Holiday Hooch

With all the parties and family gatherings during this time of year, it’s easy to throw back an extra cocktail or two. If you’re trying to avoid that extra 5 lbs we all seem to gain between now and the end of the year, watching what you drink can make a significant difference.

As I pointed out yesterday, there are some health benefits associated with daily alcohol consumption. So rather than depriving ourselves, let’s look at developing a plan we can follow and making smarter choices.

First let’s look at the calorie counts of some of the more basic adult beverages:

* 1 can (12 oz) Beer – 135-145 calories
* 1 can (12 oz) Light Beer – 101 calories
* 1 glass (3.5 oz) Red or White Wine – 70-75 calories
* 1 shot (1.5 oz) Gin, rum, vodka or whiskey – 97 calories
* 1 glass (6 oz) Cosmopolitan – 143 calories

Nothing to get too worked up over there, and most of us could fit a couple of these into our daily caloric intake without it having a huge impact. But when we start looking at a couple of the seasonal holiday specialty drinks, things look very different:

* Hot Buttered Rum – 418 calories
* Eggnog (8 oz. not including any added liquor) – 350 calories
* Creamy liquors like Baileys, Kahlua, etc. – 100 calories per ounce

Those are some numbers that will add up in a hurry. So what are the options if we want to get into the “holiday spirits” but avoid the calorie bombs listed above? Here are a couple of guilt-free suggestions for getting into the festivities:

* Champagne or sparkling wine – 100 calories per flute
* Wine Spritzer (3 oz. wine & 3oz. club soda) – 60 calories

Of course the best advice is to plan ahead. Choose not only what you’re going to drink, but how many drinks you’re going to have. Alternate your alcoholic drinks with a glass of water or club soda. It’s simple strategies like these that can help you enjoy the festivities and still win the battle of the “holiday bulge”.

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