Making Smart Drink Choices

Alright friends, so it’s Friday. Just hours from the start of your weekend. Or maybe your weekend has already begun. Either way, one of my favorite ways to wind down from a stressful week is with an ice cold beverage of some sort.

Let me tell you what drinking used to look like for me back in my younger years (which were also my disordered eating years). I would wake up Friday or Saturday morning and start figuring out what was going on for the evening festivities. As soon as I realized there would be alcoholic consumption involved, I would automatically get in the mindset of  ‘no more food for this girl!’ You and I both know how quickly alcohol calories can add up. If you aren’t careful, before you know it, you can rack up your daily recommended intake just in drinks for the night. And you wonder where your freshman 15 came from?

Well let me give you a few tips that allow you to still have a drink or two without feeling like you can’t eat all day. If a beverage is something you care to partake of, you should be able to enjoy it without feeling guilty.

source: original artwork

  • Drink wine. It’s lower in calories.
  • Drink liquor. By itself. It’s low in calories.
  • If you can’t do without your mixed drinks, consider diet tonic, sodas, juices, etc. WebMD offers this list of low-calorie mixers.
  • If diet mixers aren’t an option, most martinis are low on calories (apart from the obvious, like chocolate martinis)
  • Gin and tonic is not bad (around 200 calories), but the tonic can add up fast.
  • Light beer is healthier than your favorite pale ale. Shocker!
  • If you want to compare your favorite drinks, head over to the web site Get Drunk Not Fat.
  • Once you have more than two drinks, you’re already in “unhealthy” territory. If it’s a simple social gathering and not a wild night out, the healthiest thing will be to cut yourself off after a couple.
  • Try switching between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks throughout the night. Sparkling water with a squeeze of citrus can be refreshing, and it has the added benefit of not looking like a buzz kill.

One of my favorite tricks for keeping calories low is Crystal Light drink mixes. Yup, those little calorie-free packets of flavorful powder that you pour in water. You just whip up a glass of that and add your favorite liquor. Rum, whiskey, and vodka are the best with the mixes, in my opinion. That way, you are only taking in the calories from the liquor, and not the mixers. Mixers are where you will generally see the calories add up, but not in this case.

Now, I am no way saying that drinking is necessarily healthy so don’t get me all twisted up here. But I am an advocate of enjoying the things that you love, and for me and many others, a glass or two is something I enjoy. No longer are the days where I have to starve myself in order to enjoy a cold Becks beer.

Besides, the hangovers were pretty darn horrid without any food to soak up the alcohol. Not a game I would suggest to anyone!

Summer is, sadly, almost over. Enjoy the weekend. Crack open a cold one and take it all in!

What are your health-conscious tips and tricks for alcohol consumption?

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  1. T says

    I think this is my favorite post so far, it is right up my alley. I enjoy my adult beverages on occasion and I am always trying to stay conscience of the calories. Like you said they add up sooo fast. My fave beers are Beck and Bud Select 55 because both are under 65 calories a bottle. Score! I also try to limit mixers to just a few ingredient and choosing diet or low cal when possible. I love Skinny margaritas. Star with a Low Ball glass 1 shot or 2 of silver Tequila, fill with Fresca, and then top with lime juice to taste, don’t forget the ice and you can salt the rim if you like, I personally skip the salt.

    • Holly says

      Yes, that is also my favorite Margarita recipe. The fresca is calorie-free, yet adds the lime-flavor you’re looking for without those nasty calorie-ridden pre-made mixes. And if you like it blended and icy, just throw it in a blender with some ice, and you’re set!

  2. says

    First, not eating before drinking is a mistake; that alcohol will hit you much harder without food in your system. And because alcohol dehydrates you, if I were really planning beforehand on what to do…I would make sure it was a day of soups, lean protein and water.

    My biggest tip for a night out if you might have over-imbibed? Come home and down a couple of glasses of water and a Tylenol before you go to bed. That dehydration I mentioned is a big part of adding to a hangover; keep your body hydrated and you'll feel much better. I'm not advocating over-imbibing; I find it no fun BUT if you do proactive measures the night before can help!

    • says

      Barbara, I completely agree! Not eating before drinking (or skipping meals at all, for that matter) is not something I condone at all. I was just painting a picture of how life used to look back when my eating was severely disordered.
      You are right, lots of water usually does the trick. At least one glass of water for each alcoholic drink is usually the right recipe for me.


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