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Health & Beauty Pick Dec. 12: Holiday Cocktails

By Nicelise
Health & Beauty Pick Dec. 12: Holiday CocktailsHoliday season means holiday parties and holiday parties mean holiday foods and drinks. All the extra eating and drinking is what packs on those dreaded holiday pounds. But just like you can find ways to cut calories out of the food you eat, you can also find ways to cut calories from your cocktails while still being able to enjoy them.
Dietician Gloria Tsang, author of Go UnDiet: 50 Small Actions for Lasting Weight Loss and founder of nutrition network, has shared some easy tips to cut calories from your holiday cocktails.
"The key is to focus on ingredients that maximize flavor and color while minimizing sugar, fat and calories," Tsang said in a press release.
When hitting the bar or mixing cocktails during the holidays, here are Tsang's tips to lighten up your cocktails:
  • Skip syrup: Many cocktails rely on sugar-sodden fruit syrups and mixes that offer none of the benefits of real fruit. Instead, Tsang said, use real fruit like citrus and berries. You can blend them as a base for mixed drinks.
  • Kick the cola: cola and sodas pack a killer calorie punch, especially mixed with the high-sugar spirits like rum or rye. You can try a spritzer base instead for a much lighter take on carbonated drinks. Lime spritzer or seltzer and rum or vodka is a great place to start.
  • Just a splash of flavor: Start your drink with a basic vodka and soda (club soda has zero calories) and add a hint of flavor with citrus peel, frozen berries or fresh mint. The strong smells give the impression of big flavor and the colors are great too, Tsang said.
  • Avoid high proof: Higher alcohol levels instantly pump up the calorie count, so high-proof liquor bulks up your cocktail in more ways than one. You should stick to the standard proof brands to get both the calories and drink strength you expect.
  • Sip, pause, repeat: Cocktails taste best when sipped slowly, Tsang said, and you'll consume less over the course on the party if you're not throwing them back. Add a lot of ice to keep your drink cool to the last sip.
Some more tips to lighten up your holiday drinking, from my experience, is to alternate between your cocktail and a glass of water or club soda. This way you still have a drink in your hand, albeit non-alcoholic, while hydrating and pacing yourself. In the mood to sip on eggnog? It's a high caloric drink, but if you just have to have it, you can "water" it down with some skim milk or unsweetened almond milk. You can also do the same sort of thing with white wine by adding some seltzer. 

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