We work hard and play hard. That’s the fine balance we all seek. Come the hot summer months and our play usually includes fun activities followed by relaxing poolside with the smell of delicious barbeque drifting on the breeze. The visual isn’t complete until there’s a colorful umbrella drink resting in our hand.
Sipping on a fruity cocktail sounds refreshing and fun, but most cocktails aren’t looking after our figures. All of our hard work and the hours spent at the gym to get into swimsuit shape shouldn’t be forgotten. In fact, most sweet drinks can contain more calories than a savory meal. To give you an idea, here’s the calorie count of a few popular poolside libations:
Long Island Iced Tea, 7oz, 780 calories
Margarita, 8.5oz, 740 calories
Piña Colada, 6oz, 644 calories
Mai Tai, 9oz, 620 calories
Instead of wasting your daily caloric intake on one drink, try sipping on healthy summer cocktails that are equally refreshing and much less detrimental to your diet. To start, adopt a couple simple practices when making your summer drink:
Choose light alcohol over dark alcohols which are known to worsen hangovers
Limit your cocktail recipe to one shot per drink to avoid sneaking in unneeded calories. Also, keep drinks to 8oz.
Sip and savor slowly
Use whole fruit instead of syrups and mixers. Muddle or fresh squeeze your own lime juice or berries for a fresher tasting and healthier beverage.
If it calls for simple syrup, make your own using ½ tablespoon of honey mixed with ¾ tablespoon warm water. Honey has sugar but also has antioxidants – so there’s a sneaky benefit.
If you prefer your summer cocktail virgin (sans alcohol), you will be saving even more calories. However, you should still be on the watch for added sugar tossed in. Follow the same principles above and your waistline will thank you.
Once you have a few healthy bartender tricks up your sleeve, it’s time to start blending, shaking and pouring your very own healthy cocktail recipes. Here are a few of our favorites for summertime.
Healthy Summer Cocktails
Muddle 12 mint leaves at the bottom of glass, squeeze ½ lime, add 1 tablespoon homemade “simple syrup” (see above tip #5), add ice, one shot of light rum. Shake or stir. Ditch the sugar and reduce more calories by leaving the honey/simple syrup out.
Combine 1 shot vodka, 2 shots of 100% cranberry juice, 2 shots of seltzer water. Stir and garnish with lime wedge.
Vanilla and Ginger
This simple yet delicious drink is 1 shot vanilla vodka with diet ginger ale. We normally avoid soda all together, but an occasional indulgence to save calories while enjoying a summer day is A-OK.
DIY Skinny Margarita
Combine fresh squeezed lime (to taste) with one shot white (blanco) tequila and top with seltzer water. It’s a tarter yet healthier version of our vacay favorite cocktail.
No cocktail recipe needed for this one. Simply enjoy a cold stem of bubbly and only set yourself back 85 calories for 4oz.
As always, drink responsibly and be sure to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
If you've splurged on a high calories drink, simply grant yourself the treat and continue on toward your health goals. Burn those extra calories with an amazing gym workout.