The days of eating or drinking whatever you want without consequences often leave you high-and-dry sometime in your twenties. One of the first things people typically start cutting back on when they begin to revamp their health-based habits is carbs.

This gets tricky quickly, because carbs consume so much of a night out for a lot of people. Between drinking hotspots and fast food chains, it’s hard to find late night hangs that don’t have carbs as their primary source of digestible product. That said, how can you maintain a social life while cutting back on carbs? We have some solutions you may find helpful!

Plan Ahead

If you have an idea of where you’re eating before you go out, do some research before you get there. There are plenty of healthier options you can take advantage of while going out to eat — you may just not know what they are yet.

Low Carb Foods

If you’re looking for some low carb meal suggestions, here’s a few common ingredients we recommended:

  • Salmon or shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts
  • Beef, chicken, or lamb

Keep in mind, even while on a low carb diet, that lowering your carb counts can be dangerous (or even counterproductive) if you’re not careful. In lowering carb counts, make sure you’re tracking how much fat, protein, and calories you’re consuming, so you can be sure you’re getting enough of each.

Popular Restaurants with Online Nutritional Info

Just about every restaurant has a website with an online menu, and many have started including calorie counts as well. This allows you to plan ahead, so you don’t have to worry about changing the plans for your diet, or stumbling through a menu and asking for special orders.

Some popular restaurants with nutrition info on their websites are:

  • Olive Garden
  • Red Robin
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Chili’s
  • PF Changs

Low Carb Fast Food

Your friends want to hit a local fast food joint, and you’re hungry, but you forgot to eat before you got there. Don’t worry, if you stay in the know, you should be able to land something low on carbs but good for you nonetheless. Here are some low carb options from popular fast food joints.

  • Baja Fresh – The Original Baja Taco
  • Power Menu – Chicken Bowl
  • KFC – Grilled Chicken
  • Burger King and McDonalds – Burgers without buns or ketchup
  • Most salads (omit the dressing or other high carb add-ons)

Going to a restaurant not listed here? Then take this to heart: cut back on bread products, avoid breaded and fried meat, and incorporate less starches and more veggies into your fast food meals. Oh, and a little less sauce never hurt anyone!

Not All Alcohol is High in Carbs.

We all know that too much alcohol can make you gain weight. Even one serving of alcohol can have 85 calories in it. However, if you’re looking to shave off some carbs, there are some drinks to try, and others to avoid.

Beer

  • Keystone Light — 4.2 g
  • Miller Lite — 3.2 g
  • Busch Light — 3.2 g
  • Natural Light — 3.2 g
  • Coors Light — 4.2 g

Wine

  • Dry Wines — under 1 g/glass
  • Champaign — 1 g/glass
  • Red Wine — 2 g/glass
  • White Wine — 2 g/glass

Liquors

  • Whiskey shot — 0g
  • Tequila shot —  0g
  • Gin and tonic — 16g
  • Vodka soda — 0g
  • Margarita — 8g

Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to get a drink nearly anywhere that is low carb. However, don’t think you have to drink to participate socially either. If you need a reason to drink less, there’s absolutely no shame in being a designated driver.

Portion Control

No matter what you’re eating, portion control is important because it tips the scales toward calorie output rather than input. Some people would say that it’s the most important part of losing weight. It may be argued more reasonably that it’s the easiest part of balancing carb control with your social life.

See, portion control allows you to not change the food in your diet as much as it does the amounts you eat. Examples of portion control could include:

  • Drinking slower
  • Ordering less food
  • Drinking more water or only water
  • Splitting orders
  • Skipping appetizers and deserts

By doing so, you will be able to eat less without changing the course of your night.

Ultimately, carb control and a social life are nowhere near incompatible, regardless of how you feel. Take heart the next time you feel discouraged, just remember that neither your social life nor your quest for a healthy body and mind have to end!

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