DILEMMA: You're meeting a bunch of friends for happy hour drinks.
The Devil says: "You don't want to be the dork sipping a diet pop while everyone else is having fun, do you? And go ahead, eat those nachos - they'll keep you from getting smashed and doing something foolish."
The Voice of Reason says: "Sure, it would be nice to unwind with a glass of wine. Grab a handful of peanuts to keep your stomach from growling until you can persuade everybody to hit the bistro next door for a real dinner."
The Solution: Ordering a light beer or wine is a smarter choice than a fruity mixed drink, and not only because beer and wine are significantly lower in calories. If you pick something sweet, you'll probably gulp it down right away and then order another. Limiting your alcohol intake may also help you make better dietary choices: Researchers have found that alcohol triggers an increase in galanin, a compound in the brain that makes you crave fatty food. And though nuts are caloric, they're a healthy choice. Peanuts contain good fats and protein, so they'll take the edge off your hunger. Have a few and you won't be running on empty when fat bombs such as fries and other deep-fried nibbles arrive. And if it looks as if dinner is still several hours away, scan the menu for substantial light bites such as baked potato skins topped with salsa.
"Only Irish coffee provides in a single cup all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat." -- Alex Levine