Drinking is fun. But so is looking and feeling good. How do you partake in booze-fueled banter and tipsy indiscretions without looking like hell the next day? We asked a few of our favorite nutrition experts how they tie one on without looking like something important has come undone. Below is what they told us, along with a few pro tips on tippling without derailing your weight loss plan.
“I have a favorite cocktail: Vodka on the rocks with a few shakes of Tabasco (or any hot sauce) and a few olives. It’s basically a lower calorie Bloody Mary with a kick, so you don’t drink it too fast. It’s void of any mixers which add calories, and it’s a nice twist on your regular vodka club soda with lime.” —Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, Real Nutrition NYC
Slow your roll (and your rolls of flab) by drinking two glasses of water for every alcoholic beverage. If you think that’s a little precious, consider that Dean Martin would quaff apple juice in a rocks glass between glasses of similar-colored Jack Daniels. Juice has plenty of calories and carbs, so water is your best bet; make it a seltzer with lime if you'd like. Observing a 2:1 ratio of water to alcohol will slow down your drinking and dilute the alcohol in your system, making you less likely to make a poor late-night food choice.
THE RIGHT WINE
“I love a good glass of Burgundy, so that's my first preference. I drink it slower than a cocktail, which ultimately means fewer calories from a boozy night.” — Dana James, MS, CNS, CDN, BANT, AADP, founder of Food Coach NYC & LA
“Anyone who knows me, knows that I drink white wine (in moderation). White wine tends to be lower in calories than red, and it feels lighter.” — Ilyse Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, Ilyse Shapiro Nutrition
Drink wine over liquor. Wine packs more calories (100-150) and more carbs (around 5) than a standard serving of liquor, but there’s a trade-off: Wine has high concentrations of resveratrol, an antioxidant shown to reduce the risk of depression, cancer and diabetes while improving the ratio of good to bad cholesterol. Why not pick up one of these 16 Best Wines for Weight Loss?
“I usually order tequila with seltzer and a splash of lime. Tequila is made with agave, so it's naturally sweet without the added sugar. The lime gives it a tangy flavor and adds fruit. Seltzer is always preferred over tonic as it calorie and sugar free. This combination is tasty, but low in calories.” — Leah Kaufman, MS,RD,CDN, justfortodaynyc.com
“I'll order a tequila on the rocks with loads of lime. Tequila is the only alcohol that is not a depressant, so I'm less likely to feel sorry for myself the next morning and want to eat a carb-laden breakfast. Plus, I always have a fun night when drinking tequila!” — Dana James, MS, CNS, CDN, BANT, AADP, founder of Food Coach NYC & LA
When ordering the hard stuff, take it neat, on the rocks or with water or seltzer. A jigger (1.5oz) of vodka has a modest 93 calories. Whiskey and tequila have about 96, while gin comes in around 110. None of these liquors have any carbs. However, pairing them with juice or soda will more than double the calories and pack on 30 to 40 grams of carbs. Another benefit of drinking neat liquor is that its undiluted potency will likely cause you to slow down. Kind on your wallet, kind on your waistline.
GIN or Other Clear Liquors
“I like to stick with gin and diet tonics, or any type of clear liquor with diet tonic or club soda. The only difference between tonic and diet tonic is that diet tonic doesn't have the high fructose corn syrup. The mixers can be the worst offenders. When it comes to liquor, I try to stick with the clears. Clear liquors like silver tequila, vodka, gin and clear or white rum have less sugar compared to the darker liquors. The darker the liquor, the bigger the hangover.” — Gina Consalvo, MA, RD, LDN, CDE, NCC, eatwellwithgina.com
“Drinking one ounce of vodka mixed with water and a lime totals about 65 calories. Gin and a tonic (with one ounce of gin) totals about 55 calories. It would be possible to have one of these drinks and not ruin a person's diet. One glass of a white wine totals about 120 calories. The key would be to keep these drinks to a minimum and only have one drink for a female, and one to two drinks for a male.” —Jim White, RD, ACSM, owner, Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios
You’ll notice that these experts don’t go for beer at the bar. Sure, a cold brewski is refreshing and guzzle-worthy, but most pack more than 130 calories and 20 grams of carbs. If you can’t be persuaded to switch to liquor or wine and balk at the idea of light beer, you’re better off ordering a stout, such as Guinness. While it's as carbacious and calorific as other beers, Guinness has a higher nutritional value. It boasts soluble fiber, vitamin b12 and antioxidants, just like wine.