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Low-Cal Cocktails: Tips and Tricks

Posted Jul 23 2010 8:46am

What can I say? I’m a gal who enjoys a good cocktail every now and then! Of course, we all know that most drinks are filled with lots of “empty” calories, but I’ve found ways to slim-down my favorite cocktails without limiting the fun! Check out my tips and tricks below.

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Most fruity drinks are loaded with calories and sugar– some have as many as 300 calories per drink! (Frozen ones have even more!) If you have 3 drinks over the course of the evening, that’s 900 calories! Better options are flavored vodka with seltzer or regular vodka with seltzer and a splash of fruit juice (approximately 70-80 calories per drink).

Most light beers come in around 100-120 calories per bottle, but still have quite a lot of flavor and taste delicious. I’ve drank so much light beer over the years, I usually prefer it to the “heavy” option. Although, I do love a good microbrew every now and then! ;-)  Also, if you stick to bottled beer instead of draft (or keg), you have instant portion control– just 12 ounces per bottle.

Similarly to fruity drinks, frozen drink mixes are packed with calories and sugar. If you really want a margarita or piña colada, ask the bartender to make you the real thing instead of the frozen variety. You’ll save quite a few calories and the original cocktail, in my opinion, tastes a lot better!

Water (or seltzer) slows your pace when it comes to consuming alcohol. It also hydrates you, making the following morning much more enjoyable. Plus, if you alternate booze with seltzer and lime or another “mocktail”, it almost feels like you are enjoying a cocktail, but for minimal calories.

My “go to” drink is always white wine. It’s delicious, flavorful, and relatively low in calories (about 120 calories per 5 oz glass). I always feel much more sophisticated when I’m holding a wine glass, so I tend to savor each sip instead of chugging it down like I might with a beer or cocktail. You can also “lighten-up” white wine with seltzer to make a “wine spritzer,” which cuts calories and makes your glass of wine last longer.

There’s a bar in my hometown that serves free popcorn (you know, the super buttery kind). I’m not much of a popcorn fan, but after a few cocktails, it becomes my favorite food! My best advice for situations like this is just don’t start! Once I have a taste of popcorn, I can’t stop myself and end up snacking the entire night. Another tip: Remember where people’s hands have been. If I am thinking about digging into a bowl of popcorn, peanuts, or pretzels, I think: unwashed hands from the bathroom. Gross!! That thought alone stops my desire to snack!

  • White wine: Usually Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Flavored vodka with seltzer: My favorites are cherry vodka and blueberry vodka.
  • Sensational Summer Sangria : Perfect for warm weather! My Sensational Summer Sangria only requires 4 ingredients, takes just 5 minutes to make, and is always a crowd-pleasurer.


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