IT’S no secret that alcohol drinks can come up high in calories – even the ones you don’t associate with being sweet are often still packed with sugar, so aren’t great for the diet.
Here’s the lowdown on what to order at the bar if you’re watching your waistline.
2 Be careful when choosing your mixersCredit: Getty – Contributor
- What are the lowest calorie alcoholic drinks?
- What drinks should you avoid?
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- First, a primer on how to order low-calorie alcoholic drinks.
- 1. A Bloody Mary, extra spicy
- 2. A glass of pinot noir or champagne
- 3. A Johnny Walker Black and Diet Coke
- 4. A low-calorie version of a cosmopolitan
- 5. A Moscow mule with a twist
- 6. A Scotch on the rocks
- 7. Silver tequila on the rocks, or with soda plus lime juice or an orange slice
- 8. A vodka seltzer with lemon or lime
- 9. An ice cold beer
- 10. A toned-down mojito
- 11. A glass of sauvignon blanc or a simple marg
- 12. Vodka soda with a splash of juice
- 13. Kombucha with vodka
- 14. Market berry cocktails
- So what are we waiting for?! Let’s find a happy hour and order one of these low
- Red Wine – 75 calories
- A flute of champagne – 84 cals
- Bloody Mary – 90 calories
- Mojito – 92 calories
- A half-pint of beer – 82 calories
- Pimm’s & Diet Lemonade premixed can, £1.95 – 91 calories
- A gin and tonic – 97 calories
- Tequila and soda mix – 69 calories
- A martini – 73 calories
- A single Malt whiskey – 72 calories
- A single vodka, lime and soda – 76 cals
- A Bacardi single and diet coke – 58 calories
- Greenall’s Ready Mixed Cocktails, from £1.90 a can – from 125 calories per can
- A small glass of white wine – 87 calories
- Single vodka and slim-line tonic – 50 calories
- Standard of flute of Prosecco – 80 calories
What are the lowest calorie alcoholic drinks?
Choosing a clear spirit and a low calorie mixer is the way forward if you’re trying to stick to a diet.
But prosecco lovers will be pleased to find out that their favourite tipple is surprisingly few calories.
Obviously, this does not mean that you should drink more of these options, so stick to the NHS guidelines of no more than 14 units a week.
Here are the approximate calories for some of the lighter choices:
- Slimline gin and tonic – 64 calories
- Standard (175ml) glass of white wine – 160 calories
- Vodka and soda – 60 calories
- Glass of prosecco (125ml) – 80 calories
- Alcopops – these can vary, but are often around 170 calories
2 Prosecco is rather low calorie – so enjoy your fizzCredit: Alamy
What drinks should you avoid?
Be careful when you’re ordering anything from a tap, as beer and lager have high amounts of calories .
When choosing wines, try and find drier rather than sweet options, as the sweeter they are, the higher the calories.
Also, avoid double and triple measures when ordering drinks made from spirits, as the calories can easily mount up.
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Here are the ones with the highest calories:
- Pint of 5% beer – 244 calories
- Pint of cider – 216 calories
- Pint of stout – 210 calories
- Double shot of cream liqueur such as Baileys – 175ml
Studies show that you don’t have to cut out booze to lose weight
Low-calorie alcoholic drinks may sound like an oxymoron but they really are a thing—and they can be helpful if you’re trying to decrease the amount of calories you’re consuming from alcohol. In one of the more unfair laws of the universe, alcohol isn’t exactly a health elixir. Liberator of deep, dark secrets, yes. “You have dance moves like Beyoncé and need to share them with the world” cheerleader, sure. But whether you’re trying to lose weight or generally live a healthy life, cocktails aren’t always a great fit.
That doesn’t mean you’ve got to give imbibing up for good—eating and drinking things you enjoy is a necessary part of maintaining a good outlook on food (and your sanity). But if you’re trying to be mindful of the calories in your alcoholic beverages, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, a primer on how to order low-calorie alcoholic drinks.
The good news is alcoholic drinks can be lightened up if you know how to order them. Because here’s the thing: All alcohol—whether it’s liquor, wine, or beer—is calorie-dense, Rachel Beller, M.S., R.D.N, founder of Beller Nutrition, tells SELF.
“A shot of hard liquor, which is typically an ounce and a half, has about 96 calories,” she says. And remember, that’s before you start adding in mixers. Gentle reminder: Tonic water is not the same as soda water. “A 12-ounce can has about 124 calories and 32 grams of sugar,” says Beller. “Even if you’re not drinking a full can, that’s still a lot of sugar and calories where soda water has none.”
