MILWAUKEE – Many of us have holiday traditions with friends and family that surround food and alcohol. So, what to do? Moderate consumption of alcohol can be factored into your meal plan if you make the necessary adjustments. But to do that, it helps to know how many calories are in each drink. Andrea Anderson, RDN, CDE, (registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator) who writes for TOPS Club Inc. ® (Take Off Pounds Sensibly℠), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, offers a “best of” guide to help you choose wisely this holiday season.
❉ Brandy Alexander, 4 oz., 335 calories—Ice cream and heavy cream are the two offenders that make this cocktail so high in calories for a mere 4-oz. serving.
❉ Eggnog, 8 oz., 345 calories—Adding with 1½ oz. of bourbon will bring you up to 390 calories. Compare the nutrition facts label of light eggnog to determine if the calorie difference is worth it.
❉ Hot Buttered Rum, 7 oz., 300 calories—Limit to 2 t. sugar, 1 t. butter and 1 T. ice cream to slash about 100 calories.
BETTER CHOICES: Hovering around the 200-calorie mark, these beverages have additional carb and fat calories, but are better options than the ones above.
❉ Whole Milk Hot Chocolate, 8 oz., 225 calories—If you prefer an alcoholic version, using 1 oz. of a coffee-flavored liqueur adds 90 calories. For a better alternative, use reduced-fat or fat-free milk.
❉ Hot Toddy, 4 oz., 170 calories—Made with 1 oz. bourbon, 2 oz. hot water, ½ T. honey, spices, and a few drops of lemon juice. Cut the honey in half to save 30 calories.
❉ Mulled Wine, 5 oz., 160 calories—Made with ½ T. honey and spices.
BEST: Alcohol is the major contributor of calories in this category with minimal calories from carbs and fat. With 125 calories or fewer per serving, choose most of your alcoholic beverages from this list to make an even smaller dent in your meal plan.
❉ Champagne/Sparkling Wine, 5 oz., 95 calories—Sweeter sparkling wines, such as moscato, are 125 calories per 5 oz. serving.
❉ Irish Coffee, 9½ oz., 110 calories—Made with 8 oz. coffee and 1½ oz. whiskey.
❉ Light Beer, 12 oz., 100 calories—Multiple varieties of light beer are available in grocery stores.
❉ Mimosa, 4 oz., 75 calories—Made with 3 oz. champagne or sparkling wine and 1 oz. orange juice.
❉ Sparkling Punch, 5 oz., 85 calories—Enjoy this light, nonalcoholic drink on its own. No need for added ingredients!
❉ Wine, 5 oz., 125 calories—Dessert wines, like port, are 190 calories per 4 oz. serving, bumping you back into the Better category.