Drinking this weekend? Here’s how to keep your dieting goals on track

Whether it's a Saturday night blow-out or a few cheeky cocktails, a night of drinking can rack up far more calories than you might think.

Carb-heavy drinks, sugary mixers, post-pub chips… it all adds up.

If you're planning a night out this weekend but don't want to throw your clean-eating plans out the window, then it's important to plan ahead.

Being mindful of what you consume can go a huge way towards keeping you on track when it comes to dropping the pounds.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind…

1. Eat BEFORE you drink
Drinking on an empty stomach is NOT the way to lose weight, despite what you might think. Not only will it result in huge blood sugar spikes, but you'll get tipsier faster, meaning you're more likely to choose drinks and food that will send your diet flying out the window. Eat at least a light meal or a filling snack before you head out on the town.

2. Know your drinks
The cocktail menu can be a bit of a diet disaster – it's generally full of syrupy mixers and high calorie alcohol options. If you want a mixed drink, choose soda water or slimline tonic as your base. When it comes to beer, choose a low-carb or light version, or keep things simple with a glass of white wine or prosecco.

3. Water, water, water
Space out your drinking by ordering a glass of still or sparking water (whatever you prefer) with each drink, and not ordering your next round until the water is finished. Not only will you be inclined to drink far less, but by keeping hydrated you're already helping ease tomorrow's hangover.

4. Avoid mindless nibbing
Peanuts, finger food and bags of crisps are all readily available on a night out, but if they do show up on your table, it's time to get focused. Either say 'no' or sit somewhere where the food is out of arm's reach. If you have to lean over three people to get to those cocktail sausages, you'll find you'll eat far fewer of them.

5. Plan what you'll eat afterwards
If you're inclined to get the munchies after a night out, be one step ahead of your tipsy self. Either scope out late-night food joints nearby that have healthy options, or pre-prepare some guilt free snacks for when you arrive home, like carrot sticks and hummus or a bag of light popcorn. Convenience is key.