Best and Worst Booze While Dieting
This brunch favorite only has about 80 calories per 4-ounce glass. Since it’s half champagne and half orange juice, you’re also getting a little vitamin C. Want to skip the OJ? A 4-ounce glass of champagne is just 90 calories, so you’re still making a good choice.
Worst: Long Island Iced Tea
Mixing not one but four liquors (vodka, gin, rum and tequila) with sour mix and a dash of cola, means you get a cocktail not only larger in size and higher in calories (around 280 calories) but also stronger in alcohol —none of which are good when you’re trying to stay on track. Opt instead for rum or bourbon mixed with diet soda, and you’ll only take in 105 calories.
You can’t go wrong with red or white since a 5-ounce glass has 100 to 120 calories depending on the sweetness and type of grape. However, be careful with serving sizes if you’re pouring at home since today’s larger wine glasses can make you pour extra. If you do want a second glass or a larger-sized pour, make that 5-ounces go farther by adding club soda to create a wine spritzer.
While there may be no better cocktail to go with your tacos, margaritas made with sweet mix and triple sec can clock in around 450 calories—and that’s for the small 8-ounce size. If you’re not ready to give margaritas up, then look for a “skinny” version or one that uses fresh lime juice and skips a sweet mix. These varieties are usually closer to 200 calories.
Or, try one of these lighter margarita recipes instead.
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Best: Vodka Martini
A classic vodka martini made with 1.5 ounces of vodka and 1/3 ounce vermouth is just 120 calories. Feel free to add a little olive juice and an olive for just 5 more calories, but be careful with flavored martinis such as sour apple or chocolate in which calories can add up much quicker.
Worst: Fruity Island Drinks
Strawberry daiquiris, piña coladas, and pretty much any other fruity, slushy drink may sound somewhat healthy because of the fruit content, but they are actually packed with extra sugar that can add up to around 300 calories in a 5-ounce drink. They’re also often served in larger glasses meaning a typical serving may have more like 500 to 800 calories.
Best: Light Beer
There’s a huge selection of light beers available ranging from 55 to 120 calories, which can make beer a very low-calorie choice when dieting. Beware of lesser-known draft beers that might be described as “light” due to their color or taste but may not necessarily be light in calories.
Confused since we listed beer as one of the “Best” choices too? Beer all comes down to calories, and today’s beers can range from 55 to 360 for 12 fluid ounces. Light beers are great lower-calorie choices, but watch out for heavier, sweeter beers, as well as those with higher alcohol content. A higher percentage of alcohol means more calories, and lowering inhibitions can also make it hard to stay on track.
Best: Gin & Tonic
A shot of gin has just 100 calories, so when paired with a low-cal mixer such as tonic water and given a twist of lime, this classic cocktail is a healthy choice at just 135 calories. To save even more calories, pair with club soda instead.
Worst: White Russian
White Russians are made of heavy cream, vodka, and Kahlúa, and pack almost 500 calories into a 5-ounce glass. In addition, the heavy cream gives you more saturated fat than you need in one day. For a lighter sweet, after-dinner drink, try a cup of coffee with a shot of Kahlúa and a dash of skim milk for just 100 calories.
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