Which Alcohol is Best? (And How to Limit Excessive Drinking)

 
 Which alcohol should I choose? Best alcohols for weight loss and weight management.

This post is for those over 21 years old! Please drink responsibly.

 

What is the best type of alcohol to have?

Can I drink and still manage my weight or lose weight?

These are all excellent questions - and I hear them all the time! Don’t worry - I got you. Here’s all the recommendations -

1. What are the best drinks to get?

I personally think the research is strongest for a diet low in added sugar. Therefore, my recommendation is to drink any alcohol you prefer, but without added sugar mixers if possible. Some examples include:

  • Wine

  • Champagne or prosecco or cava

  • Light beer 

  • Hard alcohol + seltzer or water (e.g. vodka soda)

 

An important note: Don’t be confused by “tonic water”! Seltzer, or sparkling water, is simply water with bubbles in it. I also don’t mean here the sparkling waters with alcohol in them already - while those can definitely be fine in certain situations, they do typically contain added sugar.

Tonic water, on the other hand, is sugary sparkling water, very similar to Sprite or 7Up.

2. What are the calorie differences with various alcohols?

Here’s the run-down!

White Wine (per 5oz alcohol in a regular glass)

  • General white wine: 121 calories

  • Chardonnay, white: 119 calories

  • Pinot Grigio: 122 calories

  • Savignon Blanc: 120 calories

Red Wine (per 5oz alcohol in a regular glass)

  • General red wine: 125 calories

  • Merlot: 118 calories

  • Pinot Noir: 116 calories

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: 122 calories

  • Malbec: 122 calories

Rose Wine (per 5oz alcohol in a regular glass)

  • General Rose: 118 calories

Sparkling Wine (per 4oz alcohol in a flute)

  • Cava/ Brut: 89 calories

  • Champagne: 91 calories

Light Beer (per 12oz alcohol in a bottle)

  • General Light Beer: 103 calories

  • Bud Light: 110 calories

  • Coors Light: 102 calories

  • Busch Light: 95 calories

  • Bud Light Lime: 116 calories

  • Yuengling Light: 98 calories

  • Keystone Light: 123 calories

Regular Beer (per 12oz alcohol in a bottle)

  • General Beer: 153 calories

  • Budweiser: 145 calories

  • Yuengling: 135 calories

Hard Alcohol (per 1oz hard alcohol - can include additional seltzer, water, or a diet drink)

  • Vodka Soda: 64 calories

  • Rum + Diet Coke: 64 calories

  • Tequila Soda with lime: 64 calories

As you can see, these drinks are all fairly similar in calories (except for the hard alcohol). I’d recommend sticking with the alcohol you like the best - so you can truly enjoy yourself.

However, if you know you’re going to be drinking a lot of e.g. beer at a tailgate, it may be a good idea to stick with a lower calorie option.

3. Tricks

I also have some great tricks to help manage what you’re drinking throughout the day or night event. Here they are!

Staying hydrated so that you’re not hung over the next day – and make (often) poor food decisions!

Alternate with water or seltzer

By this I mean:

  • 1 drink of alcohol

  • 1 drink of seltzer/ water (not a spiked seltzer, just plain sparkling water)

  • 1 drink of alcohol

  • 1 drink of seltzer/ water

You can even put a wedge of lime in your glass of seltzer or water if you want to make it look like alcohol!

  

Have the first drink of the night as seltzer or water

This way, you can “set the tone” of the evening. You are the one in control, and aren’t going to overdo it!

 

Make weak drinks

This works especially well if you’re at a friend’s house or somewhere where you can be more in control of what goes into your glass.

If you’re making a vodka soda, for example, pour a half-shot and fill the rest with seltzer or water. Add some lime wedges if you need more of a taste!

Pour half glasses

Another good trick if you have more control, or aren’t paying for every single drink (e.g. you’re at a friend’s house, at a wedding, etc.) is to pour yourself half glasses - and continue with the alternating trick of 1 alcohol drink, 1 seltzer, 1 alcohol drink, etc. This can help slow you down!  

Decide how many drinks you’re going to have for the week (ahead of time)

A good trick is to decide how many drinks you’re going to have ahead of time for the week (on a regular basis) - and then distribute them however you like, or how your social life is looking for that week.

For example, if I know I typically have a beer with Zak on Thursday nights, and maybe I’ll have 2 drinks on Friday or Saturday night, my maximum # of drinks could be 4 for the week (to give myself a little leeway).

Important note: the drinks do NOT role over! :) If I only had 3 drinks this week, it doesn’t mean I get 5 drinks the next week (if my max is 4!).

