12 Tips to Slim Down Your Holiday Cocktails and Beverages

Many of us worry what the endless stream of munching does to our waistlines during the holidays, but we often forget that we’re drinking calories, too. And sometimes, a lot of them.

“Every meal – and there are many! – is preceded by drinks, paired with cocktails and wrapped up with aperitifs,” said Christina Rollins, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, a clinical dietitian at Memorial Medical Center. “It’s no wonder we’re bloating more than Saint Nick himself.”

While holidays are meant to be enjoyed, the key to smart holiday cocktail prep is having some good tricks in your back pocket to help minimize that post-holiday bulge, Rollins said.

 She recommends these 12 tricks to cut down on holiday cocktail and beverage calories:

1. Swap for soda.

No, not full-sugar soda pop. We’re talking soda water – calorie-free, hydrating and just as bubbly as its calorie-heavy friend, tonic. Try mixing your liquor of choice with soda water for some serious calorie savings in the mixer department (only 90-100 calories per glass).

2. Downsize your stemware

Some of today’s wine glasses are enormous, opening the door for you to accidentally over-pour wine and therefore calories. A traditional glass of wine should be 5 ounces and 150 calories, but some of these larger glasses can add up to more than 300 calories.

3. Slim down your mixer.

Move away from the full-calorie mixer. In today’s modern grocery store, you have many waist-friendly options. Try to experiment with lower or no-calorie alternatives to your classic favorites, like diet soda for regular, or light juices, or look for new mixers that tout lower calories with the alcohol already built in.

4. Lighten up.

Even swapping a regular beer for a light one can save you 50 or so calories per beer. Add that up over the course of a few beers, and you’ve got quite the savings.

5. Alternate.

Try alternating alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic and calorie-free beverages, like soda water with a squeeze of lime, or a diet soda, for further calorie savings.

It’s not just the alcoholic beverages that can trip you up. Winter favorites, like eggnog and hot chocolate, can also pack a lot of calories. Try these tips on substitutions from the American Heart Association to enjoy your favorite winter beverages. You’ll stay heart healthy and look good in those family pictures.

6. Mix it up.

When you are craving eggnog, fill your glass with half to three-quarter parts of low-fat or skim milk, and one part eggnog. You’ll still get the flavor without all the calories.

7. Act like a kid.

Skip adding alcohol to your eggnog. This simple step will reduce the caloric content.

8. Cut the fluff.

Pass on that big dollop of whipped cream to avoid the extra sugar and fat.

9. Find an alternative.

This holiday classic has many low-fat or soy versions that are just as tasty as the traditional, high-fat version of eggnog.

10. Skip the heavy stuff.

If you order hot chocolate at a restaurant or coffee shop, ask that it be made with low-fat or skim milk and without the whipped cream.

11. Do some research.

To make instant hot chocolate at home, look for product packets marked “low-fat/fat-free” or “low-sugar/sugar-free.” Be sure to add the mix to either low-fat or skim milk or to hot water.

12. Easy on the toppings.

If you enjoy topping off your hot chocolate with a little something extra, use five to eight mini-marshmallows instead of large ones. If using whipped cream, look for low-fat versions and stick to one tablespoon (about a rounded spoonful).