Beware of Snacks at the Bar

How many of you find your hand wandering towards the bowl of nuts, popcorn, chips, etc. while sitting at your local bar/restaurant? These snacks are usually loaded with calories and fat.  And of course salt to make you thirsty which will encourage you to drink more. These tempting snacks are strategically placed on the bar and can be quite problematic for those people watching their weight.

Like most city girls and guys, my friends and I often socialize over drinks and/or dinner. For some reason lately, I’ve been sitting at the bar (as opposed to standing) when I meet friends for drinks.  Sitting at bars is not a regular occurance for me… but it does happen! This get together tends to happen after work, before I’ve had dinner – and I’m hungry. So I order a glass of wine, get started with “girl talk” and then eventually find my hand reaching for the nearest bowl of snacks. Since I know these tend not to be the healthiest snacks, I rationalize by saying I’ll just have one or two. And I’ll do just that – eat one or two or three … very slowly. Then the effects of the wine kicks in and the rationalizing gets even worse as I tell myself I probably won’t have dinner, so what does it matter if I have a handful of nuts (now it’s a handful…not just one or two).  Before you know it, the bartender is taking away the empty bowl and replacing it with a new full bowl of snacks. And yes, this did happen recently to my friends and I at Rothmans ( with homemade chips) and BLT Steak (with really good flavored almonds).  (pic is of Esther observed with hand reaching towards chips on the bar)

The low down on freebie bar snacks:

– wasabi peas: 1/4 cup = 120 cal/4 gm fat
– almonds: 24 = 160 cal/15 gm fat
– mixed nuts: 1/4 cup = 219/20 gm fat
– hot n’ spicy party mix: 1/2 cup = 180 cal/14 gm fat
– potato chips (often those good homemade kinds!): one ounce (12-15 chips) = 120-150 cal/10-15 gm fat
– popcorn (often the really greasy flavored kind):1 cup = 65 cal/4 gm fat
– hard boiled eggs: one egg = 80 cal/5 gm fat
– olives: one olive = 10 calories

Beware of snacks at the bar

1. Don’t sit or stand at the bar. While I realize these seats are prime real estate, it isn’t worth it to consume 300 calories or more.
2. If you are sitting at the bar, push the bowl of snacks far away from you. This way you will be less tempted to snack.
3. If you are hungry, order a light healthy appetizer at the bar. Many bars (at least the upscale ones) have low cal apps like ceviche and tartare’s.
4. If you know you will be going out for drinks and not dinner, have a light snack before you go out so you won’t be starving. Also, the effects of alcohol will be less likely to hit you so fast.
5. If all else fails, think about the last person who had their hand in the bowl of snacks. Not everyone has clean hands… say no more! I actually find this thought quite helpful in keeping my hands out of the snack bowl.



I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.

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