4. Alright. Things didn’t go as planned. I’m hungover. Help!

If you are hungover, try some greasy eggs & bacon rather than pancakes or fries. You’ll still get the fried taste, but without the extra carbs.

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    What’s In Your Ice Cream?

     
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    You probably know this about me since I talk about it a lot :) but I have a MAJOR sweet tooth.

    I get a lot of questions from you about how to deal with your own sweet tooths (teeth?), and how to incorporate sweets and treats into your diet without feeling guilty, and so that you don’t feel like you’re being too restrictive with yourself.

     

    Especially on occasions like late night eating, or more indulgent periods, having a pre-decided treat makes it so much easier to stick with our health goals.

     

    One of my favorite treats is ice cream. Sometimes we think – eh, a treat is a treat, I’m just going to choose a) what tastes best, or b) what’s the lowest in calories.

    Along those lines, I hear this question all the time – Should I eat the low calorie ice cream?

     

    When choosing an ice cream, let’s talk about ingredients. V. important. Have you ever looked at the ingredients in your ice cream?? I always look for light ice cream in the store because it helps me stick with my health goals – but I didn’t ever pay attention to the ingredients in the different brands.  

    Many low-calorie ice cream choices include erythritol or other sugar alcohols – which can cause some less-than-pleasant side effects (bloating, gas, and diarrhea are ones I’ve personally, unfortunately experienced).

     

    Let me introduce you TO a brand that is sweetened with organic cane sugar – never Erythritol: Arctic Zero Light Ice Cream! They have 7 delicious flavors and (seriously) taste GOOD – creamy and rich just like regular ice cream (which is HARD TO FIND among light ice cream brands!).

     

    They also have kick-a** flavors including

    • Cookies & Cream

    • Chocolate Chunk

    • Peanut Butter & Cookies

    • Mint & Chocolate Cookies

    • Vanilla Bean

    • Cookie & Brownie Dough

    • Toffee Crunch

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    Here are 5 ways to use it – each with ½ cup serving!

    If it helps you, pre-portion it into ½ cup servings in small glass containers in the freezer.  

    1. With frozen fruit - top with ½ cup frozen fruit like bananas, raspberries

    2. With whipped cream - top with 1-2 Tbsp whipped cream, I go for the light kind!

    3. With PB and frozen fruit as a mini milkshake - make a smoothie with ¼ cup frozen fruit and 1 Tbsp peanut butter

    4. With fresh fruit - top with ½ cup fresh fruit like frozen strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.

    5. In a fancy dish – you may enjoy it more!

    Which way are YOU going to use it? Share your pictures on Instagram and tag me! Can’t wait to see!

     

    I have partnered with Arctic Zero. I have been compensated for my time commitment. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

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      How to Lose the Freshman 15

       

      When I was in middle school, high school and the first few years of college, I was SO unhappy with my body and my weight.

      I didn't want to just "accept my body" because I knew I would be more confident and comfortable a few pounds lighter.

      I would look at my friends and be so jealous. Why couldn't I just look like that? They were eating chocolate and pizza and takeout. It felt really unfair.

      Hey, vanity is allowed!

      But I couldn't find a way to lose those pounds without starving myself, or without having to cancel plans with friends in order to stick with "my plan".

      I tried a number of diets - but, as I'm sure you can imagine, they lasted about a few hours, or a few days at most. They just weren't sustainable.

      It seemed like a real lose-lose situation. It got so bad that I actually had to take time off from college to focus on my relationship with food, and focus on self-care.

      During this time at home, I knew something drastic needed to change. I knew I needed more nutrition knowledge about what exactly would help me get to, and stay at, the weight I wanted.

      I started taking some nutrition classes at a community college, and when I went back to my university, I switched my major to nutrition.

      I'd like to tell you it was smooth sailing after that... but I was a work in progress for another few years!

      It took getting my PhD in behavior change, and coaching hundreds of women, and seeing what worked, and what didn't work, to come up with a customizable system that kept me, and my clients, at our ideal weights, for the LONG term!

      And, most importantly, I finally was able to figure out what I really wanted - true happiness and bliss, and a mind free of food thoughts.There is so much more to life than constantly thinking about food, SO MUCH more!

      Me.png

       

      First and foremost, let's talk nutrition science. The most important thing to me is that you are full and satisfied. 

      Research does show that protein & fats are more satisfying that carbohydrates. Here are some excellent, well researched articles on the subject: 

      However! Starchy foods, while they may not be as physically filling, are physiologically satisfying! 

       

       

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      Here are my rules of thumb for weight loss

       

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      1. One starchy food per day 

      Starchy foods include grains like bread, rice, pasta, and quinoa, but also starchy vegetables like potatoes, beans, peas, corn, hummus, French fries, etc. 

