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Thursday, November 29, 2012
By Karen Kwan
All of the joy and merriment over the holiday season often means you’ll be at parties and dinners where you’ll want to enjoy a cocktail or two. But as you know, alcoholic drinks are typically empty-calorie landmines loaded with fat and sugar and when paired with all of the rich foods of the season, you may find that number on the scale creeping up and your clothes fitting uncomfortably tight. So to help you drink to your health this Christmas, check out these smart-drinking strategies and learn what drinks will be easier on your waistline.
Limit the number of drinks you consume
Yes, that’s an obvious one, duh. But if you can commit to drinking only one drink, and then switching to sparkling water with lemon or lime, do it. Truly savour one of your favourite beverage and then pat yourself on the back for your willpower when you switch to your calorie-free water. Plus, consider what could happen if you drank several cocktails — you would have less resolve in your inebriated state and you might end up snacking on more of the salty and fatty appetizers (after all, you’ll want something savoury to go with your cocktails), which’ll further hurt your stay-trim efforts.
Order lighter versions of your favourite beverage
By going with less-sugar or low-fat ingredients, you’ll still get a similar taste, just lighter (although yes, less rich and robust in taste) if you have your cosmo with diet cranberry juice, for example, or if you order a wine spritzer rather than a glass of vino. If you’re not even particularly keen on the alcohol itself, cut down on calories by ordering virgin drinks.
If eggnog is a staple for you during the holidays, know that it’s combination of cream, egg and milk can pack as much as 350 calories and 15 grams of fat in just one cup; opt for a low-fat version or enjoy a hot toddy instead, which offers the same comforting sweet warmth, but only about half the calories. Or for a non-booze-y warm drink, try hot apple cider with cinnamon. Post-skating or tobagganing, rather than you usual hot chocolate, use skim milk or almond milk rather than whole milk for fewer calories and fat, and skip the dollop of whipped cream on top.
Enjoy a cocktail that offers beneficial nutrients
While this does not give you license to enjoy as many as you want, by enjoying cocktails that offer some nutritional benefit you’ll be better off than ones that offer none. Think red wine (which contains heart-healthy, cancer-fighting antioxidants including quercetin, catechins and resveratrol) and drinks made with blended antioxidant-rich fruits such as pomegranate, raspberries and blueberries.