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The skinny on holiday drinks

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Sondra E. Z. Hines, AILT, is an adjunct professor of health & wellness and is certified to teach group fitness exercise and Zumba. Wednesday Wellness - Fitness News You Can Use is published weekly. Email: sondraezhines@yahoo.com.

Qcitymetro readers, it’s time to party.

Many of you, like me, have already attended, or are scheduled to attend, a holiday-themed gathering.

But when it comes to those ever-present cocktails, proceed with caution.

If you’re not careful, holiday libation can add sneaky calories, leading to unwanted pounds. The number of calories found in a mixed drink depends on a combination of factors -- the size of the drink, the amount of alcohol it contains and what beverage is used as a “mixer.”

Hence, I have the skinny on enjoying holiday beverages if you choose to indulge:

  • Like good food, fresh is always preferred over sugary mixes. For example, red Grenadine is a mix of pomegranate juice and high fructose syrup. Cut calories by boiling down pomegranate juice and adding stevia to sweeten.
  • Dilute your drink. Use sparkling water or club soda instead of soft drinks. Adding diet sodas saves roughly 100 calories when used as a mixer.
  • Exercise moderation when consuming cocktails, a must for overall health and the waistline.
  • Avoid creamed liquors; they are high in calories.
  • Stay clear of drinks with multiple ingredients. A mud slide, for example, has 500-plus calories.
  • Choose a table wine vs. a dessert wine. The latter typically adds more calories.
  • Skip after-dinner drinks. Instead, drink water if thirsty.
  • Pay attention to alcohol content. The higher the content, the more calories you consume.
  • Choose light beers, which have fewer calories.
  • Fake it – enjoy festivities (minus alcohol) by drinking sparking water, sodas (diet preferably), juice, etc. These beverages can be topped with fruit.

My favorite holiday drink is eggnog, which is high in fat and calories. Therefore, I always drink it minus the alcohol. I’d rather save those calories for my favorite desserts.

Wondering how your favorite drinks fare in calories content? Here is a sampling based on popular recipes (calories vary depending on ingredients and portions):

  • Beer ultra-light (12 oz): 64-95
  • Champagne (5oz): 106-120
  • Chocolate martini: (2 oz): 438
  • Coffee liqueur (3 ounces): 348
  • Eggnog w/rum (8 ounces): 370
  • Godiva chocolate liqueur (3 oz): 310
  • Hot chocolate w/peppermint schnapps (8 oz): 380
  • Long Island iced tea (8 oz): 780
  • Mai Tai (6 oz): 350
  • Margarita (10 oz): 550
  • Mimosa (4 oz): 75
  • Mojito (8 oz): 214 calories
  • Mud Slide – (6 oz.) 556 Calories
  • Pina Colada (6 oz): 378 calories
  • Wine; alcohol-free (5 oz): 20-30
  • Wine; red (5 oz):120
  • Wine spritzer (5 oz): 100
  • Wine; white (5 oz): 120

The holidays are no reason to skip your favorite thirst quenchers. With a little planning, you can indulge. But as you celebrate, don't drink too much. And of course, don't drink and drive.

Until, next time, I wish you Merry Fitness, good health and wellness!

Editors Note: For more health- and fitness-related articles, visit Qcitymetro.com/health. 

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October 7, 2015
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