Healthy Ways to Drink Alcohol - Your Summer BBQ Guide
When you make the switch to a healthier lifestyle one of the hardest things to let go of is drinking. Drinking is a big part of our society. It helps people unwind after a long day and it's a very social activity. BBQ season adds to that social drinking pressure. But I don't want you to fret because I am here to tell you that you can find healthy ways to drink!
Grab the healthiest drinks available
Staying on track starts with making good decisions, which let's face it, can be hard once you've started drinking. Plan ahead to drink only the healthiest drinks available. I've put together this guide of the healthiest options for beer, wine and hard alcohols.
Healthiest beers to drink
I'm strictly looking at calories in this guide. Obviously, beers with more calories might taste better, but we're going to aim for what is best for your waistline in these beers.
The lowest calorie beer on the market is the Budweiser Select 55, coming in at, you guessed it, 55 calories! Beck's Premier Light and Miller 64 are also great options coming in with 63 and 64 calories respectively.
The rest of the beers on my list are still under 100 calories. The Amstel Light, Anheuser-Busch Light Pale Lager, Michelob Ultra and Natural Light all have 95 calories per serving. Miller Light has 96 calories and Heineken Light and Corona Light each have 99 calories.
If you don't think that these options will be available at your summer BBQs, then bring them! BYOB always applies when you're focusing on your health!
Healthiest wine options
Unlike beer, calories in wine aren't necessarily based on the brands. The alcoholic content often dictates how many calories are in wine. The least calorie wines are either non-alcoholic or low alcohol wines. Since the alcohol content is lower, so are the calories. However, if you have a hankering for alcohol, you aren't going to reach for a non-alcoholic wine. You need to know more about each type of wine to get an idea of what you want.
Red wines are generally under 100 calories per 4 oz glass. Each wine varies but Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon generally have 90 calories a glass. While Burgundy and Bordeaux have 95 calories a glass.
White wines can have even fewer calories than red wines. White Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc have 80 calories per glass and Chablis comes in just slightly higher at 85 calories. Chardonnay still only has 90 calories per 4 oz glass.
For you trendy ladies, I looked into rose wine as well. A typical 4 oz glass of Rose has 84 calories. Rose does typically come in lower calories versions, but it's great wine that sits right in the middle of red and white wines, calorically speaking.
You should also keep in mind that most adults drink about 10 oz of wine in a sitting, so you'll either need to pay attention to how much you're drinking or at least double the calories listed here.
Healthy options for hard liquors
Hard liquors have more calories than other types of alcohol. Just like wines, and beers for that matter, it's the higher alcohol content that increases the calories in hard liquors. The only good part about this is that you typically have smaller servings of hard drinks. Beer is generally a 12 oz serving, wine is 4 oz and hard liquors are 1.5 oz.
Vermouth is one of the lowest calorie hard liquors. It comes in at 64 oz per serving. The only problem is that it's often used to make cocktails and then it increases the calorie count exponentially. You can drink Vermouth on its own, which would be a great option if you're looking to keep your calorie count in check. Coconut Rum, which has 78 calories, is another great choice if you're looking for something under 100 calories.
Other un-mixed liquors that are slightly over 100 calories include Rye Whiskey, Scotch Whiskey, White Rum, Vodka, Cognac and Tequila. each of these have 104 calories per 1.5 oz serving.
Use calorie-free mix-ins for your cocktails
Cocktails can throw a wrench in your plans if you’re trying to find healthy ways to drink at a BBQ. Mixed drinks can be fun to create and taste great, but you will regret having the extra calories later. To avoid the regret, you should try calorie-free mix-ins.
First, diet sodas are a great way to mix it up. I bet you're surprised to hear a nutritionist suggest diet sodas. They have a bad rep, sure, but I believe that you're already filling your body with a toxin - that's why you get intoxicated when you drink alcohol - so adding another chemical isn't going to be the end of the world. Diet sodas can keep your calorie count low, so just don't rule them out.
Another great option is LaCroix sparkling water. This zero calorie drink is flavored naturally with extracted fruit oils. It will give you exquisite taste without a single added calorie. You can find tons of great LaCroix Cocktails online, just do a quick Pinterest search.
Finally, Sparkling Ice drinks are another delicious mix-in. The best part about Sparkling Ice is that it's still a zero calorie drink and it doesn't have added sugars! That's a huge plus when you're already ingesting a lot of sugar from the alcohol.
Prepare for the aftermath of drinking
We've thoroughly dived into the calories of alcohol, and all-in-all a hundred calories here and there isn't going to make you fat. It's the after effects of alcohol that leads to serious weight gain. I'm talking about the bad choices that getting drunk leads to. Drinking is going to make you hungry, or at the very least, you're going to eat to balance out all the alcohol in your system.
Snacking is the first danger from drinking. You're going to want to snack either while you're drinking or after you're finished. The snacks that will most likely be available aren't going to be healthy choices. You're going to reach for foods like pretzels, which are full of empty carbs and sodium. You’ve already given your body carbs and sodium in the alcohol, adding more of that to your body will only get you farther away from you goals. Instead of reaching for the pretzels, carry some nuts or fruits with you to help balance out the effects of alcohol.
Next up is greasy binge eating to cure that hangover. Burgers, fries and nachos smothered in cheese are going to be what you want, but not what you need. Carbs will help soak up the alcohol, but you need to be choosey about what you're putting into your body. Reach for whole grains instead of empty simple carbs. A sandwich on a whole wheat bread is a great option. Oatmeal, brown rice, low or no-butter popcorn are also great carbs to help you through your hangover.
What to do post-BBQ chugging session
If you did your job pre-BBQ chugging session, then you've avoided some major missteps. But you still might not be at your best after drinking. The most important thing to do now is move on. Do not, I repeat do not, beat yourself up if you didn't stick to your plan. Forgive yourself and get back on track.
The first way to move forward is to review your goals. What are you working toward overall and how can you get back on track today? I like to increase my workout the day after a binge. BUT I do not use my workouts as a punishment for drinking. I workout to create balance in my life. A harder workout may be necessary to balance out my decisions from the night before, and that’s ok. It’s just as much of a mindset issue as it is a tracking issue.
It's so important that you don't feel restricted or create a bad relationship with your food.Remember, you're doing this to be happier and healthier and every now and then that might mean treating yourself. I am always here to help you get back on track, just book a free discovery call with me and let’s chat!