You’ve been dieting for months all so you could slim down in time for summer—and now you’re sporting your swimsuit with pride! But before you settle into your lounge chair with a congratulatory cocktail, you should take a closer look at its nutritionals—especially if you want to maintain your newfound flat belly through the fall.
Though it's possible to enjoy select umbrella-topped drinks without blowing your beach bod, most will do just the opposite thanks to sky-high calorie and sugar counts. Here are the worst offenders that you’ll find on every beach. Ditch them for our suggested smart swaps and you’ll leave the sand tanned and (still) toned.
One serving: 192 calories, 0 carbs, 0 sugar
Drink This! Instead: 4-ounces Simply Grapefruit 100% Pure Juice and a shot of vodka
You might think a martini is a healthy pick because it doesn’t call for any mixers, but deep down you’ve got to know that sipping on three shots of flavored vodka isn’t much better. Though it’s light on sugar, just one cocktail has more calories than a Twix bar—and no one ever has just one drink. To save 78 calories, mix a shot of vodka with a cup of Simply Grapefruit. The resulting drink isn’t a sweet as a peach martini, but it does have a refreshing fruity flavor.
One serving: 193 calories, 27 g carbs, 27 g sugar
Drink This! Instead: 6-ounces of unsweetened coconut water (we like Vita Coco) and one shot of vodka
You might like Piña Coladas (and gettin’ caught in the rain), but after throwing back a few you won’t like how you look or feel. When the body breaks down alcohol, it converts it into glucose, which floods your system with sugar. That’s why simultaneously consuming other sources of sugar—like all the mixers that go into a colada—makes matters even worse. The more sugar you consume, the more brutal the hangover and the worse your health and waistline are apt to fare. Make our Drink This! Instead recipe to cut 19 grams of sugar and 62 calories!
One serving: 219 calories, 17 g carbs, 12 g sugar
Drink This! Instead: A shot of white rum with a half-ounce of fresh lime juice, a half ounce of orgeat syrup and a 3/4-ounce of orange juice.
Mai Tais are popular because, like the Cronut or ramen burger, they’re two indulgences in one: in this case, dessert and booze. Doubling your dietary abandon comes with a hefty calorie count, though: Down two of the drinks and you’ll have consumed the caloric equivalent of a McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger. Trade them for one of the Eat This, Not That!-approved cocktail outlined above. It infuses the almond and fruit flavors you crave for 150 calories and half the sugar.
Long Island Iced Tea
One serving: 243 calories, 16 g carbs, 27 g sugar
Drink This! Instead: A shot of tea-flavored vodka (we like Firefly) with four ounces unsweetened iced tea + two muddled lemon wedges and one ounce of simple syrup
Long Island Iced Teas (or as bar-hopping cool kids would say, LIIT) are basically a sampling of every spirit known to man topped off with a bucket of sugar (in the form of cola and sour mix)–you know, to help the medicine go down. After a night of drinking this cocktail, you’re bound to wake up the next morning with a horrific hangover and a noticeably larger gut. Switch to our slimed down version to keep nearly 100 calories and 13 grams of sugar—a nutrient that can cause diabetes and obesity if consumed in excess—out of your glass.
One serving: 279 calories, 48 g carbs, 44 g sugar
Drink This! Instead: Champagne with muddled strawberries and lemons
Unless you personally blended the strawberries, you can assume this is a cup full of high-fructose corn syrup. You can also assume you’re going to have a pounding headache in the morning. Switch to a glass of bubbly with muddled strawberries and lemon slices to get your fruity fix for a fraction of the waist-widening calories. You’ll be thankful you did when you’re feeling bathing suit-ready the day after you indulge.
One serving: 401 calories, 84 g carbs, 72 g sugar
Drink This! Instead: A mojito (1 ½ ounces of white rum with 4 ounces of soda water, 1 ounce of fresh lime juice and 2 teaspoons of sugar)
While whipping up a frozen marg at home isn’t quite as bad as getting it from a bar (400 calories vs 700), it’s still the worst summer cocktail for your waistline. Made with a sugar-spiked neon mix and tequila, the summer staple will overload your system with more sugar than you’d find in nine Dunkin’ Donuts Apple n’ Spice Donuts! The better choice would be a mojito. Made with a bevy of healthy components–including lime juice, fresh mint and soda water–it will only cost you 135 calories and 8 grams of sugar.