drinks you consume, the more likely the alcohol is to disrupt your blood sugar levels and create a “crash” feeling later on that will have you craving greasy foods and sweets.
- Pick the right beer. With so many different varieties of beer, it’s hard to say which ones are the healthiest option, if any. Light beers are definitely lower in calories, yet sometimes they are also lighter in flavor, thus potentially causing you to overcompensate and drink more. For that reason, drink the beers that you like, as long as you consume in moderation. In terms of calories, the differences aren't great enough to matter.
- Consider ABV. Generally speaking, a beer with a higher alcohol percentage will have more calories and carbs, so it’s best to aim for those that fall under 5% ABV. In some cases, lighter doesn’t necessarily mean healthier. Guinness gets a bad rap because it’s extremely dark and heavy, however one glass comes in at a low 128 calories (~4% ABV). Darker beers typically have more fiber than a lighter beer, as well.
All numbers aside, a couple beers are not going to shatter your day's nutrition goals. As long as you are fueling yourself with healthy, protein rich snacks and plenty of water, you’ll be sure to avoid that end-of-drinking crash, as well as a hangover the next morning. So crack open your favorite brew and cheer on your alma mater, because it's football season.