Cheers! Navigating Winter Beverages
“Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love thy enemy.” – Frank Sinatra
We are now well into the holiday season, with snow here to stay until at least next March here in Montana. While I love the holidays (the first snow, the holiday lights, carols playing in stores, etc.) the sheer number of events and parties overflowing with alcohol and endless appetizers can do a number on anyone’s waistline. As I love to partake in all things merry and bright, I’ve learned a few tricks over the years to mitigate the damage, at least a little.
First, consider how much you WANT to drink before you go. Not only could this potentially save you from a lot of excess calories, but drinking more than intended may have disastrous consequences when driving. So, take a pause before you go, consider how long you will be at the party, if you need to eat something before going, and how many beverages you want to consume. It’s too easy to over-indulge - you start with a cup of something, get distracted, get a refill, talk to someone else, get offered another refill and so on.
Second, consider WHAT you want to drink. In the land of holiday drinks, there are many delicious choices… Sooo many delicious choices! Which is good, because some drinks can ruin even the most diligent of diets because of the sugar content. Choosing drinks that are lower in calories, but still give your taste buds a zing, can help keep things in check. For example, champagne is 90 calories per glass and tastes amazing with just about every food. Red and white wine are generally low sugar choices that one can sip on throughout the evening. Any of the hard alcohols (whiskey, bourbon, tequila, etc.) over ice or straight up are around 100 calories. Vodka soda, gin & tonic, or rum and diet coke are easy to order and won’t break the calorie budget. For a beer, consider a blonde ale like Kona Light or something like a Corona Premier. They’re around 100 calories per bottle and significantly better than some other light beers in my opinion.
However, if you’re feeling something more exotic or highbrow such as a martini, keep it clear! What I mean by that is that if you can’t see through it, it’s probably packed with sugar and calories. A vodka or gin martini will run you about 175 calories whereas any version of a chocolate martini is going to be over 300 calories per drink. A White Russian is going to be around 250 calories a glass. So, if you’re in the mood for something sweeter, consider a paloma (the sour cousin of a margarita) or a mojito. Both are about 165 calories and pack a ton of flavor if done well.
Regardless of the libation that you choose, keep track throughout the night and know your limits. A lot of times I will also throw in a glass of sparkling water with lemon between drinks just to make sure I’m staying hydrated and give myself a chance to avoid the effects of the last drink. It’s a great way to keep enjoying the party with a drink in hand without things getting out of hand ;).
Prost! Here's to a holiday season filled with love, cheer, good friends and family.