Here is one more thing to add to the “watch” list this holiday season, or anytime for that matter when we want to consume and adult beverage, or two, all the while trying to keep our weight in check!
Unfortunately, those sweet, tasty cocktails are laden with sugar and calories. It’s easy to go overboard on eating, but it’s really easy to down more than a few fruity cocktails or spiked coke drinks and not think twice about the calorie consumption. This is where the empty calories creep up and help in adding extra pounds to our bodies. Don’t fret, there are easy ways to avoid the high calorie drinks while you’re at a party, or just sitting at home wanting to relax with a cocktail.
Here is the low-down on low-calorie spirits and what to mix them with to make an enjoyable, non-calorie counting beverage!
Vodka: This is a great go-to for low-calorie, sugar free, carbohydrate free, fat free drink. For 1 fluid ounce in 80 proof vodka there is around 64 calories! What’s great about Vodka is you can mix it with any low-calorie soda, but my favorite is mixing it with flavored sparkling water or even club soda. I’m not only drinking something low in calories, I’m also not drinking the added unwanted bad sweeteners like aspartame that is in many diet sodas. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime and it’s a crowd favorite!! This is also a great alternative to those that drink real soda pop. Replacing the 160 calories from the soda with the zero-calorie sparkling water it’s a no brainer! Even a well-made martini with a splash of dry vermouth is a yummy low-cal choice.
Wine: Now, many folks might think wine is high in sugars, carbs, and calories and yes, some are. Sticking to dry white and red wines the sugar and carbohydrate content decreases drastically. A 5-oz. glass of Chardonnay carries 100-123 depending on the maker and has around 3g carbohydrates. A great way to cut the calories and to enjoy a few more glasses, I like to add half sparkling water to my chardonnay. A Wine Spritzer is what it’s called, and it actually makes for a refreshing glass of bubbly wine! It’s not bubbly like a Prosecco or Champagne, but it gives it a nice fizzy taste. Red wines are great too and also have some great health benefits like antioxidants so opt for red when you can! A 5oz. pour of a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or other dry red will run about the same as a Chardonnay with 100-125 calories and carbohydrates per glass. Moscato wines, which are much sweeter than their dry wine counterparts, have a higher calorie count, closer to 130 calories for 5 oz. and around 11g of carbohydrates. If this is your go-to, all-time favorite wine, I would suggest diluting with some sparkling water or drink sparingly.
Champagne and Prosecco: These are my favorite drinks to get, especially at parties and events! Not only do they look pretty, but the calorie content is low as is the sugar/carbohydrate count! At around 124 calories and 2g carbs for 8oz, I have no problem having a few or more glasses of this stuff! Plus, it tastes great! The bubbles also help keep me fuller longer so I’m not as tempted to eat so much when I am out enjoying a glass of bubbly or two!
Hard Liquors: Whisky, Tequila, and Rum; these drinks will run you a little over 100 calories for 1.5oz shot and zero carbohydrates. Mix these liquors with a low-calorie soda pop, sparkling water or like my grandmother, just plain water!! A great mixed drink of tequila, fresh lime juice and sparkling lemon-lime water or low-calorie lemon-lime soda is a great sugar-free and low-calorie margarita! If you’re craving a nice whisky cocktail, try opting for a Manhattan; dry whisky, sweet vermouth and bitters give this drink a hint of sweetness but packs a big punch. The calorie content is around 138 calories but really, you only need one!
Beer: Ah, the ever-popular go-to, budget friendly adult beverage. Who doesn’t love a nice cold beer?! Unfortunately, beer is high in calories, carbohydrates and sugar but so many breweries are producing low-carb and low-calorie options! Heavy, dark, or craft style beers can add some hefty calories if consumed frequently. A 12oz bottle of a good quality craft beer can have from 200 to up to 500 calories! Light beers will have around 100 calories and 6g carbohydrates for a 12oz. bottle. Downing a 12oz. bottle of a regular full-body beer, however, will add 145 calories and 11g of carbohydrates to your diet. So, a six-pack of regular beer will pack on 900+ empty calories to your day. A six-pack of any low carbohydrate, low-calorie beer (less than 100 calories) will add around 570 calories.
Try and stay away from mixed drinks with a lot of fruit juices, heavy cream, energy drinks, and added sugars like simple syrup. This will just add so many unwanted calories, carbohydrates and sugar.
There are a lot of carbonated, zero-calorie fruit flavored drinks on the market today that are great alternatives to soda pop and sugary drinks and juices. And, many traditional cocktails can be tweaked to be low or calorie free so play around with what you like!
Chose healthily and drink wisely! Cheers!!!