As a former gym owner and group fitness instructor, I have a lot of experience working with people of all ages and backgrounds trying to lose weight, get fit, and have a great time while doing so. One of my clients’ favorite ways to jump-start their weight loss journeys was with a nutrition challenge. At our gym, these were typically 30-60 day periods of relatively strict and clean eating, committed to alongside consistent workouts and regular involvement in our gym community. When it came to food, our team always stressed the importance of focusing on quality over quantity, eating in a way that supports unique goals (e.g., fat loss vs. strength gain vs. performance), and empowering our clients’ to build a better relationship with food. By this last point, we meant using food (primarily) as fuel but also being free to simply enjoy a special treat from time to time without feeling guilty or going totally off the rails.
Invariably, one of the most common questions my team would hear–whether during a nutrition challenge or not–would be this: “But what about alcohol? Can I still have [insert favorite cocktail here]? Or should I give it up?” Our tongue-and-cheek answer usually sounded something like this: “We’re not your parents.” By this, we meant that deciding to give up or cut back on alcoholic drinks is ultimately your decision. Of course, most health and fitness experts will tell you that if you’re trying to lose excess body fat, then you should avoid drinking your calories. And while I certainly agree with the philosophy and science behind this, I also believe firmly in the power of enjoying things in moderation–including low-calorie cocktails.
3 Delicious Sugar-Free and Low-Calorie Cocktails
If you’ve been busting your butt in the gym and would like to kick back with a cocktail without canceling out all your hard work, try some of these suggestions:
1) Low-Cal Drinks!
Expand your horizons by ordering low-calorie cocktails. If you always go for the same drink (beer, rum, and Coke, etc.), why not try something new altogether? Red wine, for example, is low in carbs and even has been shown to have some healthy benefits, as well. Spiked seltzers have exploded in popularity recently, and are super low-cal and actually pretty tasty. Prosecco and other types of champagne (topped with a few berries, perhaps?) are also low-calorie and less-sugary–plus, the fizzy bubbles fill you up faster and can prevent you from drinking too much.
Expand your horizons by ordering a low-calorie drink. If you always go for the same drink (beer, rum, and Coke, etc.), why not try something new altogether? Red wine, for example, is low in carbs and even has been shown to have some healthy benefits, as well. Spiked seltzers have exploded in popularity recently, and are super low-cal and actually pretty tasty. Prosecco and other types of champagne (topped with a few berries, perhaps?) are also low-calorie and less-sugary–plus, the fizzy bubbles fill you up faster and can prevent you from drinking too much.
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2) Mix Up the Classics
Try experimenting with a low calorie or sugar-free twist on your favorite classic cocktail. Many of the most popular cocktails can be easily made into a low-calorie or sugar-free version. Try the “Nor Cal Margarita” (tequila, seltzer water, and lime juice), the “Skinny American Mule” (Tito’s vodka, diet ginger ale, and lime juice), or a vodka with Fresca or Diet Sierra Mist (instead of sugar-laden tonic water or regular soda).
3) H2O on the Rocks, Please
Go for the glass of water, too. Okay, okay. I know I said this wasn’t going to be a post about giving up adult beverages (after all, you are a grown-up). But there’s a lot to be said for the benefits of staying well-hydrated–especially if you’ve been enjoying a few low-calorie cocktails. To prevent hangovers, dehydration, and over-indulging, be sure to ask for a glass of water between rounds. If you want to mix it up with a mocktail, try adding a splash of cranberry juice to some ice-cold seltzer water.
Have a favorite lower-calorie or sugar-free cocktail or mocktail recipe of your own? Share in the comments below!