Low-Calorie Alcoholic Beverages
Updated: Jan 15, 2018
Adult beverages are something I choose not to give up. I don't know why, except that I just like them. It is my vice. Don't get me wrong. I don't get sloshed every day of my life, but I do love to have a couple of beers at the end of the day or a few margaritas throughout the day while boating. Having this "bad habit" has really changed my figure in recent years, and not for the better obviously. As I have mentioned on this site, I strive to live a healthy lifestyle, but there are certain vices that I refuse to give up...just yet.
Let's get down to it. A shot of straight liquor (1.5 oz) is roughly 100 calories. This goes for all kinds: vodka, tequila, gin, whiskey...you get the idea. A glass of wine (5 oz) is roughly 100 calories as well. Just be careful when pouring your wine. Five ounces does not hit the rim of the wine glass, so don't pour like I do, if you want to stick with just 5 oz. Beer, on the other hand, can range widely in calories from 55 calories (per 12 oz) up to well past 225 calories depending on what type of beer you prefer.
The key with liquor is the mixers. You can go from 0 calorie mixers to 500 calorie mixers depending on what you choose. This adds up really quick considering a single margarita can be up to 500 calories depending on how it is made. Luckily (not luckily) for me, this happens to be my favorite mixed drink. However, you can concoct mixes with much fewer calories and still make them taste good.
Lemon juice is wonderful and can be mixed with most anything. It has zero calories and is refreshing. I love drinking lemon water, so the sourness mixed with just tequila or vodka does not both me. I also dilute it with water when I'm mixing it. If you need some sweetness in your drink, there are plenty of low-calorie sugar alternatives, such as agave nectar and stevia. I've actually made this as a frozen drink with tequila , and it's pretty tasty. Honey is also another sweetener, but packs the calories. This is if you're going for a more natural sugar, which is defeating the purpose when you're mixing it with alcohol, but no judgment here. Note: I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners, so you will never see me writing about or promoting them as healthy alternatives to sugar...ever.
Tomato juice comes in at only about 40 calories per 8 oz, which makes Bloody Mary's a low-calorie choice. Most other fruit juices, however, are over 100 calories, which adds up fast when you add in your shot of alcohol of your choice.
Another alternative to high-calorie mixers are drinks like Gatorade or Powerade. They still have sugar but come in at 50 calories per 8 oz, which is still on the lower side. These are also pretty sweet in my opinion, so I water them down when using them as a mixer. If you like some carbonation, there is always soda water or seltzer water you can add to these flavored mixtures.
If you're a margarita fiend like me, here's my sales pitch for my favorite mix, AND it's made from natural fruit juices and is low in calories. Oh, and it tastes wonderful! Fat and Juicy margarita mix has a light, refreshing taste and leaves out the high fructose corn syrup. The ingredients are all natural, and it is only 60 calories per 8 oz! How did I get so lucky??
Beer is tough for me, since I'm not a fan of light beer. I love anything amber and darker. It seems like the more color, the more calories with beer. One of my favorites, which turned me on to beer, Busted Knuckle from Quaff On, comes in at about 225 calories for a 12 oz bottle. Holy cow! I wish I would have checked out the calories before it became one of my favorites. Now I just treat it like a dessert. It's not something I drink several of in a sitting. Well, I try not to. There are very low calorie choices for beer if you enjoy light beer. I believe the ones that come in the lowest are Budweiser Select, Beck's Premier Light, and Miller 64, which all come in at less than 70 calories for a 12 oz bottle. If you're a beer drinker and trying to watch your calories, I hope you're into light beer.
Just like everything in life, everything in moderation. No matter what, you're going to consume unneeded calories when you drink alcoholic beverages. You just have to decide if it's worth it, or you can make the choice, like I do, to choose a drink over a dessert at times. You can't have it all, but at least you have choices.
(And drink responsibly!)