How to Survive.....Watching a Boxing Match at a Sports Bar

I'm starting a new series of survival guides for a variety of situations.  What inspired this, you may ask?  Two things, really.  First, I want to go out to watch the Mayweather vs. Cotto fight tonight and that entails some serious bar time.  Second, awesome boyfriend and I are big football fans which means most Sundays in the fall we spend the day out surrounded by tempting chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, cheese steaks, and of course, beer.  Right now I'm going to focus on the situation at hand.  We'll get to football Sundays in the fall because a 1:00 game is really a different animal than a 9:00 boxing match.  That being said, here we go.

I know they're being hard, but does anybody else always feel like
they're about to kiss when this happens?

Time is the first factor you need to figure out.  How long are you going to be at the bar?  Controlling carbs for 2 hours is much easier than controlling them for 7.  The fight starts tonight at 9PM which means we need to get there by 7:30 or so if we want to sit down.  You may be able to shave some time off here, but I like to have a good seat so I'm willing to go a little bit early.  You should also know that the main event doesn't happen right away.  There are about two hours of side cards and grandstanding that take place before the good stuff even gets going.  Now we are up to around 11:00 PM. If the fight is a knock out, it will be over quick, but this one probably won't be.  Longer fights can take between 60 and 90 minutes.  Let's split the difference and say that we will be done around midnight.  That means that I need to keep my alcohol intake low and my carb intake negligible for 5 hours.  I don't know about you, but that's longer than I care to go without eating, so we need to plan for food.

Let's talk alcohol.  The good news is that there are many alcohol options that have few or no carbs.  If you're drinking beer, anything in the lighter than light category is a good choice.  This includes Bud Select (3.1 carbs), Michelob Ultra (2.6 carbs), Miller 64 (2.4 carbs), and the big winner- Bud 55 at just 1.9 carbs.  Not all bars carry these beers, or maybe you are a manly man and don't want to order a lighter than light beer.  There are still several acceptable options.  Natural Light (3.2 carbs), Busch Light (3.2 carbs), and Miller Lite (3.2 Carbs) are all good choices.  What if you're only planning to have one or two beers and no food?  Then you can afford to splurge a little with Bud Light (6.6 carbs), Coors Light (5.3 carbs), Leinenkugel Light (5.7 carbs), Michelob Light (6.7 carbs), Sam Adams Light (9.7 carbs), or Yuengling Light (6.6 carbs).  Anything other than that and I'm afraid you're getting into double digits, which is not on the plan.

This information was pulled from Beer100.com.  You can get a complete list (including calorie counts) here.  

Vodka soda with limes is my go to drink.  
Are you a liquor drinker?  That's even better!  You have lots of choices that clock in at zero carbs.  Does this mean you have a license to go wild?  Of course not; you know better than that.  But it does mean that you won't completely derail your diet if you indulge.  Most flavorless gin, whiskey, tequila, white rum, or vodka has no carbs.  These can be mixed with any no or low carb mixer, including seltzer water, diet soda, diet cranberry juice, Redbull Total Zero, or sugar free sour mix.  Now, here's the conundrum.   Any bar should have seltzer water and diet cola.  Sugar free juice is available sometimes.  Redbull Total Zero just hit the market so I expect to see it in the next year or so, but it's not totally saturated yet.  And you can just forget about sugar free sour mix.  If you have a good relationship with your bartender (or if you are shameless like me) you might be able to bring your own.  Make sure to leave a nice tip if you are asking for special service.

Quick tips for liquor:

  1. Even though tonic water is clear, it's loaded with carbs and has as many calories as a Coke!  Don't drink it!  If the bartender accidentally gives you tonic instead of soda water send it back.  
  2. If it comes out of a blender don't drink it.  Period.  Mudslides, daiquiris, margaritas, and the like are loaded with sugar and will send your blood sugar into a tailspin.  
  3. Orange juice is off limits.  I love a screwdriver as much as the next girl, but it has too much sugar.  
  4. Be careful with flavored vodkas and rums.  Some of them still have zero carbs, but some have added sugar.  Make sure to do your research before you leave the house.  I once ordered a diet Coke with Bacardi Apple thinking that rum was carb free and later found out that a shot of Bacardi Apple has 3 carbs.  
  5. All Absolut vodkas- even the flavored ones- have zero carbs.  If you want a flavor, you can order one of these with confidence.  The same is true for Grey Goose flavors.   
  6. Do you like tequila?  Ask the bartender for a short glass with a salted rim, ice, and a shot of tequila.  Squeeze a few limes in there and you'll have a mini margarita.  Lime juice does have carbs, so don't go overboard, but the carbs from one squeezed lime wedge will be negligible.  
  7. A trick I always use is to order my drinks in a tall glass.  This means that you won't get more liquor, but you will get more soda water or cola.  This tends to slow me down, make my drinks last longer, and keep my total alcohol intake lower for the night.  
  8. I know this is kind of lame, but I always order a water with my drinks when I'm sitting at a bar.  I don't follow the one glass of water per drink rule because that is just too much, but I do try to sip on it throughout the night.  

