How many times have you gone out to dinner with someone who immediately announces, “I’m not drinking - I’m on a diet!” and then proceeds to sip water while sponging up olive oil with her bread? Guess what? That oil-soaked bread may well set you back a lot more than a cocktail. The truth is you can watch your weight and enjoy alcohol, too.
Whether you prefer wine, beer or something harder, if you are a moderate social drinker there’s no reason to cut alcohol out of your lifestyle. In fact, recent studies show that women who drink in moderation are actually less likely to gain weight and may lower their risk of osteoporosis.
Here we’ll show you how to lift your glass and mood — all with good conscience!
A five-ounce glass of red, white, or rosé has about 100 calories per glass. Many believe wine is high in sugar because it is made from grapes. However, that’s not the case because the fermentation process in wine-making converts sugars into alcohol. Only sweet or dessert wines are high in sugar. Wine is considered a heart healthy drink — especially red wine, which contains resveratrol, the antioxidant compound linked to heart health benefits. The American Heart Association recommends 1-2 four-ounce servings of wine per day.
Tip: Make a glass of wine a spritzer (half wine, half club soda) and automatically cut the calories in half!
Enjoying an ice-cold brew can be great any time of the year. While the average 12-ounce serving of beer contains 150 calories and 13g carbs, higher than wine and spirits, opting for beer does doom you to an unsightly beer belly. Choosing light versions of your favorite beer will save you upwards of 50 calories per serving and cut the carbs in half. Lager and wheat beers are generally lower in both calories and carbs per serving compared to heavier beers such as ales, stouts, and porters. Beers differ in color, flavor, and consistency, and the good news all offer some nutritional value. The brewer’s yeast used to ferment beer contains B vitamins that benefit the nervous system health and reduce homocysteine, a chemical that can contribute to cardiovascular disease.
Tip: If beer is your drink of choice, stick to light-lagers to avoid weight gain. However, if you are an occasional beer drinker, you may opt for dark beer, which have more antioxidants and iron compared to lighter varieties.
Hard liquor is higher in calories per-ounce than wine, but not by much since after distillation, spirits such as vodka, whiskey, gin, and rum have nothing left but the alcohol. They contain zero carbs, which makes them a diet-friendly option, plus, the standard 1.5-ounce serving of spirits will only set you back 105 calories.
Tip: For a more exotic cocktail go with a flavor-infused spirit, such as Ketel One Citron — a top-shelf vodka infused with the essence of lemon and lime.
Steer Clear of Sugary Mixers
Avoid turning your libations into sugar-laden calorie bombs by skipping common mixers like full-sugar soda, juice, tonic, and pre-mixed cocktail concoctions.
Tip: Go with your choice of spirits - vodka, rum, whiskey, or gin - then use a sugar-free mixer such as club soda, Diet Coke, diet tonic water, or a powdered water enhancer such as Borba’s Guanabana Fruit mix.
Go easy on liqueurs and cordials
Perfect for sipping, liqueurs and cordials are flavorful and tend to be very sweet, packing the most calories per ounce of alcohol, so enjoy them sparingly.
Best Cocktail Choices: Wine or wine spritzers, gin and diet tonic, vodka and club soda, rum and diet coke, martini, mimosa, Kahlua and coffee.
Worst Cocktail Choices: Margarita, Long Island Iced Tea, Piña Colada, Cosmopolitan