Skinny drinks

Enjoying a few drinks does not have to mean packing on pounds this year.

07 Jan 2013

Feel like you’ve over-indulged over the festive season? Yep – me too and now that reality is biting again and we're back to work, it’s time to think about getting back on the wagon and starting to behave alcohol-wise.

Sadly, there is nothing which piles on the calories faster than alcohol, and most dieticians agree. Alcohol counts as a carbohydrate, but a particularly useless one because there is nothing of nutritional value to be gained from drinking it. Add in the decreased resistance to snacks and treats and it’s a recipe for disaster.

People often ask about low-calorie wines as a dieting alternative and I have to be honest and say that they’re not my favourite thing, but I think you may be better off looking for non-wine-related drinks instead.

Here are a few ideas:

Go long
If you are going to drink wine or beer, try and double the volume by adding soda water or diet lemonade to make a spritzer or a shandy. It’s actually quite refreshing in the hot summer months anyway, but a tall glass takes longer to drink and you can halve your calorie intake without feeling like you’re missing out too much.

That’s the spirit
A shot of spirits is generally only around 50-60kcal as opposed to around 140kcal for a small-ish glass of wine. The secret here is to find diet mixers and my best tip to dieters is to get yourselves to Pick n Pay and buy some of the Chele range of drinks.

Chele is made locally (Stellenbosch) and offers a diet tonic and a diet dry lemon as well, which is perfect for calorie counting and actually tastes delicious. If you prefer coke with your Jack Daniels, make sure it’s diet and the same goes for lemonade in your vodka. Fill your glass to the brim and sip it slowly.

Beware of fruit
Of course it’s good to eat fruit as opposed to chocolate when you’re trying to diet, but drinking fruit juice doesn’t give you all that many benefits, and it's loaded with sugar. Again, the advice would be to stretch it with a diet cool drink – my absolute favourite is a St Clements which is half orange juice, half Chele Diet Dry Lemon (oranges and lemons – geddit??) over ice with a twist of lemon and mint. Almost makes being teetotal worthwhile.

Water, water everywhere
I know it can seem boring but nothing will ever do the dieter as much good as water. Fizzy or still, tap or bottle – if you can manage to alternate every glass of alcohol with one of water, you’ll go a long way to cutting down on the calories and carbs.

There are a few of my ideas but I would love to hear any others that you may want to share.

Tell us your tips for diet-friendly drinks and best of luck to us all!!

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