‘Tis the season for braais by the pool and late nights out with family and friends and that often goes hand in hand with cold, refreshing beverages. Unfortunately, most of our favourite alcoholic drinks are filled with copious amounts of sugar. But don’t let that suck the fun out of your summer holidays, for “healthy” alternatives do exist.
What to order at the bar
1. Light Beer
After a long day out in the sun, an ice cold beer does just the trick! Unfortunately, too many can lead to the infamous beer belly. To avoid the calories, try out your favourite beers in their lighter forms ie; Castle Lite, Bud Light, Amstel Light. You could also try something different this summer by giving our local, lighter craft beers a taste.
2. White vs Red
This is where things get tricky. Red wine definitely has more health benefits due to things like the high level of antioxidants however, white wine tends to be slightly lower in calories than red, and it feels lighter. If you can’t make the choice, a better tip would be to opt for dry over sweet wine (regardless of colour) as dry wines have a lot less sugar. You could also switch to a wine spritzer to cut sugars in half.
3. Stick with hard tack shots
Each shot of hard liquor is about 100-130 calories; but once you add the mixer for the shot (sugar, cream, etc.), you’ll most likely double the calories. So stick with the hardtack such as tequila, vodka, whiskey, gin, and rum. Choices like peppermint crisp and strawberries and cream get two thumbs down.
4. Goodbye tonic hello soda
Block your ears G&T enthusiasts – this may come as quite a shock. Most of us don’t know the difference between tonic and soda, but unfortunately, these two versions of water are in fact very different when it comes to calorie counting. Tonic water contains around 83 calories and 21.5 grams of sugar, while soda water contains zero. Tonic is definitely more flavourful, so to spruce it up a bit add a slice of lemon and lime or even a variety of your favourite berries to your soda.
P.S If you are not willing to give up the tonic anytime soon, try some of the lighter tonics on the market such as Fever-Tree’s Light Indian Tonic.
5. Low-Calorie Cocktails
If James Bond and Carrie Bradshaw can go around drinking cocktails all day with absolutely no effect on their waistline why can’t I? The truth? We think it’s all in the camera angles.
Unfortunately for those of us not living behind the screen those delicious cocktails can catch up – but don’t worry, we are not about to insist you give them up completely, that’s no fun. Instead, here is a list of 5 cocktails that are under 200 calories so you can try to switch things up in between indulgences.
Cocktails under 200 calories:
- Mojito (168 calories)
- Old Fashioned (154 calories)
- Cucumber Gin Martini (100 calories)
- Rum and Diet Coke (96 calories)
- Amaro (75 calories)
- Vodka/ Gin and Soda (65 calories)
Tips for making healthier drinks at home
1. Use low-calorie mixers
It’s often that the liquor in an alcoholic beverage is not the main contributor to the drink’s calories. The calorie culprit is in fact what you are mixing with the liquor. Try lower-calorie alternatives, like teas and lighter versions of tonics, sodas, lemonades and fruit juices when making your favourite drinks. You can also try to be brave and ask for your favourite drink on the rocks.
2. Add ice
Adding more ice to your favourite drink will not only keep your drink cooler for longer in the summer heat, but will also mean you will be consuming fewer calories.
3. Swap syrup for healthier natural sweeteners
Cocktails like Caparinia, Pink Lady and Mojito contain syrups, which as you know, are high in sugar. Switch things up by substituting the syrup with natural sweeteners like honey, organic agave nectar, maple syrup or get creative and add something fresh — lemon, lime, mint, basil, cucumber or berries — to your drink. Citrus, herbs, and fruits make liquor and wine taste amazing without adding extra calories or sugar.
4. Alternate with water
Hydrate! Make every other drink water to slow down the drinking – giving your body a chance to process the alcohol and fill up your stomach with something your body needs.
5. Pick a healthy barman
“How on earth do I find a healthy barman?” Thirst caters for all types of events. We ensure our bar is filled with only the best quality ingredients and we even go the extra mile to meet the needs of our calorie conscious clients by helping you select healthier drink alternatives.
There you have it! There’s no need to stick to dull drinks in order to avoid excessive calories. The festive season is here and it’s time to eat, drink and be merry – now without the guilt!