It’s all too easy to overdo it with calories from alcohol, and unfortunately the festive season provides plenty of opportunities to do so! We all know that desserts are often responsible for weight gain, but when it comes to alcoholic drinks sometimes the calories don’t even register. The truth is, some drinks have as many calories as a McDonalds burger!
Obviously I’m going to advise you to make wiser choices to lower your exposure to sugar through alcohol, however it’s worth mentioning that drinking everyday is not ideal, no matter what you choose to drink. Drinking everyday for 2-3 weeks over the Christmas and New Year period won’t leave you in the best shape come January.
That being said, as your alcohol intake increases, it's important that you make a conscious effort to stay hydrated. Keep bottles of water handy at home, always take one with you when you're on the move and always have water on the table when you're at the pub or out to dinner.
BEER OR CIDER:
If beer or cider is your go-to beverage, it’s important to know the calorie counts of your favourite brands. Some brands can contain over 150 calories per bottle and contain a mountain of sugar! If you’re going to be sinking a few, it all adds up quickly.
Corona is good choice of beer, coming in at 82 calories per bottle.
It worth noting that the amount of alcohol in beer has more influence on calorie count than carbs since alcohol contains 7 calories per gram while carbs contain 4. So it’s better to choose low alcohol over low carb.
Pure Blonde Cider is a good choice, with 131 calories per bottle.
Stay away from the super sweet ciders such as Rekorderlig. Their Strawberry and Lime flavour is a whopping 330 calories per bottle and 48g of sugar!
Wine is a good choice. A small glass of your average white or red wine is approximately 85 calories. As with beer, there are low alcohol wines out there which limit the damage to your waistline. You could even make that glass last longer by topping it up with soda water or adding a couple of ice cubes to keep your drink cold.
Vodka is a good choice but google your favourite spirit to find out the calorie/sugar content. Swap full sugar soft drink mixers for reduced calorie versions, or better still, mix with soda water instead.
If you love a G&T, be mindful that tonic water actually has a surprising amount of sugar. Gin and soda can be just as delicious.
Cocktails are notoriously high in calories, because they often contain more than 1 shot of alcohol and tend to be mixed with fruit juice or soft drink, both of which are laden with sugar. If you must indulge though, here are the better choices and the ones to steer clear of.
Under 200 calories:
Sea Breeze – grapefruit juice, cranberry juice and a shot of vodka
Aperol Spritz – prosecco, aperol and soda
Mimosa – champagne with a dash of your favourite fruit juice (usually orange)
Mojito – white rum, mint, lime, soda and sugar syrup
Although this cocktail contains sugar syrup, the mint, lime and soda that goes with it are all low calorie. Try requesting half the sugar syrup when ordering.
Stay away from any creamy cocktails (e.g. Pina Colada - over 350 calories), Margaritas and Daquiris are both over 400 calories and Long Island Iced Tea at over 500 calories. Yikes!
Try to drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink. This will help you pace your drinks and will help avoid feeling too horrible the next day.
For every evening you do drink, try to plan for 2 or 3 consecutive days afterwards where you don’t drink. If this is too tricky, try to manage at least 3 alcohol free days a week.
Enjoy whatever you do choose without guilt! If you go overboard during the festive season, I can get you back on track in January.