Your co-workers ask you out for a drink after work or you have a date at the local pub. Sounds like fun, but alcohol can wreak havoc on your healthy lifestyle if you don’t consider a few things first.
First and foremost, you cannot forget to track the calories you drink. Yes, they count. The recommendations for consuming alcohol are no more than 1 serving for women per day and 1-2 servings for men per day. And, sorry, a double tall margarita is not 1 serving.
Not all drinks are alike in nutrition and calories. For example, one glass (5 oz.) of red wine has about 15.5 grams of alcohol and 3.8 grams of carbohydrates which adds up to around 124 calories per glass. An 8 oz. pina colada, on the other hand, has 5.3 grams of fat, 63.9 grams of carbohydrates and 28.9 grams of alcohol totaling 491 calories. That’s a huge difference!
During “happy hour” it’s easy to let an entire day’s worth of calories add up in one sitting. Plus, have you seen a bar menu? It’s probably not their specialty, but eating a salad or a healthier option can save you from consuming too many high calorie, high fat foods.
Here’s a challenge for you: take your nutrition tracker or food log with you when you go out and track right away. Apps like My Fitness Pal, Lose It! or Spark People provide and easy, somewhat discrete way to record your intake. (Helpful tip: Don’t put it off and say you’ll add in the calories later. Do it as you go. It will be a real eye opener watching how many calories you’re consuming while you’re having a good time.)
The good news? There are a few alcoholic beverages that won’t break the calorie bank as quickly. These drinks still need to be enjoyed in moderation, but they are more calorie and fat friendly:
- Red Wine 5oz: 124 calories
- White Wine 5oz: 100 calories
- Scotch 1.5oz: 104 calories
- Light Beer 12oz: 108 calories
- Martini 2.2oz: 135 calories
- Manhattan 3.3oz: 153 calories
It’s okay, you can have a drink from time to time. It’s all about balance and moderation. If you are going to hit the sauce, try adding to your physical activity to burn off those extra calories. Don’t let a drink throw off the goals you are working hard to achieve.