I love a good weekend brunch, and no shame here — it's especially because of the mimosas and Bloody Marys. Brunch can be a pretty heavy meal though, and the cocktails are no exception. On their own, most spirits average around 120 calories in a typical pour. Start adding fruit and veggie juice to the mix and that number quickly goes up — a Bloody Mary can easily add 400 calories and a ton of sodium to your meal. Before you completely give up on the classic brunch drink, try making a healthier version at home. Think of it as having a (spiked) salad in a cup.
- If you're only going to change one thing about a classic Bloody Mary recipe, ditch standard tomato juice and don't use a mix. Most store-bought tomato juices are made with added sugar and sodium. Make your own tomato juice or look for one in the store with no added sugar and a low sodium content. The spices in a typical Bloody Mary make all that added salt unnecessary.
- Think beyond celery, olives, and lemons and pile on the fresh veggies. In past concoctions, I've used green beans, asparagus, carrots, and radish. A friend of mine loves adding okra. Instant salad!
- Besides veggies, think about adding protein to your drink. Turkey bacon, shrimp, and crab meat work well in Bloodys. Some people even add a small cube of cheese as a garnish.
- Bring down the calories by swapping the vodka out for the Asian spirit shochu. Shochu tastes like vodka but has way fewer calories.
- Hold the alcohol and make it a virgin. Skip the liquor but get all the benefits from the veggies, especially the antioxidant lycopene from all that tomato.