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5 Things: Watching Cocktail Calories

There's nothing wrong with knocking back a few cocktails at your Memorial Day festivities, but don't let those empty calories destroy your efforts to eat healthy. Here are five smart solutions for cutting down on cocktail calories.

  1. Dilute your juice. If you like fruit juice-based cocktails, such as screwdrivers or vodka and cranberry, cut down on the juice and add calorie-free sparkling water instead.
  2. Use low-calorie mixers. Even tonic water is surprisingly high in calories, so opt for diet tonic and sodas. For margaritas and other summery drinks, check out the sugar-free options from Baja Bob.

To see the rest of my tips,

  1. Or, ditch the mixers entirely. Classic martinis, manhattans, and other mixerless drinks are much lower in sugar than juice-based beverages. Plus, they're strong, so you will drink them slowly, unlike those sugar drinks that go down too easily!
  2. Cut out the cream. If you're drinking something like a White Russian that calls for heavy cream, sub in two percent milk or fat-free half and half.
  3. Seek out low-cal recipes. There are plenty of mixologists out there who've come up with healthier versions of high-calorie cocktails, such as these from Hungry Girl and Drink of the Week.

Do you have tips for watching calories in cocktails? Share them in the comments below!

Join The Conversation
bigsee bigsee 9 years
i have a lot of women that come into the bar i work at and order flavored vodka and club get all the flavor but it's not sweet...(absolut pears and soda...amazing...smells like a pear jelly belly). i have one lady in particular that orders mandarin vodka and soda, then a couple wedges of oranges on the side so she can fresh squeeze a little juice into the drink...
oilinwater oilinwater 9 years
Becks Premium Light is the best low calorie beer - it around 60 cals with about 3 carbs - waaaaay better than any cocktail. Mojito is surprisingly low in cals. Wine is a good choice too.
AMP AMP 9 years
vodka soda is the way i like to go! drinks made with pop or juice make my teeth feel sugar coated after a bit. i hate that. beer is also a good choice in my book. miller lite!
uptown_girl uptown_girl 9 years
I drink wine, or drink something with Diet Coke. I've tried to cut back on anything made with juice!
Deadly-Lemur Deadly-Lemur 9 years
I like to take shots chased with water or Diet Rite. Somehow it reminds me of how toxic it is, while yummy mixed drinks don't "taste" like alcohol and don't seem as bad. Plus taking shots allows me to count exactly how much I've had, and when I lose count that's my signal to stop. That probably sounds bad, but hey, it's how I roll. And better than having no idea how much I've drank because someone else mixed my drink, or I didn't measure when I made it myself.
emalove emalove 9 years
I love my vodka cocktails. And in the summer, nothing beats a margarita or a I will keep on indulging every so often!
laura6567 laura6567 9 years
Be careful if you're substituting sugar-free mixers, such as diet soda. They get you drunk up to 3 times faster. The drink empties out of the stomach faster. This study was done by Dr Chris Rayner of the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia if you want to look the study up yourself!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Awesome tips!!
Berlin Berlin 9 years
If you can handle it... If you like Vodka cranberry, then opt for a Rose Kennedy. It's a switch up and named after her: It's vodka with club soda and a splash of cranberry juice. That way you have the vodka cran without the calories! It tastes a bit watered down, not my cup o' tea, but most bars will only have diet coke on gun, so if you want something minus the cals, then do the club soda with a splash of whatever mixer you usually take for a hint of the flavor.
kia kia 9 years
I love G&Ts and whiskey n' cokes thus have been making an effort to do diet versions or switch it up with a scotch and soda.
skigurl skigurl 9 years
try to drink light beer whenever you can, because it has fewer calories bloody mary's are also a good choice, as they are made with tomato juice
skigurl skigurl 9 years
don't order a "rum and coke" or "rye and ginger" ...make sure you specify you want DIET soda!
katiedid0985 katiedid0985 9 years
I agree with Rosey, too much sugar when I drink makes me feel a lot worse!
rosey_y rosey_y 9 years
Great tips, thank you. It's so easy to throw caution to the wind and get carried away, especially when your judgment has become a bit impaired! I do have a sweet tooth but I swear all the sugar in super sweet cocktails makes me feel just as bad as the alcohol does. I'm not keen on artificial sweeteners though either, so I like a bit of fresh fruit juice, crushed fruit and sparkling mineral water as a mixer. It's refreshing and still sweet, but not sickly so.
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