When I did Weight Watchers back in 2003, one of the first things I remember them preaching was, “don’t drink your calories.” It’s so true. Sugary sodas and cocktails are loaded with empty calories. Yes, mama needs a glass of wine — evidenced by my new Wine Down Wednesdays on Facebook!! — but I rarely indulge in one of those slushy cocktails, a mega margarita or anything with lots of juices in it. I personally rather eat my calories. I really love to eat. So it’s all about low calorie cocktails, preferably under 150 calories, that are tasty and satisfying.
I have to confess that it’s so much easier when you’re home — you can do any mixer you want (if you drink soda, I love fresca and vodka, or a light lemonade and vodka!), but if you’re out work with what’s available. Luckily so many bartenders are coming up with crafy cocktails and have more fresh juices and muddled fruits on hand.
Here are some of the best options to order at the bar:
Red or white wine: about 120 calories for 5-oz glass (just remember that every pour is not 5 ounces!)
Champagne: about 80 calories for a super cute flute of bubbly. Keep in mind it’s about 4 oz.
Light beer: about 100 calories, though I’m sure you’re seeing ones as low as 55 calories. Keep in mind those typically have less alcohol. Your typical regular beer is closer to 150-160 calories, and ciders (while I love them!) are usually topping out at 200 calories.
Mimosas: for brunch, love champagne and orange juice… just be mindful of loading up and saying yes to the bottomless ones!
Vodka & club soda with a splash of cranberry: at about 120 calories, it’s usually my go to along with a lime. Yum! Omit the juice to take slash another 20 calories. Just remember tonic is not the same as club soda. If your drink is sugary and sweet, it’s tonic.
Rum & Diet Coke: also around 100 calories, and an easy option at a bar. Ask for vanilla rum for a sweeter dessert vibe!
Skinny Margarita: around 140 calories, the cocktail includes tequila, lime juice, orange juice (in place of triple sec) & agave nectar, preferably rimmed with salt and a lime wedge. Bethenney Frankel made it famous, and she’s a smart girl… it a delicious low calorie cocktail.
Greyhound: add in club soda in place of so much juice to lighten up this gin & grapefruit juice cocktail to around 120 cocktails. It’s a refreshing summer cocktail.
Lightened up Mojito: If there’s a mojito on the menu ask them to make it sans sugar (i.e. simple syrup) and you’re looking at a cocktail at just 100 calories for rum and club soda with muddle mint and limes. I’ve cut out artificial sugars but if that’s your game, you can always add in a little splenda or truvia to sweeten it up without adding in calories.
Sparkling fruit sangria: while sangria at a restaurant can be loaded with sugars (seriously, beware!), an at-home version like this one is a delicious low calorie cocktail alternative (particularly with Labor Day almost here!).
Whatever you decide, enjoy, be safe and duh, never drive.