As a dietitian, if I walk into a bar I often get questioning looks and am asked, “What are YOU drinking?” and “Is it healthy?” Well, first of all, I can’t say that any alcohol is necessarily “healthy.” Yes, there are studies to show that one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men can be healthy, and that a glass of red wine is good for your heart. This being said, I do not promote alcohol in any way to “cure” or “prevent” diseases. But I do think it can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.
When it comes to alcohol, as I’m sure you have heard many times, moderation really is key. And this does not mean you should “save” all your drinks during the week for Friday night as spreading them out is also important. Also consider that alcohol slows the metabolism of fat and can contribute to a “beer belly.” Drinking alcohol also tends to cause the munchies because glucose is released into the blood steam more slowly, causing your blood sugars to drop and make you hungry. Alcohol is high in calories (7 calories per gram, as opposed to carbohydrates and protein, which are only 4 calories per gram). Alcohol can side-rail a weight loss/weight management program quite quickly when it is over-consumed.
With all of that being said, here are my top five picks for the tastiest, lowest-calorie summer drinks when consumed in moderation:
1. Vodka with Club Soda and a Slice of Fruit
- My personal favorite: 1 ounce Absolute Mandarin Vodka with 8 ounces club soda and an orange slice: 75 calories.
- Note: Club soda is carbonated water and does not have any calories. Another benefit: it helps keep you hydrated.
- My recipe: ½ ounce vodka, ½ ounce Triple Sec, 2 ounces Ocean Spray Diet Cranberry Juice, juice of 1 fresh lime: 90 calories.
- Note: Use a shaker to combine vodka, Triple Sec, cranberry juice and the juice from the squeezed lime. Top with lime slice or a cherry for garnish.
3. Tea and Lemonade
- My recipe: 1.5 ounces Firefly Skinny Tea Vodka mixed with 8 ounces Crystal Light lemonade: 75 calories. Top with a lemon slice for garnish.
4. Gin Bucket
- My recipe: 1 ounce gin with 4 ounces Crystal Light of your choice and 4 ounces Diet Sprite: 80 calories.
- Note: This can be made in larger quantities for groups of people, hence the name gin “bucket.”
5. Mike’s Light Hard Cranberry Lemonade
- Although not technically a cocktail, this is a great option as a pre-made beverage. Contains 119 calories.
Do you have a personal favorite cocktail recipe that you would like to share? Add it to this post!
Enjoy your summer beverages! And remember, please drink responsibly.