It's that time of year when most of us resolve to be healthier, happier, and to treat ourselves better. And while many of us stampeded to the gym (seriously it was way too hard to find a treadmill this week) and to the produce aisle, it's only too easy to have your willpower undermined at the bar. With that in mind, we spoke with Alissa Rumsey, Registered Dietitian and Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, about how to make your drinks just a tad healthier and less calorie-heavy. Her tips below.
1. Steer clear from high-calorie mixers.
Rumsey advises to avoid cocktails with juice, flavored sodas, or pre-made and powered mixes that contain excess sugar. Avoid: piña coladas, margaritas, or mojitos.
2. Look for these ingredients.
Regular soda water and tonic water are the top two ingredients that Rumsey recommends scanning for, as they'll save you a ton on extra sugar and calories. Additionally, "Cocktails with fewer ingredients are generally going to be lower in calories, such as an Old Fashioned," she says. "Avoid cocktails that have a long list of ingredients including many different sugary add-ins like juices or simple syrup."
3. Make these modifications.
Really itching for that margarita? Request tequila, lime juice, and agave syrup. More of a mojito girl? Try rum, mint, lime, soda water, and just a bit of sugar. Rumsey also recommends that if ordering cocktails made with simple sugar, ask for "just a touch" or "half as much as normal" to bring the sugar level down. Ask for them to use whole fruit instead of fruit juice, such as muddled limes, kiwi, or berries instead of a sugary juice.
4. Embrace the vodka soda.
Sure, it's a bit bland, but Rumsey notes that it's also the drink with the lowest calories. Keep it from getting too boring by adding a splash of fruit juice for flavor.
5. Find a cocktail alternative.
If you are keeping an eye on a calorie counter, opt for a glass of wine or champagne, which are often around 120 calories. If you want to lower that still, try a wine spritzer (less sugary, but also less boozy) or a light beer which can be as little as 100 calories.
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