Choosing wellness and eating mindfully and healthy are great goals that often make it difficult to incorporate our favorite treats, like the occasional booze! The liquid calories in some cocktails can add up quickly, but luckily there are easy ways to choose lower-calorie options.
In general, a serving (5 oz of wine, 1.5 oz of alcohol, 12 oz of beer) contains between 75 and 125 calories, but our drinks often exceed these servings by far! Paying attention to quantity is one of the best ways to limit your calorie intake from alcohol, but there are other easy adjustments you can make to reduce added sugars in your drinks. From brunch to seasonal favorites, here are some of the best low-calorie drink options for any occasion.
Infuse your own flavors
One of the easiest (and funniest!) ways to enjoy a low-calorie cocktail is to infuse vodka or gin with your own flavors at home, then mix them with sparkling water when ready. to serve. Infusing the flavor yourself allows you to choose lower calorie options and avoid all the sugary syrups and juices often found in cocktails at the bar. From fruits to spices, herbs to vegetables, there’s not much that doesn’t go well with vodka and gin! A few of the more popular options are vanilla bean, cinnamon, chili peppers, and citrus. Here’s a simple guide to flavoring your own vodka (and gin works the same way, just keep in mind that gin flavor works better with botanicals/spices than sweeter things – but the sky’s the limit! ).
Ideal for brunch
Whether you’re cooking at home or dining out with friends, brunch menus almost call for a delicious drink on the side. Try to stay away from mimosas which have a lot of added juice sugar. Instead, opt for an extra-dry champagne glass with a few frozen berries added for color and flavor. If you like things a little spicier, make your own Caesar so you can control the “extras”. Avoid pre-mixed bottles which often contain a lot of added salt and sugars. A quick and less calorie alternative? Add Otamot Organic Spicy Sauce to your vodka for a kick of zing, tomato flavor, and some extra sneaky veggies.
One of the most refreshing drinks is the mojito. For a low calorie version, use light rum, skip the syrup and add mint and lime juice with sparkling water. If you’re looking for something bubbly and portable to take on your summer vacation, try boozy kombucha; naturally low in sugar and rich in probiotics, the variety of flavors will leave you feeling satisfied and refreshed.
Photo: Ivan Pantic via gettyimages.com
Rich, warm beverages are often a part of our fall and winter celebrations, but these options can take a heavy calorie toll. Instead of reaching for eggnog or fortified hot chocolate, instead try options that rely on fruit and spice flavors. A hot toddy is a great low-calorie option in cool weather because you can control how much honey or sugar substitute (like Liquid Splenda) you add to your whisky/bourbon, lemon juice, spices, and water. While a hot, mulled wine is a seasonal favorite, you can make a lower-calorie version at home by carefully selecting your ingredients and ratios; try making it with no added sugar (just the citrus one) and mix two parts wine with one part sparkling water before putting it on the stove.
Beer and Wine
If you tend to lean towards beer and wine over liquor and cocktails, you can still make delicious low-calorie choices without sacrificing quality and flavor. In the wine department, choose a rosé that is not too sweet (avoid dessert wines) to minimize calories. For beer lovers, light, low-calorie varieties are your best bet; everything from Corona to Miller has a lightweight option these days. If you prefer a “regular” beer, remember that a lighter color usually means fewer calories, so steer clear of stouts.
Whether you’re making your own infused liquor at home or out for a night out with friends, knowing how to choose low-calorie options for all occasions will help you drink that beverage and enjoy it, too!