‘Tis the season for sitting outside, sipping an alcoholic beverage, and enjoying warm weather. But if you’re focused on your nutrition and fitness goals, will indulging in a couple cocktails or beers undo all the good you’re working toward? Nutritionists say it’s all about sticking with the healthier options, not overdoing it and staying hydrated. These are their tips for summer sipping without the setbacks.
- Stop searching for “low-calorie” drinks- Even a shot contains calories, registered dietitian-nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix points out. Straight alcohol doesn’t have carbs, but they’re not the only source of calories to consider. Liquor itself has about seven calories per gram, so a standard shot can have about 100 calories.
- Avoid topping off your drinks before you finish so you can keep count- It’s easier to drink more than you planned, especially if you’re losing sight of how many drinks you’ve actually had because you’re topping them off.
- Mind your mixers- Along with the calories in the booze, the mixers can add a huge calorie load, plus a lot of sugar and even fat, depending on what you’re drinking. Taub-Dix warns that a “pail-sized Piña Colada” you sip poolside could have more calories than a whole meal. She recommends swapping that for daiquiris made with fresh pureed fruit or a fruit-filled sangria, or sticking with healthier mixers like sparkling water.
- Better to have one sugary drink you love than several “healthy” ones- Registered dietitian JoyDubost explains that treating yourself to one serving of something you really enjoy can be more satisfying than having several substitutes you don’t like as much, like diet cocktails or light beers.
- And don’t forget to stay hydrated -Both nutrition experts advise matching each serving of alcohol you drink with a full glass of water before having the next round. It keeps you hydrated and helps you pace yourself so you’re less likely to overindulge.