Unfortunately wine isn’t much better calorie-wise. “A glass of wine, which is usually a five and a half–ounce pour, has approximately 130 to 140 calories, and a 12-ounce light beer will contain anywhere from 120 to 150 calories, depending on what kind it is,” says Beller.
If ordering a low-calorie alcoholic drink is your primary concern, go for a very simple liquor-based drink like vodka soda with a squeeze of lime, suggests Beller. “You’re not getting the kind of nutritional value that you get from red wine, which has antioxidants, but it has fewer calories,” she explains.
In general a good rule of thumb when ordering a cocktail is to keep it simple and ask the bartender to skip the sugary syrups and go easy on mixers like juice. “Ask for just a splash,” says Beller, who is a fan of antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice over cranberry juice. She also loves kombucha as a mixer with vodka: “It has a delicious apple-cidery taste, and half of a large bottle of kombucha (about eight ounces) is only around 25 calories,” she says.
Keep reading to learn which low-calorie alcoholic drinks other nutritionists recommend.
1. A Bloody Mary, extra spicy
“I especially love when they come with pickles, olives, or other fun garnishes. I prefer Bloody Marys to sweet drinks because the extra sugar in most cocktails gives me a terrible hangover. Also when a drink is super spicy, it slows down my drinking and encourages me to have a sip of water between each sip of alcohol.” —Abbey Sharp, R.D., Abbey’s Kitchen
2. A glass of pinot noir or champagne
“I rarely pick a mixed drink, as the added sugar and calories are just not worth it for me. I like a glass of red wine, preferably a pinot noir as it has a high concentration of antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavonoids, and resveratrol. And of course I appreciate the occasional glass of French champagne because life’s too short not to.” —Denise Julia Garbinski, M.B.A., R.D.N. of Botanical Nutrition Therapy
3. A Johnny Walker Black and Diet Coke
“I’ll get flack for this—many whiskey-lovers make fun of me for mixing the good stuff with Diet Coke, but that’s just my taste preference. I also ask the bartender to use a jigger so I know how much alcohol is mixed in.” —Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D., author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day
4. A low-calorie version of a cosmopolitan
“It’s raspberry-infused vodka, club soda, and a splash of lime and cranberry juice. Even though fruit juices contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, they also contain a high amount of natural sugar, which can add up in a drink. Just a splash of the cranberry juice adds enough flavor but keeps the calories in check.” —Dawn Orsaeo, R.D., L.D.N.
5. A Moscow mule with a twist
6. A Scotch on the rocks
“My favorite is Macallan 12-year aged Scotch. I like to avoid sugary mixers like juice, and since Scotch is stronger I sip it slower and one glass can last me the whole evening.” —Rebecca Lewis, in-house R.D. at HelloFresh
7. Silver tequila on the rocks, or with soda plus lime juice or an orange slice
“Silver tequila usually has less sugar in it than brown tequila or other brown liquors. I skip the sugary mixers and drink it straight up or with no-calorie club soda and a little flavor from a splash of citrus.” —Sarah Rueven, R.D., owner of Sarah Rueven Nutrition
8. A vodka seltzer with lemon or lime
“There’s a common misconception that tonic water is the same as seltzer water, but it actually contains a lot of calories and sugar. I opt for seltzer instead, which is just water with bubbles. A squeeze of either lemon or lime gives the drink a healthy (and sugar-free) boost of flavor!” —Rebecca Ditkoff, R.D., CUNY School of Public Health and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
9. An ice cold beer
“A true Wisconsin native, I’m especially a fan of a nice hoppy craft brew. Not only do I enjoy the flavor complexities a craft beer has to offer, beer gives you the most volume for about the same total of calories and alcohol as wine and spirits, meaning it takes longer to drink and therefore helps moderate total alcohol consumption.” —Emily Brown, R.D.N., L.D., wellness dietitian at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program
10. A toned-down mojito
“I love the mint and lime in a mojito, but I find many places make them too sweet, so I get a sugarless mojito with extra lime. Most of the time, the mint and extra lime are enough flavor for me. If I’m feeling like it needs a little extra sweetness, I’ll add my own sugar or stevia. I end up with a perfect drink every time.” —Dina Garcia, R.D.N., mindful eating coach and founder of Vida Nutrition
11. A glass of sauvignon blanc or a simple marg
12. Vodka soda with a splash of juice
“Trendy drinks like those made with aloe vera juice, kombucha, and bone broth may be novel, but they are not more nutritious or diet-friendly than a classic vodka soda with a splash of your favorite juice.” —Tanya Zuckerbrot, M.S., R.D.
