Liquid calories are empty, and alcoholic calories doubly so: they do not fill you up, and dehydrate you in the process. But because different drinks have different nutritional values, you can find a way to drink and not ruin your diet.
- Wine: Thanks to antioxidants, there are not only built-in health benefits, but both red and white serve up 100-120 calories per 5oz glass, making this a healthy and relatively low-calorie option.
- Beer: Brings roughly 150 calories, but light beer contains as few as 55 calories per 12oz bottle, though many drinkers lament the lost flavor. Learn which of your favorites has the right blend of flavor and calories.
- Champagne: A surprisingly light option at 90 calories per glass. Mix with naturally healthy orange juice (or better still, tangerine juice) to make a mimosa.
What To Avoid:
- Frozen: Margaritas, pina coladas and anything made with a sugary mix can easily contain 500 calories—especially when they come in super-sized glasses. A margarita on the rocks is another story, though, coming in at around 150 calories.
- Creamy: Anything with a cream base adds fat to the sugars already abundant in alcohol; same goes for whipped cream toppings.
- Daiquiris: At a total of 300 calories per five ounces, avoid these and anything else sweetened with sugar or simple syrup. DaVincimakes asugar-free simple syrup, otherwise just substitute Splenda.
- Soda: This carbonated classic and other sugary mixers are another way to instantly rack up empty calories, so be mindful of what you're using as a mixer.
Cut The Calories From Your Mixers
Diet Coke and Spritecontain zero calories, so switching to diet from regular soda will make a huge dent. But with all the uncertainevidence againstdiet soda, you may do well to avoid the stuff altogether.
Soda waterandseltzerare other calorie-free alternatives, butbeware of tonic, which contains124 calories in 12oz, nearly as manyas regular cola.Flavored seltzerscan add even more taste without any additional calories, andadding fizzy waterto wine or other flat drinks can dilute them while keeping them tasting fresh.
The natural sugars in 100%fruit juicealso bring with them numeroushealth and nutritional benefits.
- Basic liquor-and-diet-soda is never a bad call: favorites include vodka and Sprite Zero, rum and Diet Coke and gin and Diet Tonic.
- TheMaggie McQuadeis a fresh take on that combo, mixing vanilla vodka and diet ginger ale.
- A Cape Cod—vodka and cranberry juice—is naturally healthy; use seltzer or soda water and just a splash of cranberry juice to make it even lower-calorie.
- Summery Sangria is healthy if you make it yourself to avoid any extra sugar. Or, make an even lower-calorie variety with only wine, sparkling water and fruit.
- ABloody Maryis not only naturally low in calories, but the tomato juice and spices offer a bunch of health benefits, includingspeeding up your metabolism. Find a store-bought mix, or make your ownfrom scratch.
Planning on having only one or two drinks? Having your drink at mealtime is a good call: alcohol decreases the rate at which your stomach clears food, filling you up faster.
Want another reason to indulge? Studies show that moderate alcohol consumption increases your HDL, or “good” cholesterol.
Alternate water with drinks to stay hydrated and give your body time to process the alcohol.
Think of a drink as a treat, and tend towards those with fewer calories and more nutritional benefits to make drinking as guilt-free as possible.