Health & Fitness

By Patricia R. Zablah

After teasing us for a long time, summer in the city is finally here. That means fabulous weekend getaways, rooftop barbeques and outdoor seating in restaurants. Summer also means short skirts, short shorts and bikinis – which can get a little complicated when all that bbqing and outdoor drinking is getting in the way. You can actually enjoy a couple (and notice how I said a couple) of cocktails and still stay in shape.

I really enjoy drinking in moderation and believe there is a way to do it without gaining weight. Regardless of what your drink of choice is, be it beer, wine or liquor, there are ways to make your drinks taste just as fabulous and cut almost half of the calories! When I say they taste fabulous, I mean it. And what’s better than enjoying your drinks, reducing your hangover and avoiding the drunken food mistakes or hangover greasy impulses? Without further adue, I bring you tips, rules and products to help you keep your cool this summer and enjoy those delicious margaritas and refreshing beers we all know and love.

Skinnygirl Margaritas

Allow me to introduce the SkinnyGirl Margaritas. http://www.bethenny.com/2010/05/15/skinnygirl-margarita-product/
This mix is only 100 calories per 4 ounces compared to 296 calories in a 4oz margarita (which is 740 in a 10oz margarita, which is what you usually get at restaurants)

The best part about this is that it is already mixed for you. All you need is to fill your glass (rimmed with salt or not, however you choose) with ice and pour it in. If you want it to look nicer and taste a little more lemon-y, cut up some lime wedges and squeeze them in there. And, if you’re like me and you like frozen margaritas, throw the mix in the blender with ice and enjoy! Salud!

A lot of wine and liquor stores around NYC already sell the SkinnyGirl Margarita and, since Bethenny Frankel just sold her brand (http://www.forbes.com/2011/05/17/celebrity-100-11-bethenny-frankel-skinnygirl-bravo-money-makers.html) for 100 miilion dollars (badass, I know!), you will soon be able to find them just about anywhere.

Mixed Drinks

The amount of calories in liquor is directly related to the alcohol content. But since, realistically, you will never read the alcohol content in a bottle unless you are buying it from the liquor store, here are a few tips that are useful for you.

1) Drink out of a short glass. Avoid the large cups that are sometimes provided in restaurants, they won’t help.
2) Put a lot of ice in your drink. It allows for less alcohol to fit into your glass and keeps the drink cold.
3) Always drink clear liquor. (Clear vodka, tequila, clear rum). They tend to have less impurities than dark liquer, so you’re hangover is a lot less intense and the calorie intake is less.
4) Once you have chosen your liquor, fill the glass with club soda or seltzer. This will allow the drink to fill up and will eliminate a lot of the calories that come from the fruity juices or the sodas.
5) You can always skip the mixers and sweeten with citrus fruits. By asking for limes, lemons or oranges you get the flavor into the drink without the calories. Plus, it’s a perfect way to also stay fresh under the sun Bars usually have the lime wedges at reach, take advantage of that!
6) Lastly, if you want to maintain your shape while drinking always, always remember to drink a glass of water in between drinks. It will help you read your body better and will give you time to think about what you’re drinking.

Wine

Some people prefer a glass off wine to mixed drinks. That is their preference, and I don’t intend on changing it. But, there is a big warning to be said about wine: Watch out for the waiter with the menacing bottle. He won’t stop attacking your glass unless you specifically tell him you have had enough. Put your hand over the glass and simply state you’ve had enough. That should do the trick. One glass of wine averages about 85 calories, with slight variations depending on the kind of wine. So, if you’re able to keep it to a two glass minimum and fight off the waiter, wine is a great option.

Sweet Liquors

The highest calorie intake comes from sweet liquors. My favorite is Baileys, which has 468 calories in every 4oz. So when I want to drink it, I take it as my dessert.

If you’re like me, enjoy a glass after dinner, with a lot of ice instead of dessert. It will keep you full, satisfy your sweet tooth and you will notice, when you’re done with it, you don’t even need the dessert anymore. You don’t believe me? Try it for yourself.

Beer

Afraid of the infamous beer belly, most women stay away from beer. But if you’re like me, sometimes nothing sounds better than a chilling cold bottle of beer. Here are a few things you need to know to enjoy your beer and avoid the beer belly. The darkest beers are always the ones with the highest calorie intake.

I love a cold glass of Guiness enjoyed slowly during dinner. Guiness averages about 210 calories per pint. Compared to Corona, which averages about 148 calories per bottle.

The recent hype around lite beers is not without reason. The lowest calorie one is MGD 64, which – as the name implies, only has 64 calories. But, the Miller Lite, coming in at 96 calories, tastes more like a lager. The third light beer that I recommend is Corona Light, with 105 calories, which is always fun with a lime wedge and some salt. If all you’re going for is calories, stick with MGD 64. But, it is important to keep in mind that MGD 64 has only 2.8% alcohol by volume, while Miller Lite has 4.2% alcohol by volume and Corona Light has 4.1% alcohol per volume. This means that, ultimately, MGD could lead you to drink more beer. So, keep that in mind.

If all this fails -

Don’t panic. Drink a ton of water before you go to sleep and keep coconut water in your refrigerator. These will alleviate the hangover the next day, by keeping you hydrated (hangovers are dehydration, after all) and the extra electrolytes in coconut water will also rehydrate your body naturally.

I like VitaCoco. It comes in many different flavors and it Tetra Pak packaging is recyclable, which makes me like them even more. http://vitacoco.com/

Originally published July 2011
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