I’m sure many of you are finalizing your plans for one of the biggest holiday parties of the year and deciding what this year’s New Year’s resolution will be, and I’d venture to say the majority of resolutions are to lose weight. Keep your goals in mind tonight and remember that with a little planning, you can avoid diet disaster!
It is so easy to overdo it with alcohol and we often forget how many calories are in just one drink. Take, for instance, a screwdriver. The orange juice alone has about 84 calories (and a lot of sugar) and when you add a shot vodka, the calories more than double. 3 or 4 of those and you’ve had almost half of your allotted daily calories. Calories aren’t the only reason to take it easy on alcohol. The lower our inhibitions, the more likely we are to mindlessly indulge in the sweets on the dessert table, that extra slice of pizza or any food that is within striking distance.
So how do you keep those calories in alcoholic drinks from adding up so quickly? Here are five tips from the experts.
1. Alternate alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks to save calories. The savvy dieter finishes one cocktail, glass of wine or beer, then has a “mocktail” — a nonalcoholic, preferably zero-calorie beverage (like sparkling water with a lime) that looks like the real thing. This strategy not only reduces the risk of over-consuming calories and alcohol, but it also helps you stay hydrated so your head will thank you in the morning!
2. Choose wine, light beer, or simple cocktails made with low-calorie mixers. Just as you might order your salad with dressing on the side, don’t be shy about asking for your cocktail your way. You can save 100 calories if you have a club or diet soda as your mixer. Remember using juice mixers adds extra sugar to your drink!
3. Skip the mixer altogether. Try ordering your favorite spirit or one of the new flavored liquors on the rocks. Infused vodkas are infused with flavors, not sweetened, keeping any extra calories at bay.
4. Dilute your drink. Another option is diluting your drink with club soda or water. If you usually drink vodka and cranberry, for example, try it with club soda, just a splash of cranberry juice, and a squeeze of lime.
5. Have a game plan. Before heading out, make sure you have a game plan. Decide in advance the number of cocktails you are going to drink and cut back on calories during the day in anticipation. But eat a light snack before you go so you won’t get tipsy with the first drink and it will be less tempting to dive into the food. Always be aware of your own personal limits. Don’t drink too much, and please don’t drink and drive.
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Have a safe and happy New Year and I’ll talk to you in 2012!