New Year. New Resolutions. Drink Smart.
Mar 05, 2013
The topic of discussion this time of the year is always the same. It’s all about New Year’s resolutions, cleaning out closets, spending less money, exercising more, cleansing and detox diets. Diets, diets, diets.
We all know that drinking and dieting don't mix. Alcohol is empty calories, quickly converts to sugar and lowers our inhibitions so we are inclined to eat more. However, for most of us, drinking is a part of weekends, tailgating, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, holidays, travel, going out to dinner, coming home after a hard day, vacations, lake trips, camping trips, barbecues, any sports function, Sunday Funday… OK, I think you get the picture. With that being said, here are some recipes, tips and info on how to not let drinking become dangerous to your diet.
Vodka Cranberry/Soda/Straight: My go to cocktail when dieting is 1.5 shot of vodka (98 calories) with a low or no calorie mixer, such as Soda or a diet cranberry juice (Ocean Spray's Diet Cranberry Juice has only 5 calories). Another option if you are a little more seasoned in drinking it is to drink vodka straight with ice or with water. Now with all of the insane amount of flavored vodkas, this is an option. Be smart about it though…if it is flavored liked something that has a lot of calories in real life like Whip Cream or Cake; it will have more sugar than most flavored vodkas. I recommend: Skyy Dragon Coconut (60 calories) Three Olives Grape Vodka (69 calories), Stoli Raspberry (60 calories)
Mimosa: Now you can also enjoy a very low calorie mimosa. Combine 2 oz. of Minute Maid Light orange juice (12 calories) and 3 oz. of champagne (78 calories). And voila! A 90 calorie mimosa!
Bacardi Superior & Diet Coke: A 1.5 shot of Bacardi Superior (97 calories) with Diet Coke (0 calories) is a great option when you are out where they may not have calorie free mixers. Almost every place carries Bacardi and Diet Coke.
My favorite option…Sugar Free Red Bull & Vodka: If you are someone who wants, "wings" when you are out, Sugar Free Red Bull (10 calories) mixed with 1.5 shot of Vodka (98 calories) is a great option.
Three Tips to Curb your Alcohol Calories
1. Game Plan. Before going out to the cocktail party or girls night, make sure you have a plan. Give yourself a number of cocktails you are going to drink and cut back on calories during the day in anticipation. Eat a light snack before you go so you won't get tipsy with the first drink and you will be less tempted to dive into the food. Always be aware of your own personal limits. Don't drink too much, and, of course, don't drink and drive.
2. Alternate alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks to save calories. After you finish one cocktail, glass of wine or beer, have a glass of water or the sneaky "mocktail"—a nonalcoholic, preferably zero-calorie beverage (like soda or sparkling water with a lime) that looks like the real thing. This strategy helps you not over-consume calories and alcohol and it also helps you stay hydrated so your head will thank you in the morning!
3. Keep it Simple. Choose wine, light beer, or simple cocktails made with low-calorie mixers. Just as you might order your salad with dressing on the side, don't be shy about asking for your cocktail your way…you can save up to 100 calories depending on the type mixer you choose.
Mix cocktails with water, club soda, low calorie juices, artificial sweeteners or sugar-free syrups for easy calorie savings. Fruit and veggie juices can be good choices because they are lower in calories than some other mixers and contain vitamins and antioxidants. Still, be careful of fruit juices because even though they are more nutritious, their calories can add up quickly.
Here are some smart mixers:
• Diet soda or diet tonic: 0 calories
• Orange juice (6 oz): 84 calories
• Light orange juice (8 oz): 50 calories
• Cranberry juice cocktail (8 oz): 136 calories
• Light cranberry juice (8 oz): 40 calories
• Light lemonade (8 oz): 5 calories
• Coffee, tea: 0 calories
• Lemon or lime juice (1/2 oz): 10 calories
• Monin or Torani's sugar-free syrups: 0
These drinks may not be as tasty as that 490 calorie Pina Coloda, but being able to keep to a diet, work on my New Years resolutions and still enjoy a few drinks while doing so sounds good to me! I hope you give a few of these a try…and Happy New Year!
Lauren Nguyen, Republic National Distributing Company
Resources: The Flexitarian Diet, Dawn Blatner-Jackson, MS, RD
The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous, Carolyn O'Neil, MS, RD