TGIF or LBS.

It’s mid-term week, and you’re looking forward to rum and cokes at Harry’s and raspberry blow pops at Russell’s this Friday.  But a night on the town can do serious damage to your diet, especially if you order cocktails made with high-calorie mixers. However, with a little self control and planning, a night out doesn’t have to break the seams in your shirt.

It’s easy to overdo it with alcohol calories. When you drink, you don’t see the calories because they are in a simple drink.

According to WebMD, “A single chocolate martini has more calories than a McDonald’s grilled chicken sandwich. In fact, one gram of alcohol has seven calories, compared with only four calories for a gram of carbohydrates or protein.”

Believe me, I love raspberry margaritas and strawberry Long Island iced teas, but these alcoholic mixed drinks are loaded with sugars and calories. If you are someone just trying to watch your intake of excess sugars and or even calories, then sadly, these alcoholic cocktails are not the smartest options. On the brighter side, there are many different mixed drinks and even beers that contain a lower calorie count that do the job without packing on the pounds.

According to Kathleen Zelman, director of nutrition for WebMD, overseeing diet, nutrition, and food information, the standard 1.5 ounce serving of 80-proof alcohol has 96 calories even before you add any mixers. A six-ounce serving of orange juice has 84 calories, but add a shot of alcohol to make it a screwdriver, and the calories more than double.

Beer can range from 64-198 calories per 12 ounces. Light beers, such as Michelob Ultra (95 calories and 2.6 grams of carbohydrates) and Budweiser Select (99 calories and 3.1 grams of carbohydrates) are better choices because they contain the same amount of alcohol as regular beers but fewer carbohydrates.

The amount of calories depends on several factors: the proof and amount of alcohol, the size of the drink and the mix that is used.

Did you know, a Pina Colada (6 oz.) has 378 calories, a Mojito (8 oz.) has 214 calories, and a Cosmopolitan (4 oz.) has 200 calories? Or, that a Vodka and tonic (8 oz.) has 200 calories, Rum and Coke (8 oz.) has 185 calories, and a Long Island iced tea (8 oz.) has a whopping 780 calories?

It would take at least two hours in the gym the next day just to work off the calories you drank the night before.

Instead, you could substitute certain drinks that won’t pack on the pounds, including diet soda or diet tonic (0 calories), light cranberry juice (8 oz., 40 calories) or lemon or lime juice (1/2 oz., ten calories). Stay away from drinks heavy in cola or soda and any frozen/creamy drink because all of these tend to be extremely heavy in calories and sugars.

You could also switch your choice of drinks instead. As an alternative of a Cosmo which has about 251 calories, you could drink a sour apple martini which only has 160 calories, saving you 91 calories. Also, instead of a Long Island iced tea, you could try a Tequila Sunrise which could save you 114 calories. 

I dare you to try the challenge in changing up the way you drink.

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