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How to Enjoy Cocktails Guilt-Free

6 Ways to Enjoy Cocktails Guilt-Free

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By Tina Haupert

For me, it wouldn’t be the holiday season without enjoying a festive cocktail or two. But unfortunately most of these drinks are heavy on calories and fat, which isn’t good when I’m trying to maintain healthy eating habits.

Instead of just sipping seltzer and missing out on all of the party cheer, I follow a few simple tricks to keep the holiday cocktails from showing up on the scale.

Start With Some Bubbly
Sorry, not champagne! On a night when I know there are a few drinks in my future, I like to start off with a glass of no-calorie seltzer (or still water). The bubbles from the carbonation give my stomach a full feeling, which helps me slow down and think about my food choices as the night progresses.

If I pace myself, I have better control around all of the delicious holiday goodies. Plus it's no surprise that the calories in cocktails quickly add up, so I also like to alternate seltzer between rounds.

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Order It With Extra Ice
I like to order my cocktails with extra ice, since melting cubes dilute the drink. This creates more liquid, so I can sip longer without increasing my calorie intake.

Occasionally, I'll order my drink on the rocks, which takes me longer to consume than a mixed cocktail. Sometimes it lasts so long, I don't bother with a refill, which saves me calories in the long run.

Keep reading for more tips!

Think Before You Drink
In the past, I used to make a beeline straight for the bar when I arrived at holiday parties. I’d get carried away with the festive atmosphere and guzzle down the first drink before my friends had even placed their orders. This meant I was consuming plenty of calories before the night had really even begun.

Now I start with the seltzer and think about the drink I'd like to order. By the time I've considered my options, I'm happier with my cocktail choice and take the time to savor it.

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Lose the Straw
Last holiday season, I noticed that I chugged down cocktails when I used a straw, which meant I was more likely to refill sooner. It wasn't until I was served a drink without a straw that I realized just how much slower I sipped (and enjoyed!) it. Now, any time I order a cocktail, I make sure to leave the straw behind.

Skip the Juice (Unless It's Fresh)
Fruit juice is often packed with sugar, so I tend to avoid cocktails that contain juice — unless it's freshly squeezed, which is rich in disease-fighting antioxidants.

One of my favorite cocktails is vodka with seltzer and a small splash of pomegranate juice. This gives my drink lots of flavor and a healthy punch without too many added calories.

Source: Thinkstock
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