No need to sacrifice your figure for drinks out with the girls
By Aengus Mulroney
This New Year’s, you made a commitment to living a more fit and healthy life and have been doing a good job at keeping that resolution. Great! However, with St. Patrick’s festivities in play, who’s to blame you for wanting to join in on the fun. Well, if that fun includes throwing back a few at your favourite bar or club, there are some healthier choices you can make so that your drinking habits align more with the new healthier you. Keep in mind, it may not include green beer.
Before we look at some of the healthier options on the bar menu, let’s start by stating that alcohol by nature will have negative effects on your body. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol can cause damage to the heart, liver, and pancreas, and prolonged usage can increase the risk of a stroke and cancer. It also interferes with the brain’s ability to communicate to the rest of the body, causing impairment.
Now that the scary stuff is out of the way, here are some considerations if you are going to drink this weekend. For this list, I am using w the average number of calories in a standard serving size as the measurement of how healthy it is in relation to other types of alcohol.
Distilled Spirits (AKA The Hard Stuff) According to the NIAAA, hard liquor offers the least amount of calories, with gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, and tequila coming at around 97 calories per ounce and a half. In my experience as a bartender, most people mix these with pop or juice, and that is absolutely going to add calories and sugar to your order. Club soda has zero calories, so if you have to mix, carbonated water is your healthiest option. You just have to ignore the fact that your friends will tease you for being basic when you order a vodka soda.
Wine Wines are a good middle ground if you want something a little more drinkable than the hard stuff, but are still looking to keeping your calories down. In a five-ounce glass of red, expect around 125 calories, and 121 for whites. Champagne has slightly less, but will probably leave you wanting more, so proceed with caution.
Beer Beer is going to have even more calories. The standard amount in a 12-ounce bottle of beer is 153 calories. If you order a light beer, the count goes down to 103. Remember though that draft beer is often served in a pint glass, which is several ounces more than a bottle, so adjust your calorie count with the serving size.
Cocktails Cocktails are generally hard liquors mixed with fortified wines or other liqueurs. This mixing means they generally have more calories than hard spirits consumed on their own or wine. The typical cocktail is only between two and four ounces, so while they have less calories per serving than a beer, they are often consumed quickly and ordered more often. Save these for a special treat on the rare occasion.
Have a happy St. Patrick’s Day!