But what about the food?  8:00ish is dinner time for me, so I'm definitely going to be eating while I am there.  Awesome boyfriend and I like to visit a bar called Loafers here in Baltimore.  That's where we are going to watch the fight tonight, so that's the menu I'm going to talk about today.  They have lots of great low carb options.  You can see the menu here.

I love lemon pepper.  And blue cheese.  
Wings are almost always a safe choice.  The fried chicken itself has no carbs, hot sauce has about 1 carb per 1-2 Tablespoons.  Any dry rub such as salt and vinegar, jerk, Cajun, lemon pepper, or Old Bay is going to have zero carbs.  Ranch and blue cheese both have 1-2 carbs for a 2 Tablespoons or so, so no harm there.  Stay away from sweet sauces like teriyaki, sweet chili, barbecue, or honey mustard, and you should be fine. Make sure that the wings are not breaded!  One place that does this is Hooters.  If you don't know, ask your waitress.

Chili is an okay choice depending on the beans.  Beans are pretty high in carbs so you'll have to pick them out.  It there are only a few no big deal, but if the chili is mostly beans it's not going to be worth it.  Again, ask your waitress.  Good news for chili is you can have sour cream and cheese on top.

Salads are typically a good choice in any restaurant.  Make sure that they hold the croutons!  Feel free to order ranch, blue cheese, or Italian dressing.  Stay away from anything sweet like a honey mustard or a French.  An average tomato contains between 5 and 8 carbs, so take it easy on the tomato wedges, but a couple if okay.  Feel free to pile chicken, steak, or seafood on your salad as long as it isn't breaded and fried.  Sorry friends, but a fried chicken salad (although delicious) is a big no no.

Sandwiches you can pretty much stay away from.  Burgers are okay if you don't mind eating them with a fork instead of a bun.  Remember, ketchup has sugar so it's off limits.  Pizza?  I think you already know the answer to that.  Same with the pasta.

Steamed shrimp are great for a low carb diet.  You
can have as much Old Bay and butter as you want.
A little cocktail sauce is okay, but take it easy.  
Grilled steaks, chicken, and seafood are great choices.  Plus, they're usually pretty big meals which will keep you going for the five hours that you're going to be at the bar.  Make sure if they come topped with onions that they are grilled, not fried onion rings.  Also, beware of chicken and seafood with the word 'crusted' in the title.  This always means coated with bread crumbs.

The best thing that this bar has to offer a low carber is the seafood.  You can choose from broiled scallops, grilled shrimp, salmon, flounder, steamed shrimp, and mussels.  You can have as much butter as you want but take it easy on the cocktail sauce which is ketchup based.  By far the best thing on the menu at Loafers are the crabs.  They come out whole, steamed, covered in Old Bay, and with a huge side of butter.

Acceptable sides are salad, asparagus, celery sticks, and broccoli.  Cole slaw is sometimes okay, but there is often added sugar so I try not to order it unless I'm sure.

Now, for the tricky part- moderation and timing.  Alcohol is bad for any diet.  That's just a fact.  When you put alcohol in your body it gets burned first.  It's like adding a newspaper to a fire.  Your body is going to stop burning fat in order to burn up the alcohol.  This means that if you put too much food and too much alcohol into your body at once, some of it will be converted to sugar and ultimately fat because your body cannot keep up.  They key is to pace yourself and plan ahead.  If you are planning to drink a lot maybe eat at home and try to abstain from food while you are out.  Or maybe give yourself a two or three drink limit and stick to it.  If you're having food with a few more carbs, you'll have to cut back on the alcohol.  If you're drinking a heavier carb alcohol like beer, you're going to have to be a little bit more strict about your food.  You also need to remember that this one meal and three drinks has to last for five hours, so maybe don't pound a bunch of tequila shots when you first sit down.

For me, the winning combination is 3 vodka sodas with lime, a side Caesar salad no croutons, and 6 lemon pepper wings with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.  Like I always say, don't let your diet get in the way of your life.  Take everything in moderation, go for a run the next morning, drink plenty of water, remember to take your supplements, and you'll be fine.

Mayweather wins by unanimous decision!

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