Indulging every now and then is perfectly acceptable; after all, we still need to enjoy the things we love. The issue is when we have multiple parities, celebrations and nights out. We need to try and make some…strategic choices, which still allow us to indulge and still conserve our waist-line.
Sometimes, we need to decide if it’s worth it. Alcohol isn’t the most low-cal option out there when it comes to beverage choices. Once you add a blend of liqueurs to sugary-fruit juices, you may find that your tasty drink of choice isn’t all that waist-line friendly. So decide if it’s worth the calories. Do you really need the alcohol? If it’s an afternoon affair, or a weeknight event, maybe skip the alcohol, and indulge in a lighter drink, in a fancy glass, and no one will know the difference! Here are a few of my personal fav mocktails.
Pomegranate & (faux)Champagne Mocktail
2 ½ Cups Seltzer
2 Cups Pomegranate Juice (100% natural, no sugar added, if possible)
Twist of Lemon (throw a peel into each glass for a nice garnish!)
Per serving – 51 calories; 0 g Fat; 13g Carbohydrates; 0g Protein
For 50 calories a drink!
Sign me up! If you don’t like pomegranate juice, substitute it for something else. I prefer tart drinks over sweet ones, so I use natural Grapefruit Juice instead.
Coconut Lovers Delight
2 oz Unsweetened Coconut milk/water
2 oz. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
Shake, mix and pour over ice into a Collins glass. Fill with sparkling water. Add a touch of mint to garnish the glass!
Per serving – 27 calories; 0 g Fat; 6g Carbohydrates; 0g Protein
The coconut milk in this drink is also quite hydrating. You could turn this into a low-cal alcoholic beverage by adding an ounce of vodka, and benefit from balancing those electrolytes while you indulge.
When it comes time to indulge in alcoholic beverages, here is where we can get into trouble. Often, people are completely unaware of just how many calories they’re consuming in their cocktail.
The average ounce of alcohol contains at least 90 calories, before you mix it with a sugary drink and even more sugary liqueurs. Generally, the higher the alcohol proof, the higher the calorie content. Wine? Anywhere from 100 – 150 calories a glass. There is little to no fat in these drinks, but trust me, the calories and the sugar are more than happy to go right to your hips. And stay there.
Did you know a Long Island Iced Tea can have up to (drum roll please….) 520 calories!! (as in, more than a Big Mac). Pina Colada? On average 644 calories! And you know you’re having more than just one. That’s half of your daily caloric intake in just 2 drinks!
When you look at mixed drinks, most people blend it with pop, which can have anywhere from 140-165 calories, and approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar. Diet pop isn’t a great alternative, despite the lower caloric content… don’t even get me started on artificial sweeteners. For your own benefit, just take a pass on those. Juice can have a minimum of 115 calories, then you add alcohol and other sweet-tasting liquids to it. Not the healthiest thing you could reach for. So make smart choices, especially if you’re counting calories.
If you prefer mixed drink, reach for Vodka, which has about 67 calories an ounce, and then mix it with smart choices. The best option is Vodka on ice, but this is a pretty tough one to swallow if you’re not a vodka lover. Vodka soda is a great choice, with under 100 calorie a drink, and add a twist of lime for a little extra kick. Another low-cal option is rum, with 64 calories per ounce or gin, with approximately 74 calories per ounce.
What about Wine drinkers? Unfortunately, wine isn’t the most low-calorie drink. Try champagne instead of wine. Champagne has only 85 calories a glass, versus the 100-150 calories in a glass of white or red wine. Or reach for a wine spritzer, which blends your wine with a bit of club soda or sparkling water (about 2 oz. of soda to 4 oz. of wine). This will also cost you about 100 calories, which is still better than a full glass of straight wine.
Lemonade with a Twist
Delicious, but a little more time consuming! Blender/juicer required.
2 celery stalks
1 head of romaine lettuce
1 small piece of ginger
2 green apples
1-2 oz Vodka to each glass
Champagne & Tea
Source: Le Palais des Thés
10 oz spring water
3 bags of tea
1 oz Peach Liqueur
Soak the tea bags (of your choice, but light fruity or green tea work best) in simmering spring water (don’t bring to a boil), chill in the fridge. Add peach liqueur, shake, pour into champagne flutes half way, and fill the rest with champagne.
Per serving – 110 calories; 0 g Fat; 7g Carbohydrates; 0g Protein
Remember that we’re only talking calories here, and obviously these aren’t the healthiest beverages you could reach for! There is still a lot of sugar and alcohol is very dehydrating. Try and match every alcoholic beverage with a glass of water, so you stay hydrated. You’ll appreciate this the next morning when you wake up headache-free.
Dr. Andra Campitelli, ND
JC Campitelli Health Centre
*Please Note: The information presented in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any medical concerns. Before beginning any nutraceutical interventions, it is always best to consult with your health care provider to ensure that it is safe and right for you.