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5 ways to keep your summer cocktails skinny

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As a dietitian – and as someone who enjoys socializing over cocktails – I believe you can and should be able to drink moderately even if you are trying to lose weight.  But think before you drink because some cocktails are deceptively high in calories – especially bubbly, sugary summertime drinks. Here are some tips for enjoying alcohol while keeping your sexy beach body. 

No-Cal Mixers

Just because a mixer is clear doesn’t mean it’s calorie-free.  Take tonic water for example: One cup has 80 calories - nearly as much as the 90 calorie shot of vodka you’d mix it with for a vodka tonic. Skip the tonic and choose a zero-calorie sparkling water like seltzer or go with a product such as Glaceau Fruitwater that comes in exotic flavors such as watermelon punch, orange mango, and black raspberry.

Flavored Spirits

If you are a vodka drinker you might skip mixers altogether and go for any of the fruit, herb and spice -infused vodkas that are delicious straight up, on the rocks or with a splash of club soda.  Regular vodkas are about 100 calorie-per shot vodka, but you can get that down to only 70 calories by switching to a “light” vodka brand such as Voli.

Make Yours a Spritzer

A glass of wine is fine when you are dieting because it only contains about 90 calories.  Order a refreshing wine spritzer (half wine, half club soda) and your drink drops to 50 calories or less – great if you are having more than one.

Avoid sugar bombs

A single margarita or other sugary cocktail can pack anywhere from 450 – 600 calories!  Cut that down to about 100 calories simply by mixing tequila with a splash of juice and a wedge of lime.

Pace yourself

If you plan to have only one drink, order one that you will linger over. For example a martini is practically straight liquor, but shaken with ice and an aromatic splash of vermouth it’s a reasonable 160 calories per 2.5-ounce glass. If you expect to have more than one cocktail try alternating with a glass of water or seltzer with a wedge of lemon or lime.

For delicious high fiber meal plans, recipes and tips on healthy eating, drinking and losing weight, check out my latest book, The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books:  The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber and The F-Factor Diet. Follow Tanya on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and subscribe to her free weekly weight loss newsletter