For many, getting together includes alcoholic beverages. Don’t let the extra calories from alcohol, sugar and/or the mixers weigh you down like a lump of coal. Here are a few ways to lighten up some traditional holiday spirits.

White Russians made with cream are loaded with calories and fat. Subbing 1 cup skim milk for half and half will save 251 calories and 17.3g saturated fat. Sipping 244 calories from 1 cup skim milk mixed with 1 ounce vodka and 1 ounce Kalua saves 323 calories that otherwise would come from an equal amount of ready-to-drink White Russian!

Modifying a 344-calorie per cup eggnog recipe can be pretty involved. Buy the premade eggnog flavored low-fat milk version and cut 100 calories.

In place of the sugar sparkles on the rim of your cosmopolitan, use a well-frosted glass for the cosmo glam. Mix the juices of fresh lemon, raspberries and orange in place of a 95-calorie shot of Cointreau or flavored syrups.

Bloody Marys can be substantial beverages without a lot of calories. Load up on the super low-calorie fixings like celery, ground celery seeds, black pepper, a cool hot sauce, horseradish and lemon. Choosing a no sugar added, low-sodium tomato-based juice keeps even the most imaginative combinations close to 120 calories.

At 124 calories, the 2.25-ounce classic martini on the rocks is about as low as it gets. Swap the double olive garnish of 8 calories (woo-hoo!) for a calorie- and sodium-free twist of lemon peel and save 4mg of sodium.

Beverage                                                               Quantity                                    Calories
Champagne                                                            5 oz.                                              96
Rum, 80 proof                                                        1.5 oz./1 jigger                           96
Vodka, 80 proof                                                     1.5 oz./1 jigger                           96
While wine                                                               5 oz.                                             120
Red wine                                                                   5 oz.                                             124
Beer                                                                           12 oz./1 bottle                           147
Light beer                                                                12 oz./1 bottle                           101
Soda                                                                           4 oz./½ cup                                 50
Orange juice                                                            4 oz./½ cup                                 50
Whisky sour                                                             4 oz./½ cup                                181
Eggnog, spiked with 1.5 oz. of bourbon        8 oz./1 cup                                 320
White Russian, premade                                     8 oz./1 cup                                 567

 

A single serving, 1.5 oz. of 80 proof distilled spirits like gin, vodka, whiskey, all have 0 calories from sugar but between 96 and 100 calories overall.

A 5-oz. glass of wine can have as few as 106 but up to 125 calories. White wines tend to have slightly less than reds. Drinking fewer alcoholic calories allows your body to better burn energy from carbs, protein and fat. Subbing half the pour with seltzer ― 0 calories, 0mg sodium and 0g alcohol, can save 50 calories. Or consider not waiting for New Year’s to sip some bubbly; 5 ounces of champagne only have 96 calories.

Four ounces of soda can have 100 calories and 6 teaspoons of added sugar. Beware, the same amount of 100% fruit juice can have the same number of calories as well, but the natural fruit sugar is packaged with nutritious benefits of vitamins and minerals. Mixers, and especially ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages, can have considerably more calories.

Choose lower calorie libations, reducing the sugar to save calories. If you choose to drink, drink responsibly, and don’t drink and drive. Always drink with food.

Libby Mills, MS, RDN, LDN, is a sought-after nutrition and cooking coach, speaker, author, radio talk show host and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics known in health fields as a food and nutrition authority. Libby markets and teaches nutrition through scrumptiously fun culinary experiences, as well as entertaining, imaginative communication to all ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. She engages audiences with experiences from her Midwestern roots, urban living, and endless quest for healthy, flavorful, good food.