Drinking And Dieting: Not An Impossibility!
Liquid calories are empty calories, and alcoholic drinks are doubly so. But don’t spend an entire party fretting over what drinks will bust your diet; instead, know ahead of time which drinks to avoid and how to pick a tasty, lower-calorie drink.
- Wine: Beyond its often-discussed health benefits, wine tends to have the fewest calories per ounce of any alcohol. Add seltzer to make an even lower calorie wine spritzer.
- Beer: Ultra-light beers pack as few as 55 calories in a 12oz. bottle, though many drinkers lament a loss of flavor. Find out exactly how many your beer has here.
- Champagne: Champagne only has 90 calories per glass. Orange juice is a caloric lightweight, making the mimosa another good option. Even better? Substitute tangerine juice for OJ.
Liquor gives a good bang for the buck, as the average 1.5oz. shot contains around 90 calories and 40% alcohol. Clear liquors generally pack fewer calories than dark, but the real wildcards here are mixers: sugary supplements can add up quick, but a clever dieter can choose low-calorie drinks and replacements to stay on track. Flavored liquors are a great way to avoid calories, and can become cornerstones of low-calorie versions of your favorite drinks.
Cut Out The Calories From Your Mixers
Diet Coke and Sprite contain zero calories, so switching to diet from regular soda will make a huge dent. But with all the uncertain evidence against diet soda, you may do well to avoid the stuff altogether.
Soda water and seltzer are other calorie-free alternatives, but beware of tonic, which contains nearly as many calories as regular cola. Flavored seltzers can add even more taste without any additional calories, and adding fizzy water to wine or other flat drinks can dilute them while keeping them tasting fresh.
The natural sugars in 100% fruit juice also bring with them numerous health and nutritional benefits.
Simple syrup is your basic drink sweetener, used by bars and coffee shops alike. DaVinci makes a sugar-free simple syrup, or make your own with Splenda: heat one part Splenda to 3/4 part water in a saucepan, stirring frequently until it simmers.
There are tons of low-calorie drink ideas online, so chances are you can find something that involves your favorite ingredients, but here are some highlights:
- Mojitos, made with rum, mint leaves and lime juice, aren’t bad (better than gin and tonic!), but the mojito makeover and Weight Watcher Mojito cut away even more calories.
- Coconut-flavored rum is the secret to this low-calorie Pina Colada.
- The Maggie McQuade is a fresh take on the liquor-soda combo: it mixes vanilla vodka and diet ginger ale
- The standard Cape Cod—vodka mixed with cranberry juice—is naturally low in calories, but using seltzer or soda water with only a splash of cranberry juice makes it even healthier.
- Stay away from frozen margaritas, but this Skinnygirl Margarita on the rocks isn’t bad.
- A summery Sangria packs as few as 80 calories, and comes in a plethora of low-calorie varieties, revolving around wine, and sparkling water and fresh fruit.
- Perhaps the healthiest-sounding cocktail is the Pineapple-Cilantro H20, which features homemade, flavored water and vodka.
- A Bloody Mary is not only naturally low in calories, but the tomato juice and spices offer a bunch of health benefits, including speeding up your metabolism. Find a store-bought mix you like, or make your own from scratch.
Let’s Talk Strategy
Alternate water (throw in a lemon, even!) in between drinks to stay hydrated and manage the temptation to splurge on extra drinks or snacks.
Finally, think of your drink as a treat, especially at summer parties; don’t forget to stay active throughout the day to counteract those liquid calories.