Although we’re not much for cold weather, were fans of the winter holiday season and all of the socializing and celebrations! Of course, they also present a challenge as temptation seems to be everywhere. Delicious holiday food–desserts are what are most tempting for us– and for many, alcoholic beverages are the most alluring and cause the most trouble. Although you probably know, we’re not so great at handling the cocktails (if you don’t know and you’re curious, you can read about why in college we were often the designated drivers here) and may just have a sip (if that!) when we kick back and relax at the holiday parties.
As we always remind our clients, although liquids may look innocent, alcohol can be a real doozy. Of course, most of us know that alcoholic beverages are high in calories and they don’t satisfy appetite. 🙁 Additionally, after you drink alcohol you still want to eat although you may already have swallowed more than a meal’s worth of calories from alcohol. And making matters worse, alcohol actually makes you hungrier and lowers your inhibitions, so you care less about drinking and eating more. But of course we understand wanting to enjoy a cocktail and love creating ones that are waist-line friendly versions! So in addition to the drink below, try this drink or this drink if you do want a weight- friendly cocktail.
Let’s face it, despite the downsides, most people do want to kick back and have a drink with their friends and family to celebrate the holidays. We certainly understand this, so here are some important alcohol pointers and some of the least damaging options…
- Always set a limit as to how many drinks you will have before you arrive at the party. This way, as the drinks are flowing you will have a plan with a set number of drinks in your head, rather than just drinking willy-nilly and accepting each drink that comes your way. We recommend limiting alcohol to one to two drinks maximum per night. You’ll feel so much better in the morning if you do! 😉
- Write down how many drinks that you will have daily or weekly and then stick to it. If you are someone who doesn’t have just one or two, keep a tally on your smart phone as you drink to keep yourself from going over your limit.
- Don’t arrive hungry or drink on an empty stomach and make your first drink at the party a glass of seltzer or water with lemon or lime before drinking alcohol. This will prevent the alcohol from lowering your inhibitions at the start of the party and it will give you time to feel a bit more full and filling your stomach with more liquid from alcohol will be less appealing. Plus, it will help to prevent you from getting dehydrated. Dehydration leads to overeating, hangovers and mistakenly thinking that you’re hungry.
- Follow the every other rule. Switch between non-alcoholic, calorie-free drinks and alcohol. This will slow down the pace of the alcohol consumption over the course of a long night while filling you up and hydrating you.
A traditional holiday glass of wine can set you back 125-150 calories, but that can double depending on the size of the glass and how full it is. We’re sure you may be able to relate to a family member or friend filling your wine glass before it’s empty, making it almost impossible to track your alcohol and calorie consumption! (Here in New York City wine bars have gotten very popular and the typical wine glass holds 10 ounces, not five. So at one of these establishments a single glass of wine will set you back 300 calories!)
Other holiday cocktails can bump up your calorie count a lot more:
- hot buttered rum (10oz)- 418 calories
- white Russian (4oz)-355 calories
- eggnog (8oz)- 350 calories
- sparkling cider (8oz)- 180 calories
Here are a few lower calorie options. Choose these in moderation so that you can enjoy the festivities all winter long and still fit into your New Year’s Eve outfit!
- Beer can range from 64-198 calories per 12 ounces : Go for light beers and low-carb options to stick to about 100 calories
- There are 103 calories in 1 oz. gin and 3 oz. tonic: Just remember, it’s easy to get more than 1 oz of gin in a mixed drink. One ounce of gin is 65 calories, so just two ounces of gin is 130 calories, plus the 3 oz. tonic and suddenly your “small,” 5 oz drink is 160 calories
- Vodka with diet sprite-70 calories per 8.5oz : (Stick to one ounce of vodka and make the rest from diet soda.)
- Diet cranberry juice and vodka-70 calories per 8.5oz
- Skinnygirl margarita or sangria-100 calories per 4oz
- Prosecco wine- 100 calories in 5 ounces
- Champagne- 110 calories in 5 ounces
- Low carb cosmopolitan cocktail-105 calories per 6oz (see our recipe below)
- Sugar-free whiskey sour cocktail- 106 calories per 4.5oz (see our recipe below)
Want another great option for cutting calories in your drink? Dilute it with club soda or sparkling water.
Here are two DIY cocktails to try that are lower in calories
Low Carb Cosmopolitan cocktail
105 calories per 6oz
1) 3 tablespoons vodka (nutritional analysis uses 80 proof)
2) 2 tablespoons diet cranberry juice
3) 1 tablespoon lime juice (fresh preferred)
4) 2 to 3 drops orange extract
Combine vodka and cranberry juice. Squeeze in lime juice and add orange extract. Enjoy!
This low carb cosmo is a fantastic red color. Perfect for the holidays!
Sugar Free Whiskey Sour
106 calories per 4.5oz
1) 3 tablespoons whiskey (nutritional analysis uses 80 proof)
2) 3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice
3) 3 tablespoons of water
4) Monk fruit or stevia with the equivalent of 3 tablespoons sugar
This whiskey sour recipe is also a great holiday color!
- 1) 3 tablespoons vodka (nutritional analysis uses 80 proof)
- 2) 2 tablespoons diet cranberry juice
- 3) 1 tablespoon lime juice (fresh preferred)
- 4) 2 to 3 drops orange extract
- Combine vodka and cranberry juice. Squeeze in lime juice and add orange extract. Enjoy!