Alcohol Drink Calories: Here’s How to Choose Wisely
The festive month of December has arrived. Along with extra holiday calories from cookies, candy, and restaurant fare, there are those often shrugged off alcohol calories you drink and forget about. Those high calorie beverages don’t need to contain alcohol, but many are frequently alcohol based. Without being mindful of those alcohol drink calories while you are humming holiday carols, you might be singing the blues come January 1. Anyone hoping to avoid moving out a belt notch in January would be wise to be mindful of the extra alcohol drink calories being consumed while out socializing. Just because your alcohol and party drinks disappear quickly, doesn’t mean they don’t count. While you may not be mentally counting those alcohol drink calories, your body knows better. And, how about some lower calorie snacks to accompany those alcoholic drinks at the next party?
The good news is that there are some festive drinks that will do less damage to your waistline. Your secret weapon here is to watch the portion size of your holiday beverages and be mindful of the calories contributed to your daily intake. Taking it a step further by tracking all your calories (not just thinking about them), usually ends up really helping to keep the belt notch in one spot. If looking for suggestions on how to decrease alcohol consumption in general, here are a few steps to start you off.
Alcohol drinks 125 calories or less
- 4 fl. oz. champagne- my favorite at only 65 calories a glass
- 12 fl. oz. most non-alcoholic beers-70 calories
- 4 fl. oz. Mimosa-75 calories
- 12 fl. oz. Michelob Ultra-95 calories
- 12 fl. oz. Miller Light Beer-96 calories
- 12 fl. oz. Amstel Light Beer-96 calories
- 1.5 fl. oz. gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, or tequila-about 97 calories
- 1.5 fl. oz. brandy-98 calories. Consider drinking on the rocks to give the illusion of a larger serving!
- 12 fl. oz. Corona Lite Beer-99 calories
- 12 fl. oz. White Claw hard seltzer-100 calories
- 12 fl. oz. Coors Light Beer-102 calories
- 8 fl. oz. Rum and Diet Coke-100 calories
- 4 fl. oz. Sangria-100 calories
- 2 fl. oz Martini-120 calories
- 5 fl. oz. of most wines (red or white)-120 calories
- 2.25 fl. oz. traditional Martini-124 calories
- 5 fl. oz. Bloody Mary-125 calories
Alcohol drinks that are over 125 calories
- 6 fl. oz. Mojito-145 calories
- 12 fl. oz. Beck’s Dark Pilsner Beer-142 calories
- ½ cup low-fat eggnog-150 calories
- 12 fl. oz. regular beer-150 calories
- 10 fl. oz. Irish coffee-160 calories
- 1 fl. oz. of most liqueurs-165 calories
- 4 fl. oz. Margarita-168 calories
- 8 fl. oz. Rum and Coke-185 calories
- 7 fl. oz. Gin and tonic-190 calories (diet tonic water can slash the calories)
- 4 ounces Cosmopolitan-200 calories
- ½ cup regular eggnog-220 calories
- 4 fl. oz. Daquiri-225 calories
Splurges that are 300 or more calories
- 5 fl. oz. Mai Tai-310 calories
- 6.5 ounces Margarita-330 calories
- 10 ounces Hurricane-380 calories
- 6 ounces Amaretto Sour-420 calories
- 9 fl oz. Pina Colada-490 calories
- 7 fl. oz. Grasshopper Martini-525 calories
- 8 fl. oz. White Russian-570 calories
- 12.5 fl. oz. Mud Slide-595 calories
Tips to lighten up alcoholic beverage calories
Whenever a diet version of a standard ingredient can be used, the calories of your cocktail will be decreased. Note the regular rum and coke is 185 calories. But, the rum and coke using diet coke slashes the drink to 100 calories. You can also use diet tonic water and diet seven-up when possible. While these tactics may not always be an option at a restaurant or bar, you can improvise at a party hosted at a home. Think more ice, water, maybe even adding some frozen fruit puree to your cocktails to displace some of the alcohol calories.
A favorite “trick” of mine when watching calories at parties was to simply put flavored seltzer water in a pretty wine glass. There’s something very psychologically uplifting to drinking plain water or flavored seltzer water in a nice cocktail glass! And, it’s always a good plan to have your alcohol drink followed by plain water before you opt for another serving of alcohol.
Portions sizes always matter
Just as when selecting food for a healthy diet, portion sizes matter (tricks to gauge food portions)! Note the fluid ounces of each beverage are noted above. If your standard serving is slightly more, you need to account for that increase in size. Multiple servings of some of these high calorie beverages, coupled with typical high fat snack foods often served along with these drinks will most likely blow your calorie intake to the North pole. In addition to selecting your alcoholic beverage for your party, consider setting a limit for the event or party as well. And, if dining out at a restaurant this holiday season, consider some of these smart dining strategies as well.
If you care about maintaining your weight during the holidays, it’s wise to be thinking about the calories you are drinking. Know the better lower calorie options and try to plan for them. Be aware of serving sizes of alcohol just as you would do for food. Try to figure out how to dilute those alcohol calories with water, ice, or diet versions of ingredients when possible.
There’s an old saying, “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” so enjoy your party beverages, but think about your choices as you enjoy the holiday spirit this month. Doing so will make for a healthy and easier transition to 2020. Portion control tactics and smart eating strategies in December will yield a lot less work at the gym in January. Cheers!
Use this information at your own risk. Although I am a licensed IL dietitian/nutritionist, I am not your dietitian. The information in my blog Chew on This located at www.mydietmatters.com is for educational and informational purposes only. It is also my own opinion and subject to change in the future. Please consult with your own medical professionals for individual treatment.