March 30, 2010

In all of my years as a nutritionist, the #1 issue I'm consistently asked about is alcohol. Most people I meet enjoy sharing a drink or two with friends, family or their significant other at least once a week, a ritual they're not willing to give it up. But they also know that alcohol can be a slippery slope – it contains calories and it can act as an appetite stimulant. So I'm often asked, "Is there a way to imbibe without succumbing to calorie overload?" The answer is yes. Each of these "recipes" is my lighter version of a classic cocktail. All are under 225 calories and much more nutrient-rich than the original:

Skinny Vodka Seltzer

1 shot vodka

¾ cup all natural lemon lime seltzer


Lemon & lime wedges

Fill glass with ice. Add shot then seltzer and garnish with fruit.

100 calories

Bloody Mary Light

1 shot vodka

1 cup 100% spicy vegetable juice


1 large celery stalk

Fill glass with ice. Add vodka and juice and garnish with celery stick.

175 calories

Slimmer Sangria

5 oz wine

½ cup 100% fruit juice blend (like cranberry/blueberry/grape)


¼ cup diced apple and oranges

Stir juice into wine. Pour over ice and garnish with fruit.

185 calories

Pina Skimlata

1 shot rum

½ cup (4 oz) 100% pineapple juice

¼ cup skim or plain organic soy milk

¼ cup frozen banana slices


Fresh pineapple wedges

Add rum, juice, milk, banana and ice to blender. Whip until smooth. Pour into glass and garnish with fresh pineapple

220 calories

Keep in mind that the recommendations for alcohol intake are 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men. One drink equals:

1 shot liquor

5 oz wine

12 oz light beer

Each has about 100 calories and the same amount of alcohol. And no, you're not supposed to "save them up" (e.g. zero drinks Sun-Thu and seven over the weekend).

If you tend to overdo it, try to scale back. More than moderate drinking can increase the risk of liver cirrhosis, hypertension and cancers of the upper digestive tract. And women who consume even one alcoholic beverage per day have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer.

Come back tomorrow for tips on how to fight the alcohol-induced munchies and prevent your social life from expanding your waistline.


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