Well, the obvious answer is no alcohol.
However, total abstinence isn’t much fun, especially with Christmas party season just around the corner.
So if you want to have the occasional drink while still being mindful of calorie consumption, here’s a brief guide:
Wine, at approximately 100 – 120 calories per glass (and containing fewer carbohydrates than beer) is not a horrible choice for the calorie conscious. Don’t be fooled though – it will still take approximately 15 minutes of stair climbing to work off ONE glass of wine.
Importantly, not all wines are created equal – dry wines are the better choice as sweet wine typically contains an additional 100-150 calories per glass (i.e. the equivalent of a medium fries from McDonalds).
Light beer can have between 95-140 calories per serving, whereas craft beers tend to be high in carbohydrates and are very calorie dense (approximately 300 calories per bottle – similar to the calories in a McDonald’s milkshake!). Sticking with light beer is therefore the better choice, but not if you view it as a green light to drink double the amount.
Pure spirits like whiskey, tequila and vodka contain close to zero carbohydrates and only slightly more calories than a glass of wine.
The trap with spirits is when they are mixed with sugar-dense mixers (like tonic water or orange juice). A standard vodka with orange juice contains close to 200 calories, which is going to take you about 40 minutes on the dance floor to burn off.
If you’re watching your calorie intake, soda water is a good option as a mixer (it contains zero calories and actually helps to keep you hydrated).
Remember – alcohol consumption is not ideal if you’re watching your waistline. It contains empty calories and lowers your inhibitions leaving you more likely to make bad food choices. However, if you are going to indulge a little over the festive season, make smart choices – opt for sipping dry wines, drinking water in between each drink and avoiding sugar-packed mixed drinks.