When you’re throwing back shots late-night at a sports bar or indulging in a glass of wine with a home-cooked meal, do you wonder how many calories you’ve just imbibed? If you’re looking to slim down and tone up, you should aim to actively ask yourself that question. After all, forgetting to factor in liquid calories is one of the reasons you can’t lose weight.
Thankfully, beginning in May, the Food and Drug Administration will require restaurant chains to disclose calorie counts for all their menu items—including alcoholic beverages. The new federal rule will apply to restaurants with 20 or more chains and will be implemented in hopes of increasing caloric transparency, raising awareness, and encouraging drinkers to cut back.
And research attests that this theory works well in practice: According to the Cochrane Library, printing caloric content on menus can reduce the calories in diners’ orders by 7.8 percent per 600-calorie meal. And another study published in the journal Preventive Medicine discovered that implementation of menu labeling laws led to a 1.2 percent decrease in ordering alcoholic beverages.
In the coming months, make sure to take a look at that frozen margarita’s caloric damage (we wager it’s not worth it), and then check out which beverages you should opt for instead by consulting our exclusive report below. And if you’re wondering if you can still drink while on a diet, you’re going to want to check out The Secret To Drinking Booze Without Getting Fat next!
This light beer woos summer BBQ and bar crawl attendees alike with its malty, rich flavor and low calorie count. Plus, its lowly four-percent ABV level will keep a pesky hangover at bay.
Blue Moon Belgian White
Sip this Belgian-style wheat ale that boasts a palate-pleasing subtle sweetness and a hint of coriander. The added wheat and oats provide a hearty texture and creamy finish for a respectable 170 calories per bottle.
The strategic pairing of nitrogen gas and carbon dioxide lends the brew a velvety finish; and contrary to popular belief, Guinness’ classic Irish draught isn’t too high in alcohol or cals. It boasts a 4.2 percent ABV and 125 calories per 12-ounce bottle—deeming it a solid choice for weekday happy hours that may pop up.
Sierra Nevada Sidecar Orange IPA
This hoppy, orange-infused IPA (or India Pale Ale) is higher in calories and alcohol by volume but delivers some serious flavor you’ll have to enjoy in moderation.
This medium-bodied American-style lager is brewed with U.S.-grown barley malt and fresh rice for a crisp and smooth finish. With just 145 calories and a modest 5 percent ABV, it’s no wonder the iconic bottle is deemed “The King of Beers.”
Guilty of pouring with a heavy hand? You’ll appreciate this enlightening factoid: The ruby-hued fermented drink has been linked to reducing your risk of heart disease, promoting longevity, and even protecting against tooth decay.
Your gateway glass into the wine world, pinot grigio remains one of the most popular white wines on the planet. Thanks to its refreshing taste that’s easy on the palate and pairs well with many of our Best-Ever Proteins for Weight Loss, we’re giving this beverage a hard green light.
From boozy brunches to swanky rooftop lounges, you likely associate rosé with all things summer. While a five-ounce glass contains a humble 126 calories, note that the blush-hued wine doesn’t contain as many free-radical-fighting antioxidants as red wine due to the grape skins being macerated for a shorter period of time.
Applebee’s Perfect Margarita
With 310 calories and about 7 Oreos’ worth of sugar, this margarita is nowhere near perfect for your slim-down plan.
Chili’s Tito’s Punch
Mixed with Malibu rum, vodka, pineapple juice, and grenadine, this fruity vice is like a spiked version of the calorie-laden punch you sipped as a kid. Skip the caloric cocktail and opt for a refreshing light beer instead.
You know the deal: Ordering a vodka soda is the best bet for your beltline. One 1.5-ounce shot of the clear liquor packs in just under 100 calories and stirring it with a zero-calorie sparkling water will help dilute the medicinal flavor without contributing extra calories. Tired of your tried-and-true vodka soda? Try mixing it up by ordering a tequila soda, adding a decorative citrus garnish, or spiking the cup with muddled mint leaves.
TGI Fridays House Martini
“Never mix your liquors” is the age-old word of warning you’ve heard long before you’ve turned 21. No matter how sophisticated you may feel ordering this cocktail, try to avoid this nutritional nightmare.
Applebee’s Top Shelf Long Island Iced Tea
Craving a lemony drink and long-lasting buzz? Skip this college go-to and opt for a vodka soda garnished with a lemon wedge. Not only will you save some major calories, but the citrus will help you slash your risk of alcohol-induced liver injury, according to a study in the BioMed Research International journal.
TGI Fridays Fresh Strawberry Daiquiri
It may have been your go-to bev during those good ol’ college days, but this sugar-laden blend should be left in the past. Now that your palate has graduated from strawberry daiquiris to more refined cocktails, know that choosing a tequila soda is a significantly smarter choice to slim down your waistline.
TGI Fridays Cosmopolitan
Whether you’re a fan of pink drinks or binge-watched an entire season of Sex and the City in one sitting, opting for the Cosmo will add unnecessary calories to your dinner order. Not to mention, getting carried (pun intended!) away with one-too-many cosmos is a recipe for a disastrous morning after. Looking to cure a throbbing hangover headache? Read up on these 25 Best Foods for a Hangover Cure—Ranked!.