Photos and Words by Amber Graham
If the sight of green grass, budding flowers, and shooting stalks are any indication,winter has come to a close. Yes, spring is in the air, and that can only mean one thing: The countdown to bikini season is well underway. With the rising temperatures comes the desire for many to lose those last 5 or 10 pounds before hitting the barbecues and beach parties.
The changing of the seasons means the changing of diets. Suddenly, you’re second- guessing that late night snack or extra roll at dinner. Baked goods become a thing of evil and salads are your new best pal. It’s in this climate of self-sacrifice and calorie counting that alcohol is often a no-no.
So the question becomes, can alcohol and diets co-exist? And the answer to that question is yes, but, as with so many things, with moderation. Listen, if you drink an entire six-pack of beer every night, you’re probably not going to lose weight. But some simple substitutions can help you save a few calories during diet season.
With this in mind, I give you four easy and relatively painless ways to slim down some of your favorite drinks:
Now don’t kid yourself, I’m not trying to suggest that willing yourself not to gain weight from drinking is enough to ensure you won’t. If you want to lose weight go for low calorie options of your favorite drinks. Sure we have all heard of light beer, but there are light versions of other alcoholic beverages, too.
Don’t believe me? Take one sip of Voli, a brand of light, flavored vodkas, and you’ll discover just how easy choosing a lighter option can be. In fact, when I used Voli Lemon in my favorite Cosmo recipe, I couldn’t tell the difference.
Even if you’re not making the drinks yourself, going lighter is easier than you may think. Many restaurants and bars are now featuring skinny drink menu of classic cocktails, so if you really want a Mojito or a Margarita then go for it--just ask for the skinny version instead.
Have a Clear Mind
Choosing club soda or tonic water can save hundreds of calories. Juices and syrups can add sizable amounts of calories to your drinks. And for those of you who need a little more flavor in your life, ask for a flavored diet chaser like Sprite Zero or Fresca.
Lower Your Expectations
The simple fact is, the higher the alcohol content, the more calories you consume. Simply choosing a lower proof version of what you already drink can save some calories. So when making your liquor run, take a second to read the bottle. Just being a little more aware of what you’re drinking can help you keep the alcohol weight off.
Keep it Simple
If you can, avoid the extras. Sugar rims pack on even more calories, and those garnishes, while pretty, are not your diet’s best friend. The more basic you keep your drinks, the lower your calorie count will be. Also try to avoid mixing alcohols. The more alcohol you consume, in terms of both quantity and proof, the more calories you take in. And while having more than one spirit in your drink may taste great, different alcohols have different calorie contents so sticking to just one type of alcohol can save you from some hidden calories.
And don’t forget about champagne. It may surprise you, but a 4-oz champagne has 15 fewer calories than a light beer or a 4-oz glass of wine, both of which have about 100 calories. Plus, it tastes great on its own, so no additional calories need to be added with fancy mixes.
And there you have it, four simple ways to cut back on the calories of your favorite drinks. So don’t stop drinking, but do start drinking right, and you’ll be ready for that “itsy, bitsy, yellow polka-dot bikini” in no time.
The Voli Cosmo Adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Serves 4.
- 1 cup Voli Lemon
- ½ cup triple sec
- ½ cup cranberry juice
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and pour through a strainer into four martini glasses.
Disclaimer: TasteBUds does not endorse underage drinking. Please drink responsibly.