Need to get the skinny on low-calorie cocktails this holiday season? By keeping just a few things in mind, you can drink it up while keeping down your calorie intake.
If you’re watching your weight during the holidays, remember alcohol does have calories — just like that heaping slice of pumpkin pie or that ham-infused cheese ball.
“The key thing I tell people as a dietician is that [alcohol] is caloric. It is not calorie free. It’s part of your total intake for the day,” says registered dietitian Chrisy O’Connor, at Personal NEWtrition in Blue Ash. “Alcohol has about seven calories per gram. Protein or carbohydrates have four calories per gram.”
Alcohol can drop your blood glucose levels, making you feel hungrier than if you were drinking a glass of water, O’Connor adds.
Still, there a few tricks to keeping your drinks lighter when you’re out partying and having a good time. Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks throughout the evening, and choose wisely. Drink sparkling water in between, O’Connor says. Besides keeping down calories, it has the added benefit of keeping you hydrated and helping pace your drinking throughout the night.
Another calorie slasher is substituting low-calorie mixers for the traditional sugary fare. (A pina colada has 400 calories!) Try rum and diet soda instead of rum and regular, you can save around 90 calories per serving, depending on the size of your drink. Or dilute your drink with sparkling water. Have a wine spritzer (85 calories). If you’re brave enough, skip the tonic all together and have your drink on the rocks. Look for flavored ice.
Connie Voelker, EQ Event and Marketing Directory with The Party Source in Bellevue, recommends her store’s White Rock Diet Tonic Water, made with the sugar substitute Splenda. “It’s excellent,” she says. “Normally, I don’t like diet tonics, but I tried this one day and it’s great.”
Here are a few more general tips to keep in mind:
- Watch your serving sizes: One ounce is a serving of liquor, 5 ounces is a serving of wine, 12 ounces is a serving of beer.
- Keep it simple: The less “stuff” you have in your drink, the better. Think a glass of white or red wine, gin and diet tonic, or rum and diet soda.
- Keep the proof in mind: In general, the lower the alcohol proof, the fewer calories it has.
- Have a plan: If you have a basic plan for the night, you’re already ahead of most party goers who’ll no doubt over indulge and regret it in the morning. It could save your waist and eliminate a hangover. “Have a game plan before you go out. Have a little something to eat to curb your appetite. Decide how many and what kinds of drinks you’ll have,” O’Connor says. “Some people go crazy.”
Want to make your own low-cal cocktail? Try Rudolph’s Crush with FUZE Slenderize Dragonfruit Lime. You can find this fruity drink at most grocers.
- FUZE Slenderize Dragonfruit Lime
- Sweet vermouth
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Maraschino cherry
- Pour vermouth, gin, and FUZE into shaker full of ice.
- Squeeze lemon into shaker and shake ingredients.
- Strain into chilled martini glass and garnish with cherry.
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