“I been drinkin’, I been drankin’.” I am all about the Beyonce life when it comes to dancing in clubs or tossing back a couple of drinks with friends. Despite the gift that alcohol is, it comes with a few side effects that we don’t appreciate quite as much as the prime time buzz.
When you’re out partying, you aren’t really thinking about the sugar content of your favorite cocktail. The party life is good fun, but things get a bit interesting when our club dresses start fitting a little tighter, and it’s a little alarming when those high-waisted sequined shorts (the ones that made our butt look as perky as a 12-year old gymnast’s) don’t fit anymore.
If you weren’t aware, cocktails have a lot of sugar. Even worse, those pitchers of beer that you’re chugging at football tailgates are full of sugar and carbs. But don’t fret. You’re not going to have to give up drinking altogether to get back into that LBD…but you’ll have to give up a few of those favorite cocktails.
Here are some healthier (and low-sugar) alternatives that let you have all the fun without all the weight gain:
Get spirit-ual. Best way to avoid excess sugar is to drink plain spirits. All the class favorites are welcome at this party – whisky, rum, vodka, and gin. As long as your poison of choice is over 80-proof, then all of the sugars and carbohydrates are eliminated in the distilling process. You get all the fun without the waist-expanding side effects.
Lose the flavored alcohol. What part of ‘green apple vodka,’ ‘coconut rum’ and ‘cinnamon whisky’ made you think it was sugar free?
Drink wine. Specifically, drink red wines, dry whites, or even dry champagnes. Studies have proven that red wine is great for heart health. It’s full of excellent health benefits and sparse with sugar, but be careful: wine has more alcohol content than your average beer, so drink responsibly. Dry whites may not be as fun as those sugary drinks you can get at some bars, but a nice Sauvignon blanc never hurt anybody. You get to look classy and get crunk.
Forget the beers and probably ciders too. Pretend this is an episode of Project Runway and tell your stash of beer, “I’m sorry, but this means you’re out.” Beer has its pros and cons, of course, but beers usually pack about 150 calories in a drink, and the more you chug, the more of a calorie overload you put your body through. While your liver is focused on burning alcohol, your body isn’t focused on burning fat. One or two isn’t a bad thing. The only thing worse than beer for sugar and carbs are ciders. Both make you feel bloated, and the sugar in cider can give you terrible hangovers.
Replace your mixers. Instead of rum and coke, have vodka with soda water and lime. Toss back a vodka cranberry instead of a birthday cake shot with cake-flavored vodka and kahlua.
Drink Bloody Mary’s. Bloody Mary’s are packed with nutrients. It’s a super low calorie drink and it’s separate ingredients have excellent health benefits. Tomatoes are know for their cancer-protective properties. Horseradish assists with the fight against common colds, has a few antibiotic properties and can help prevent UTIs. Celery is basically a zero-calorie vegetable because you burn more calories just digesting it than the actual vegetable has. It’s also known to lower high blood pressure.
Drink and be merry! Your fave cocktails are your faves for a reason. You don’t need to get rid of them completely, but there should be a cutback on the number of them you indulge in. Drinking is ultimately about having fun, but don’t do it at the expense of your health (or your wardrobe).