      Sticking with 1 serving of starchy foods is ideal - so 1 piece of bread, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice or starch veg like peas. 

       

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      2. One fruit per day

      For the same reason we're limiting starchy foods, fruits have 2, 3, 4, 5 times as many calories as non-starchy vegetables, and they're not really any more filling. 

      And I want you to be as full as possible

       

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      3. Don't drink your calories

      If we had some fruits, and then we blended them up and made them into a smoothie, research shows you'd be psychologically, and physiologically less full on the smoothie.

      Along the same lines, chewing nuts is typically more filling than nut butters. It's too easy to eat half that jar of peanut butter, but if you had try to chew on all the peanuts that made that same amount of peanut butter, it may be difficult. 

      And finally, in this same bucket, I'd recommend choosing low calorie salad dressings instead of higher calorie ones. Salad dressing isn't filling itself, but the taste is often needed! 

       

      Getting the food under control is of course incredibly important, but other items are equally, if not more important: 

      • Figuring out how to handle social events that include food

      • Eliminating stress, boredom, and emotional eating

      • Creating habits that sustain you for the long term

      If you want to learn more about living you happiest, most fulfilled life, I'd love for you to check out my weight loss program, here

      Get Your FREE 1-Week Meal Plan HERE! 

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        Healthy Options at Fast Food and Fast Casual Restaurants

         
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        In a perfect world we’d grow our vegetables in our backyard, can our own pickles, and cook all our food ourselves.

        But! We. Are. BUSY!

        Sometimes all you have time to do is get something from a fast food or fast casual place.

        And, on top of that, food you buy out tastes pretty darn good!

        AND you can count on fast food and fast casual restaurants for consistency, and typically providing nutrition information, if you’re interested in that.

        Here are my top fave items at popular restaurants – these options align with my views on a lower carbohydrate approach to eating (which, as I read the science, is healthier and more filling!).

         

        Some of My Favorite Quick Spots

        Panda Express

        • Get a quart of beef & broccoli or another protein & vegetable stir-fry options

        This meal is sans rice! There are already extra carbs in the breading of the protein and veggies.

        I would typically eat this making the 30-minute walk from 1 location to another at one of my previous counseling jobs. It’s convenient to eat on-the-go, really filing, and DElicious.

         

        Chick-fil-A

        • Grilled nuggets

        • The ice cream in a cup is also surprisingly low calorie – and soooo good!

        Zak and I stop at Chick-fil-A every time we get! We also have these awesome calendars (you can get in December/ January), which come with a rewards card. Every month you get a new free food – it can be a free 6-count nuggets, free small drink, etc.

         

        Starbucks

        • See my full list here

        • BUT my typical drink go-to is a latte with 1 pump sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup and 1 pump vanilla syrup

        • You can also get this latte without espresso if you need something mid-day that you don’t want to keep you awake. This is called a “steamer”. Get it with the low sugar syrup!

        I know everyone is all about the cutesy, boho coffee shops, but honestly I love Starbucks for its consistency, and many of them are really clean, and have internet and a bathroom. There’s nothing I hate more than setting up my computer etc. and then realizing there’s no free wifi!

         

        Chipotle

        • Salad with steak, tomato salsa, cheese, extra fajita vegetables (ask for extra), and guacamole if I want to pay a little extra!

        When I worked at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, this was one of two chain restaurants (the other one was Sbarro) that was available for lunch. I pretty much ate here EVERY day for at least a year. I called it the “Chipotle” diet!

         

        Sbarro

        • Meatballs with a side of sautéed vegetables

        This was the other location close to where I worked at Columbia. I would typically get this lunch whenever I didn’t want to eat what I had bought for lunch. Meatballs are $1 each – which makes a pretty filling and cheap lunch!

         

        Panera

        • Cobb salad

        • Broccoli cheddar soup

        You can’t go wrong with a cobb salad! Cobb salads are usually made with eggs, bacon, sometimes chicken, non-starchy veggies, and blue cheese. So many flavors, and really filling!

        And yes you read that right! The broccoli cheddar soup is super filling, and is low in extra carbs and sugar. You will probably be surprised at how full this keeps you!

         

        Chop’t

        • Cobb salad as is!

        Again with the Cobbs I know! But a cobb salad is such a good one to fall back on – anywhere you go!

         

        General Recommendations

        Japanese

        • 1 roll sushi with rice + 1+ roll(s) sashimi 

        Did you know! You can also get cucumber or seaweed only wrapped sushi at many places?! The best ever. