You Can Watch Your Weight and Still Enjoy Happy Hour

Healthy Living

October 24, 2015

How to Eat, Drink and be Healthy

Many people who are trying to lose weight often say that giving up the booze is one of the hardest parts of sticking to a diet. Having a beer with the boys after work or a glass of wine with the girls for happy hour is a social activity many people just don’t want to give up to shed pounds.

While it is true that alcohol does add extra “empty” calories to your caloric intake, and can really pack a punch in knocking you off your diet if you’re not mindful of what you’re consuming and how much, it is possible to have the occasional drink with your friends or loved one over dinner or at happy hour and still lose weight. The key to success is choosing the right cocktail and avoiding the alcoholic beverages high in calories, ideally you should choose a drink with 150 calories or less and limit yourself to one or two. Below is a list of some of the better drink options and worst choices of alcoholic drinks you can choose:

Better Choices:

  • Champagne or Mimosa – A four ounce glass of champagne only has approximately 90 calories, if you want to add orange juice and make it a Mimosa it comes in at just 80 calories and you get the added benefit of vitamin C from the O.J. too!
  • Light Beer – When it comes to light beer you should stick to the bottled type which weighs in at approximately 55 to 120 calories, light beers on tap may vary in calorie count and unless you are certain as to their calorie count can easily derail your diet plan.
  • Wine or Wine Spritzer – A five ounce glass of red or white wine contains about 100 to 110 calories, wine glass sizes vary in bars and restaurants so be sure to know what serving size you’re being served. If you want to make that five ounces last longer add ice, some club soda and a few berries (which you don’t have to eat) and you’ll have a delicious wine spritzer.
  • Vodka Martini – If you stay away from the flavored variation of this classic cocktail a traditional vodka martini 1.5 ounces of vodka and 1/3 ounce of vermouth is only 120 calories. You can add some flavor with a zero calorie lemon twist or add an olive or two at just five calories each, a little olive juice goes a long way too!
  • Gin & Tonic – Another classic cocktail that’s light on calories, a single shot of gin is about 100 calories and when mixed with tonic water and a slice of lime it comes out to a mere 135 calories, now that’s refreshing. (Substitute club soda or tonic to make an even lower calorie refresher)

Worst Choices:

  • Margarita – Although there are skinny versions of this cocktail (still about 200 calories) a classic margarita packs on a hefty 450 calories per eight ounce drink (usually 8 ounces is a smaller size than typically served) and is made with a sweet mix (processed) and triple sec neither of which is very healthy. If you simply must have a margarita with your taco, opt for a lighter version that’s more natural.
  • Frozen or Fruity Island Drinks – Pina coladas, daiquiris, tropical island fruity and a variety of the slushy type drinks are among the most calorie laden drinks you could choose, typically made with several sugary fruit additives and liquors, on average about 350 calories for a five ounce serving. But when you consider that these drinks rarely come in a five ounce serving, more likely in a large tall glass the actual calorie content would more accurately be about 550 to 850 whopping calories! Between the high volumes of liquor, sugar, and size not a healthy choice.
  • Beer – If you’re not going with a light beer then dieter beware! Today there are a lot of “designer type” beers out there that may surprise you with their calorie content. Beer can range from 55 to 365 calories for a 12 ounce glass, the higher the alcohol content the higher the calorie count and the micro brews at the local pub can be impossible to judge just how many calories are in there.
  • White Russian – Drinks such as a white Russian which is made with cream is about as bad as they come. A white Russian is made with vodka, Kahlua and cream (which contains saturated fat) and weighs in at about 495 calories for a five ounce serving, you could have eaten a four course healthy meal for just 2 of these hefty cocktails.

Eating a healthy diet and drinking can go hand in hand while still shedding pounds; you simply have to limit your intake on the alcohol (which is recommended anyway) and just as you choose healthy foods you can choose healthy alcoholic drinks to pair with them.

Studies have even indicated that there are health benefits to consuming small quantities of alcohol daily; i.e. red or white wine or a cocktail or two when consumed in a social setting. (In other words not drinking alone to become intoxicated) So don’t skip your social time with your loved one or friends, just make better choices. CHEERS!