Warm weather and longer days means taking BBQ’s and happy hours outdoors, spending sunny evenings on the patio, and enjoying poolside vacations sipping refreshing adult beverages. But can you really enjoy summer cocktails without packing on the pounds? Yes, but it helps to realize just how many calories are actually in some of our favorite warm weather drinks.
Check out the calorie count of some of our favorite cocktails:
6 oz. Pina Colada - approximately 380 calories
8 oz. Margarita - approximately 280 calories
6 oz. Mai Tai - approximately 350 calories
8 oz. Long Island Iced Tea - approximately 780 calories (yikes!)
8 oz. Mojito - approximately 215 calories
12 oz. Beer - approximately 150 to 198 calories
You can see how quickly calories can add up, especially in little umbrella drinks. High-calorie cocktails contain a lot of sugar from fruit juice, simple syrup, and alcohol. Plus, one gram of alcohol has 7 calories compared to 4 calories for carbohydrates, meaning alcohol consumption can dramatically spike blood sugar levels and slow your metabolism.
Luckily, there are ways you can still enjoy refreshing adult beverages while keeping your diet healthy and balanced. My top recommendation is to always eat low-fat protein when consuming high-carbohydrate beverages. If you’re going to drink your carbohydrates, balance them out with protein and a little fat to minimize blood sugar spikes.
Other tips include swapping high-carbohydrate beverages for lower calorie choices like white or red wine, dry champagne, or light or ultra-light beer. Using low-calorie mixers and diet drinks can also lighten up your favorite mixed cocktails. And you can avoid alcohol calories completely by imbibing in non-alcoholic wine or beer. If you don’t want to forgo the alcohol completely, consider alternating cocktails with non-caloric drinks like water, unsweetened iced tea or coffee. Sparkling water is delicious when infused with lemon or lime slices, mint leaves, or sliced fruit like strawberries, kiwi, oranges, pineapple or blueberries—and it looks like a cocktail too!
Just remember to stay hydrated by keeping some H20 on hand, drink responsibly, in moderation, and don’t forget to keep your health and fitness goals in mind. Cheers!
*Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist, Balance Bar® spokesperson and national best-selling co-author of THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program