Friday nights always begin with the best of intentions. You may want to take a load off after a busy workweek, see some friends, or just relax with the aid of a couple drinks. Even if you swear you’ll be in bed by 11 p.m., how many times have two drinks become four and suddenly you’re taking shots, belting out karaoke songs, and chatting up someone who’s name you won’t remember the next day? After a Friday night like this, your Saturday will be filled with guilt, blurry memories, ibuprofen, fried foods, and a comatose Netflix binge.
Fortunately for your liver, not every night has to be like that. You can swing by happy hour, go to the bars, and close down the clubs without waking up feeling like you’re going to die. There is a way to be social and enjoy the weekend without making yourself sick. A healthy and fun night of drinking exists, it just takes some planning and a little willpower.
1. Eat first
If there is one drinking rule to follow it should be to never go out drinking on an empty stomach. Whether it’s a protein bar you grab at the gas station or a full-blown pasta dinner, make sure you eat something substantial before you go out. If you’re meeting co-workers or friends right after work, grab a snack on your way to the bar or pack something ahead of time. Opt for carb-heavy snacks and meals like pasta, potatoes, and chicken that slowly release energy over time to keep you full. Not only will having food in your stomach slow the effects of alcohol, but eating something at a proper hour will help you avoid the temptation of pizza at 2 a.m.
2. Avoid syrups and sugars
How many times have you woken up after an evening full of margaritas with a raging headache? When it comes to mixed drinks and cocktails, you have the power to lessen the degree of pain you’ll inflict on yourself the next day. Always choose soda water, fruit juice, tonic, or even straight water as a mixer rather than Red Bull, soda, or a syrupy mix. Not only will your waistline thank you for skipping on the extra calories, but your hangover danger will be reduced.