13. Kombucha with vodka
“I love putting vodka in my kombucha, but I do it from a flavor perspective rather than for nutritional impact.” —Esther Blum, M.S., R.D., author of Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous
14. Market berry cocktails
Kristy del Coro, R.D., and culinary nutritionist for Rouge Tomate New York, likes using fresh muddled berries with vodka and simple honey syrup for extra sweetness. Get the recipe here.
Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.
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Originally Appeared on Self
Low calorie alcoholic drinks that aren’t full of sugar are hard to find. However they’re normally the most in demand! Especially when we’re calorie counting. It is often only when you are trying to be good that you soon realise it is alcoholic drinks, rather than food, that add up the most quickly!
We are firm believers that a little bit of what you fancy does you good, and you can still stick to the diet as long as you’re savvy with your calorie intake.
Take a look at our complete list of diet-friendly alcoholic drinks in the gallery. Where does your favourite tipple rank? The list also gives you the chance to find a few diet-friendly alternatives to try next time you’re in the pub on a Friday night – some of these diet-friendly alcoholic drinks may surprise you!
For example, a glass of Prosecco is actually fewer calories than a white wine. Especially this low calorie prosecco! (If that’s not an excuse to drink bubbles, we don’t know what is!)
Plus, making a small change such as opting for a diet or sugar-free mixer can make your favourite tipple a lot lower in calories. In some instances you can even enjoy two of the single spirit and diet mixer for the same calorie intake of one full-fat mixer and spirit!
From a refreshing gin and tonic, to tequila on the rocks or an ice cold beer there are so many low calorie alcoholic drink options. You just need to know what you are looking for. With this break down of low calorie alcoholic drinks, you’ll never have to say no to a catch-up over cocktails or feel guilty heading to the bar after work for a quick drink with your colleagues.
So what are we waiting for?! Let’s find a happy hour and order one of these low
Ditch the sugar syrup and opt for a diet ginger beer and this tasty tipple only comes to around 80 calories. Best served over lots of ice with a good squeeze of lime juice.
Red Wine – 75 calories
A small glass has around 75 calories, depending on levels of sweetness. So it is possible to enjoy a glass of red and not break your diet but you’ll have to check across different varieties.
A flute of champagne – 84 cals
The best festive tipple? A glass of champers! The real deal will cost you just over 80 calories but it is totally worth it.
Bloody Mary – 90 calories
This is perhaps the ultimate cocktail for any dieter.
Mojito – 92 calories
When opting for a cocktail, a refreshing mojito is a diet-friendly choice (just make sure you skip on the sugar syrup!) Make your own at home using white rum, mint and a sprinkle of brown sugar, topped with lime juice and soda water. Alternatively, you could use some ICE branded lemon and lime flavoured sparkling water.
A half-pint of beer – 82 calories
Believe it or not, a half-pint of beer is only 82 calories!
Pimm’s & Diet Lemonade premixed can, £1.95 – 91 calories
The perfect accompaniment to a summer picnic or an afternoon watching the tennis, these pre-mixed cans of Pimms are super convenient!
A gin and tonic – 97 calories
For years gin lovers have rejoiced that their favourite spirit is also pretty low in calories. Did you also know gin is one of the best spirits for hay fever sufferers. It won’t aggravate your symptoms in the same way that beer or wine can. Win win!
Tequila and soda mix – 69 calories
Ditch the sugary Long Island Iced Tea for this simple but delicious combination. It’s far healthier than the super-calorific cocktail but just as enjoyable.
A martini – 73 calories
If you are keen to make the most of happy hour without ruining your diet, this is perfect cocktail to choose.
A single Malt whiskey – 72 calories
This is one of the healthier dark spirits to opt for at just over 70 calories for a single shot.
A single vodka, lime and soda – 76 cals
This is a real thirst-quencher and is super tasty.
A Bacardi single and diet coke – 58 calories
This is one of the best diet-friendly spirits by a mile! Ditching the full-fat coke makes a huge difference. In fact you can have two single Bacardi and diet cokes for the one calorie more.
Greenall’s Ready Mixed Cocktails, from £1.90 a can – from 125 calories per can
A selection are available from Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Booths.
A small glass of white wine – 87 calories
If you love nothing more than a cold, crisp glass of white wine on a summers evening, it is best to opt for a small. This way you won’t damage your dieting efforts too badly.
Single vodka and slim-line tonic – 50 calories
This low calorie alcoholic drink is less fattening than an orange juice!
Standard of flute of Prosecco – 80 calories
You don’t have to skip on the bubbles if you’re trying to be good.