Liquid calories will sabotage your diet in a hurry, pushing your daily caloric intake well past what you weight-loss goals can handle. That can make going out for drinks with friends a recipe for diet sabotage. The average 12-ounce beer contains 150 calories, and 1.5 ounces of liquor has on average over 100. Then, you add in fruit juices, soda and other common drink ingredients, and a single drink can easily clock in at several hundred calories.
The solution is to search for low-calorie recipes that pull out as many calories as possible without compromising flavor. These five recipes all twist traditional cocktails to tally up less than 150 calories each, less than a can of soda.
Low-Sugar Mimosa (120 cal.)
Most of the calories in this summer favorite come from the fruit juice. The key is using a low-calorie alternative to the sugary orange juice, and still use some freshly squeezed orange juice. Here’s how to mix it up:
- 2 oz. of Minute Made Lite orange juice.
- 4 oz. of champagne.
- Juice squeezed from half of a large orange.
Drop five or so ice cubes into a glass, and squeeze the fresh juice on top. Then pour in the mixed juice from concentrate and the champagne. Stir and add an orange slice as a garnish.
Mojito (120 cal.)
The soda water in this recipe has no calories, and if you substitute Splenda for the sugar that most recipes call for, the only calories you’ll get are from the rum and what little is in the lime juice. Ingredients:
- ½ of a lime.
- 4 sprigs of mint.
- 1.5 oz. of light rum.
- Soda water.
- 1 tsp. of Splenda
In an 8- to 12 oz. highball glass, squeeze the lime juice over the teaspoon of sweetener. Then drop in the crushed lime. Drop in your mint sprigs (you can add or subtract sprigs depending on how minty you like your mojitos) and stir. Pour in the rum, add some ice and fill the rest of the glass with soda water.
Cranberry and Vodka (130 cal.)
Vodka is a low-cal spirit, but cranberry juice can be pretty sugary (over 100 calories in just 1 cup). So use low-sugar substitutes that are just as tart, but still clock in your drinks below 200 cal. It’s a simple drink, but I usually put in about an ounce of vodka, 4.5 ounces of a low-calorie cranberry cocktail, a dash of lime and orange juice. Pour it all over a liberal amount of crushed ice and you’re set. If it’s too tart for you, drop the lime juice.
Margarita (140 cal.)
Most margarita mixes are full of corn syrup. Doing your own mix at home can seriously cut down on the calories. If you do need to sweeten your mix (which can be tart without added sugar), slip in a touch of agave syrup or Splenda.
- 1.5 oz. of 100-percent agave blanco tequila.
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice.
- 0.5 oz. of Cointreau.
Blend your ice, tequila, lime juice and cointrea until the ice is just crushed enough. Then pour into your glasses and, if desired, salt the rim.
Raspberry Chiller (115 cal.)
Displacing some of the liquor and juice with crushed ice is a good way to dilute calories. This frozen drink does just that, using a frozen raspberry punch concentrate and vodka for a refreshing cocktail that clocks in with the lowest number of calories on the list.
- 1/2 cup of ice.
- 8 oz. of raspberry punch.
- 1.5 oz. of vodka.
Blend all of your ingredients until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with a few raspberries.
Since all of these drinks include fewer than 150 calories, it’s easy to save calories for them at the end of your day. If you have some tricks for cutting calories from your favorite cocktails, let us know below in the comments.
Author bio: When Rebecca Ferguson isn’t mixing drinks for friends, she writes on fitness, nutrition and health. You can read her work at LiveFitThrive.com.