“Let’s put the fun back into responsible adulting!”
It seems like there’s always another “drinking” holiday coming up, and right now that’s the 4th of July! Whether you’re here to get some healthy holiday drink inspo or just to figure out the best drinks for your next girls’ night out, I’ve got you covered!
Alcoholic drinks can be a major source of calories. And that’s why they’re oftentimes the first place you should look when trying to clean up your diet. Unlike with food, wines and liquors don’t have a nutritional label that breaks down the calories and sugars, so it’s hard to know what you’re getting!
When you’re at a party, a celebration, or hanging out with friends, you want to have fun! The last thing you want to worry about is the exact number of calories in your cocktail. Talk about a buzz-kill.
So let’s make it simple!
First we’ll go over some simple things to look for when it comes to alcoholic drinks. Then I’ll give you a round-up of my favorite recipes. Spoiler alert: they’re all healthy and can be sipped guilt-free!
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What’s in this…?
Let’s start by breaking down the calorie and sugar content of the most common standard-sized drinks. I’ll also break down their common additives.
Because even if you know the calories in a shot of vodka, maybe it’s the club soda calories that got you.
|Type of Alcohol||Calories||Sugar (grams)|
|Vodka, tequila, gin, rum, whiskey|
1.5 fluid oz shot
12 fluid oz
5 fluid oz
5 fluid oz
3.5 fluid oz
4 fluid oz
Keep in mind that the serving sizes for these mixers do not reflect how much is in a normal drink. But for some of them, the calories and sugar they’ll add will still be quite shocking.
|Type of Mixer (12 fluid oz)||Calories||Sugar (grams)|
Did you find any of that surprising? I did!
I didn’t realize that beer had no sugar, and that normal wines have virtually none too. Where they get you are the calories! And the mixers too, of course.
The rules for healthy alcoholic drinks
There are trends to look for when it comes to healthy drinking! Knowing “the rules” will enable you to add diversity to your drink line-up, so you never have to stick with one boring drink you’re super tired of. Let’s put the fun back into responsible adulting!
Rule #1: Choose no sugar, no calorie cocktail additions
As you can see above, all mixers are not created equal. Opting for zero-calorie seltzer water over tonic water or a diet coke over regular coke will save you tons of calories and sugar.
And if there’s not enough flavor masking going on, add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice. Heck, that even adds some vitamins! #healthyoverachiever
Rule #2: Simple for the win
The more that’s added to your drink, the more likely sugar is to sneak in.
So keep it simple. Choose 2-3 ingredients you like from the tables above that are on the “healthier side.” And if it’s not “healthy,” add less!
For example, is a vodka cranberry your fav? Instead, add just a splash of cranberry and then opt for a dash of lime seltzer water. Way less calories and sugar, and a fun new twist on your good ole’ classic.
Better yet, if you’re a sip-it-on-the-rocks kind of person, no need to get fancy! Liquor on the rocks will have to be sipped slow, meaning it will last you much longer and have no additional calories.
Of course, that’s not for everybody!
Rule #3: Go red (wine) or go home
Okay, well not really. I didn’t even like red wine until recently. But if you do like both reds and whites, opting for red wine will give you a boost of antioxidants.
While some researchers say you shouldn’t necessarily go out of your way to drink a glass of red wine every night, it has been linked to improved brain health and decreased risk of heart disease. Especially pinot noir has a lot of those beneficial antioxidants.
So who am I to say don’t have a glass??
Just be sure that one glass doesn’t turn into a bunch more, at which point the calories are counteracting any benefits you’ll have gotten.
Rule #4: Say no to syrup
If you’re out on the town and looking for the best drinks to order at a bar (for your health), then try this tip: if a drink usually comes with syrup, ask for none to be put in. If it has little else in it, you can instead ask for a splash of juice or another mixer.
But once you get it, you’ll have more control over how sweet it is. Does it need a bit more? Then you can add your own sugar or even stevia!
You’ll be less likely to have a sickly sweet drink, and your body will thank you for it!
Rule #5: Learn your drinking habits
Pay attention to what you decide to drink over the course of a party or event. Maybe you already know what your typical pattern is!
Do you have one glass of wine and then have a habit of continually refilling the glass? Do you realize at the end of the night that you can’t remember how many beers you had? Or maybe you already know that your favorite drink is margaritas, and you’ll feel really deprived if you go to an event and don’t let yourself have one. After that, you feel satisfied.
It’s important to know how you react in different situations and with different types of drinks. Learning your drinking habits can help you prepare for those situations so you don’t consume as much.
Healthy Drink Recipes
So with those rules in mind, here are some healthy alcoholic drinks that follow our guidelines. I love round-ups like this because you get to see how creative other people can get with their healthy recipe twists!
Mixed Berry Vodka Spritzer
This mixed drink uses our spritzer trick to lower the calorie count. Plus it has a sneaky surprise ingredient to make it more fruity. You’ll have to check it out to learn what it is!
Blackberry Kombucha Vodka Smash
Here the berries and kombucha do all the mixer work. Because of the ginger kombucha, this drink would be a good healthy substitute for a moscow mule.
Rosé Grapefruit Mimosa
This is a drink that has a splash of juice but overall has only 145 calories and 6 grams of sugar. Not too shabby for a tasty drink!
Sparkling Red, White, and Blue Sangria
This drink also has much less juice than it does dry alcohol and fresh fruit, making it a healthier version of many 4th of July cocktails you’ll find out there!
Healthy 4th of July Cocktail
Even better, try this juice-free cocktail on the 4th. With wine, seltzer, and a splash of cardamom bitters, it’ll taste great while keeping your nutrition in check. Bonus: bitters can aid in digestion!
I hope you’ve gotten some ideas and inspiration for new healthy alcoholic drinks! For more nutrition tips, check out this post on How to Eat Healthy During the Holidays.
Have any other healthy drink tips up your sleeve? Share them in the comments below!