You picked carrots over cookies, skipped seconds on the pie, and steered clear of all the creamy dips on display at the appetizer table. By your estimates, it’s been a pretty healthy holiday party. But unless you’re paying as much attention to what you’re drinking as you are to what you’re eating, you might be taking in more calories than you think.
“Many people are aware of what they eat at parties, but not as many pay attention to what they’re drinking. Liquid calories can take just as much of a toll on your waistline,” explains Lynn W. Nichols, RD, LDN, CDE of the Riddle Nutrition Center at Riddle Hospital, Main Line Health.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to give up holiday happy hours or stick strictly to water. While Nichols advises you to drink in moderation, she offers ideas below for low-calorie cocktails.
Try a low-calorie twist on the classic Cosmopolitan by trading some liquor for club soda. In a cocktail shaker, combine:
• 1 shot (2 oz.) citrus-flavored vodka
• 1 splash club soda
• 1 splash cranberry juice
• Juice of 1 lime wedge
Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass.
A margarita can be a refreshing cocktail, but syrupy premade mixtures can make it a high-calorie one, too. Skip the store-bought sweet stuff, and stick to this recipe:
• Crushed ice
• 1 ½ ounces of 100 percent agave blanco tequila
• 1 ounce fresh lime juice
• ½ ounce Cointreau
To save even more calories, skip the salt or sugar around the rim.
The gimlet is one of the best choices to make if you’re looking for a low-calorie cocktail. Choose vodka, gin, or tequila and mix with lightly sweetened lime juice. Serve in a martini glass. Because it has so few ingredients, there won’t be any hidden calories.
If none of these recipes are something you’d pick off the drink menu, don’t worry. Stick to vodka and a mixer like club soda or a diet soda, or try a low-calorie beer. Options like these will still top sugary, syrupy, or smoothie-type drinks.
No matter what you drink, make sure to always be safe when you’re drinking. Never get behind the wheel if you’ve had a drink, and remember to be aware of how many drinks you’ve had and balance it out with water, soda, or other non-alcoholic beverages or snacks.
For more tips and healthy recipes, visit our archive of nutrition articles.