Choosing wellness and eating in a mindful, healthy way are great goals that often make it hard to incorporate our favorite treats, like an occasional alcoholic beverage! Liquid calories from a couple of cocktails can add up quickly, but fortunately, there are easy ways to choose lower-calorie options.
Generally, one serving (5oz wine, 1.5oz liquor, 12oz beer) has between 75-125 calories, but our drinks often far surpass these serving sizes! Paying attention to quantity is one of the best ways to limit your caloric intake from alcohol, but you can make other easy adjustments to reduce the added sugars in your drinks. From brunch to seasonal favorites, here are some of the best, lower-calorie drink options for any occasion.
Infuse Your Own Flavors
One of the easiest (and most fun!) ways to enjoy a lower-calorie cocktail is to infuse vodka or gin with your own flavors at home, then mix with sparkling water when you serve. Infusing the flavor yourself allows you to choose lower-calorie options and avoid all of the sugary syrups and juices often found in cocktails at the bar. From fruits to spices, herbs to vegetables, there isn’t much that won’t mix with vodka and gin! A few of the most popular options are vanilla bean, cinnamon, chile peppers, and citrus. Here’s a simple guide to flavoring your own vodka (and gin works the same way). Keep in mind that gin’s flavor works better with botanicals/spices than the sweeter things—but the sky’s the limit!
Best for Brunch
Whether you’re cooking at home or dining out with friends, brunch menus almost beg for a delicious drink on the side. Avoid mimosas containing a lot of sugar from the added juice. Instead, opt for a glass of extra-dry champagne with frozen berries added for color and flavor. If you like things a little spicier, make your own Bloody Mary to control the “extras.” Avoid pre-mixed bottles that often have lots of salt and added sugars. One quick and lower-calorie alternative? Add some Otamot Organic Spicy Sauce to your vodka for a kick of heat, tomatoey flavor, and some extra sneaky veggies.
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One of the most refreshing drinks is a mojito – for a low-calorie version, use light rum, skip the syrup (or use this monk fruit zero-calorie substitute), and add extra mint and lime juice along with sparkling water. If you’re looking for something bubbly and portable to take on your summer vacations, try boozy kombucha from Luna Bay Booch. It’s naturally low-sugar and packed with probiotics. The variety of flavors will leave you satisfied and refreshed.
Rich, warm drinks are often a part of our fall and winter celebrations, but those options can come with a steep calorie toll. Instead of reaching for eggnog or spiked hot chocolate, try options that rely on the flavors of fruit and spices instead. A hot toddy is an excellent cool-weather low-cal option because you can control how much honey or sugar substitute (like liquid Splenda) you add to your whiskey/bourbon, lemon juice, spices, and water. If a warm, 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 without any added sugar (only that from the citrus) and mixing two parts wine with one part sparkling water before you put it on the stove.
Beer and Wine
If you tend to head for the beer and wine rather than the liquor and cocktails, you can still make delicious low-calorie choices without sacrificing quality and flavor. On the wine aisle, choose a rosé that isn’t too sweet (so avoid the dessert wines) to minimize the calories. Better yet, have wine delivered right to your door with a rosé membership from Dry Farm Wines; their products are sugar/additive-free and delicious! For lower-calorie red and white options, head to Skinnygirl Cocktails and browse their bottles. For the beer lovers, light and low-calorie varieties are your best bet; everything from Corona to Miller has a light option these days. If you’d like a “regular” beer, remember that a lighter color generally means fewer calories, so avoid the stouts. Try Dogfish Head Brewery’s Slightly Mighty IPA brewed with monk fruit for the best flavor!
Whether crafting your own infused liquor at home or out for a night with friends, knowing how to choose lower-calorie options for any occasion will help you have that drink and enjoy it, too!