Hidden Calories in Holiday Drinks

People concerned about calories often try to limit the intake of sweets over the holidays but may overlook another significant source of calories… alcoholic drinks! The number of calories in mixed drinks can add up quickly and could easily contribute to an expanding waistline during the holidays.

Indulging in an alcoholic beverage doesn’t have to derail your fitness efforts if you keep calories low and make wise choices. Learn how many calories are in four popular drinks and some options to reduce their calories:

Piña Colada
This tropical island treat is made with light rum, coconut milk, and pineapple juice. While the tropical taste may help ward off the winter blahs, you may end up singing the blues once you learn a 12-ounce drink has about 590 calories.

Lighter Option: Mix 1-ounce coconut rum with 4-ounces of pineapple juice over ice, top with club soda. By skipping the high fat and high-calorie coconut milk, you can reduce the calories by 75%.

Flavours of chocolate and coffee come together in this drink made with coffee-flavored liqueur, Irish cream, vodka, chocolate syrup and half-and-half cream. Due to the rich and creamy ingredients, a 6-ounce drink comes in at 560 calories.

Lighter Option: Skip the high-fat cream, ditch the chocolate syrup and Irish cream in favour of coffee liqueur, chocolate vodka mixed with low-fat milk.

Brandied Eggnog
For some, there is nothing more festive than sipping on spiked eggnog at a holiday gathering. The list of ingredients may be short – brandy combined with store bought eggnog – but the calorie count is high at over 400 calories per cup.

Lighter Option: Mix low-fat eggnog with cinnamon flavoured vodka to enjoy all the festive flavour and creaminess but for about half the calories.

This classic martini is a staple on many drink lists thanks to Sex in the City. Made from vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice and lime, a 4-ounce drink has about 220 calories.

Lighter Option: Combine raspberry infused vodka, with a splash of cranberry and a squeeze of lime to save yourself a hundred calories.

Didn’t find your drink on the above list? Consider these other calorie saving suggestions:

  • Drink liquor neat or on the rocks because it has fewer calories than a mixed drink
  • Stick to clear liquors instead of creamy ones
  • Ask for mixed drinks to be made with diet tonic or sodas, soda water or just a splash of juice
  • Drink a light beer which has about 110 calories per 12-ounce bottle
  • Toast the holidays with a glass of dry champagne which has about a 100 calories per 4-ounce glass
  • Savour a glass of chardonnay or cabernet sauvignon which has about 125 calories per 4-ounce glass
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with sparkling water and lime – not only will this will keep you hydrated, it will also reduce how much you drink (in some cases by as much as half)!

Remember drinking these lower calorie options should still be done in moderation and paying attention to the portion size. Also please be responsible – don’t drink and drive. Happy Holidays from our Newmarket physiotherapy family to yours!

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