During the weekend I love going to brunch with my girlfriends, especially because of the mimosas and Bloody Marys. Brunch can get pretty heavy 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 350 calories and a ton of sodium to your meal. But since I love a good Bloody Mary, I'm not giving them up. Instead, I make healthier versions at home. In a way, it's almost like having a 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 lycopene from all that tomato.