A Healthy Cocktail...A White Whale?
One of my mantras is that while living within a consistently healthy lifestyle, you need to find time to enjoy life. For some, this includes having a drink at a bar with friends and family. I will always ask my clients to slow down how quickly they imbibe, to mix water in between drinks, and to cut down on how often they go out to grab a drink. However, I rarely ask that they stop having alcohol altogether. I am a realistic person, after all! And how can I ask them to do something I don’t do myself? So instead, I constantly look for new ways to have a healthy cocktail.
Cutting out alcohol is not a bad idea, by the way. I’m not condoning alcohol use here; in fact, there are many reasons I would recommend cutting it out of your diet. Ditching it entirely is a great way to meet a goal you have been struggling to achieve. There aren’t nutritional benefits to drinks that would make them necessary in your diet, especially when you are trying to lose weight! If you cut alcohol and then begin drinking again once you meet your goal, don’t be surprised if you see all that hard work fade a bit. Create a lifestyle for yourself, not a quick fix.
So…what can you drink that isn’t disastrous? Let me be quick to mention that margaritas are definitely NOT the answer! And keep in mind, just like adjusting to a more healthy, whole-foods based eating plan, reducing how much sugar is in your drink will take some getting used to…especially if what you are used to involves the bartender upending a sugar packet into a shaker.
- Vodka is a great base and is very low in calories. It’s like a wonderful blank canvas; a good bartender can always make vodka into a sip-worthy masterpiece.
- Add club soda, and then just a splash of cranberry. Too much of any type of juice can ratchet up the sugar content, so be careful!
- Fresh lime juice is a great addition to most drinks – it adds a slightly sour punch without excess calories or sugar.
- Stevia, lemons, and limes mixed together create a wonderful sour mix. This is our house favorite – we often take some to bars in my purse. Nothing is worse than asking for a sour mixer and getting a pre-made, sugary disaster!
- Red wine…studies go back and forth with the benefits of this delicious beverage. Maybe it’s got benefits, but don’t fall into bad habits. Yes, I’m talking about the pour by yourself, your friend, or the friendly bartender. “I had only one glass of wine” doesn’t mean much when that one glass was actually 2.5 servings!
- The occasional light beer is okay, but beer guts are definitely not healthy.
Remember, a cocktail is only as healthy as the food that may accompany it. Just because you are watching excess calories in your drinks doesn’t mean you should dive headfirst into the free chips and dip (and ordering that gigantic plate of nachos is not okay, even if you are sharing with one other person). Keep an eye on your munchies!
Finally, the absolute healthiest drink you can have is one that’s paired with dancing. Recipe is as follows:
- Have a light cocktail.
- Place that cocktail down during a good song.
- Dance, dance, dance.
- Burn, baby, burn those calories!
- Written by Erin Oprea
- Published: 09 July 2015