Drinking alcohol without sabotaging your diet

low-calorie-alcoholic-drinks-5c

Alcohol is a major challenge for most people trying to lose weight, especially during the holidays.  With all the parties and celebrations going on, alcohol is definitely more prevalent and consumed more frequently during the holidays.  It can completely sabotage your diet if not consumed in moderation and with careful choices that keep calories low.  When deciding what to drink, here’s what you should keep in mind:

Wine:

  • A dry red or white wine has about 125 calories and 4g carbohydrates  per 5oz glass.  During the process of fermentation, sugars from wine grapes are broken down and converted by yeast into alcohol so it ends up surprisingly low in sugar.
  • Wine is a good choice if you want something to sip on slowly or to pair with a meal at a dinner party.  It is pretty low in sugars and carbohydrate, but best to keep it at 1-2 glasses.
  • Port is not a good option..  It is stronger and a lot sweeter, averaging around 210 calories for a 5oz glass with 18 grams of carbs (about 10 coming from sugar)

Beer:

  • Beer can vary depending on the kind.  On average, a 12oz  beer contains about 150 calories and 7-12g carbs.  Some of the lighter varieties can be closer to 100 calories and about 5g carbs.
  • If drinking beer I recommend no more than 2 of the light variety such as Coors Light, or stick to one stronger flavored dark beer that you can take your time to enjoy.

 

Liquor:

  • A 1.5oz shot of most distilled liquor (vodka, rum, gin, tequila, whiskey, etc) contains about 100 calories and 0 grams of carbohydrate.  This is probably the best choice in terms of keeping carbohydrates low.
  • Here’s the kicker though: most mixers and juices tackle on hundreds of calories and  a ton of sugar and carbohydrates.  The only way hard alcohol is a decent option is if it is taken as a shot or mixed with a low or calorie-free mixer, diet soda, or club soda.
  • Tonic water is NOT a good option, although it sounds healthy it is actually loaded with sugar.

Use this chart below to help you decide what is best to drink for the occasion: (click on it for better visibility)

alcohol-facts

An easy go to: I suggest using fresh lemon, lime, grapefruit, or a combination of all three with the liquor of your choice, then topping off with club soda or fresca for sweetness  (a calorie free citrus flavored soda).

-Remember: even lemon or lime has calories and carbs.  So if you are counting carbs, count on the juice of one lemon or lime adding about 10 calories and 3g carbs to your drink count.  If you add 1/4 grapefruit (perfect amount for a drink) add 25 calories and 6 carbs.

WHATEVER you decide to drink, please do it responsibly! Just like anything else, moderation is key!!

 

  • Other recipes for low calorie cocktails that I have tried:

Skinny Margarita:

Ingredients:

  • 2medium sized limes, juiced
  • 1/4 medium sized orange, juiced
  • 2 oz silver tequila
  • 1/4 cup sparkling mineral water (I used San Pellegrino)
  • 1 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon zero calorie sweetener (if needed for sweetness)
  • kosher salt for rim if desired

Directions:

  • If you like salt on your margarita, run a lime wedge around the glass and then dip it in a bowl containing sea salt.
  • Fill glass with ice and set aside.  Stir all ingredients together until the agave nectar dissolves.  Pour over ice and enjoy!

Here is another low calorie margarita recipe, this one sugar free and about 1g carbs.

I packet sugar free lemonade

6 oz. diet lemon-lime soda

1 shot tequila

1 ounce lime juice

Just mix it all together and pour over ice.

 

Mojito:

  • 2 ounces light rum
  • 1 ounce Splenda syrup or 1tb Splenda and 1 tb water
  • 2 ounce lime juice
  • 7 mint leaves
  • Splash of club soda

In a shaker, muddle mint leaves and a lime wedge. Add ice and other ingredients and shake. Pour into tall glass and top with soda.

Calories: 140

 

Skinny Blueberry Vodka Mojito

  • 2 oz vodka (optional: use blueberry vodka for even more flavor)
  • 4 oz. Sprite zero
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp fresh blueberries

Muddle vodka, mint and blueberries together in a shaker.  Add one cup of crushed ice and shake.  Pour into a cocktail glass and top with Sprite Zero, garnish with remaining mint & blueberries.

Whiskey Sour

  • 2 oz bourbon or other whiskey (nutritional analysis uses 80 proof)
  • 2 oz lemon juice (fresh-squeezed is best)
  • 1 oz water
  • Calorie free sweetener with the equivalent of 3 tablespoons sugar (I use Splenda)

Preparation:

Put the ingredients in a cocktail shaker half-full of ice. Shake well. Strain into a glass.

Each serving has 3 grams net carbs and 106 calories.

Red Wine Berry Spritzer

Ingredients:

  • 1 part red wine (I wouldn’t use your best red wine for a drink like this)
  • 3 parts La Croix Mixed Berry Sparkling Water
  • Ice
  • Frozen Blueberries or Raspberries

Directions:

  1. Pour ice in glass. Add frozen berries. Pour wine, then sparkling water. Sip and enjoy.