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Holiday Beverage Tips

Whew! Finals are over, winter break is happening, and Christmas and New Years are around the corner. Who’s ready to par-tay?! It has been yet another tough semester, but I am one step closer to my goal of becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD). It is amazing how time flies.

If you haven’t already been to a handful of holiday parties, I am sure you have some coming up in the near future. Along with the holiday parties and shopping often comes alcoholic beverages and gourmet coffee drinks. Add that to cookies, pies, and large holiday dinners, and it is no wonder a majority of people put on a few pounds during this time of year. I am not against enjoying a few drinks or desserts, but I think it is important to do so in moderation.


12 ounces of regular beer has about 150 calories, 1.5 ounces of hard alcohol has about 100 calories, 5 ounces of wine has about 125 calories, mixed drinks can have anywhere from 125 calories to 500 calories, 12 ounces of regular soda has about 140 calories, 8 ounces of eggnog has about 225 calories, and gourmet espresso beverages can have anywhere from 190 to 500 calories. Calories from drinks like these provide little to no nutritional value and don’t make us full like real food does. In addition, alcohol can cause you to eat more, further increasing the amount of calories you consume. Use these 10  tips to moderate your calorie consumption from beverages during this holiday season.

  1. Fill up your glass with water in between each alcoholic beverage you consume at a party.
  2. Make a wine spritzer by combining equal parts of red or white wine and sparkling water.
  3. Choose diet soda over regular as a mix-in.
  4. Wait until food is served to consume alcohol.
  5. Lighten up your margarita by using fresh lime juice instead of a pre-made mix. Shake 1 ounce tequila, ½ ounce orange-flavored liqueur, and 1 ½ ounces fresh squeezed lime juice with ¾ cup ice and serve garnished with fresh lime slices.
  6. 12 ounces of tonic water has about 125 calories; substitute it with soda water and fresh lime juice, or diet lemon-lime soda instead.
  7. Mix 2-4 ounces of eggnog with 2-4 ounces of skim milk to get the same holiday flavor without all the calories.
  8. Order a low-fat café au lait (equal parts coffee and frothy steamed milk) and top it with a sprinkle of cinnamon as an alternative to a latte.
  9. Use words such as “small”, “skinny”, and/or “half flavor shot” when ordering beverages at your favorite coffee shop.
  10. Skip the whipped cream to save 100 calories or more.

chai latte

If you choose to consume alcohol, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests moderating it to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men for reduced cardiovascular disease risk. Instead of depriving yourself during the holidays, enjoy moderate amounts of alcohol while keeping these tips in mind!

Also, be sure to ramp up your exercise routine to help maintain your weight during the holiday season. Even just an additional 30 minutes of walking a day helps. Or you can avoid the large shopping crowds fighting for parking spots by parking the car at the far end of the parking lot and walking in. While spending time with your family and fiends, get everyone to go out on a walk together either before or after your holiday dinner(s). Not only will you get some exercise, but it’s free and you’ll spend some time interacting with each other–double win!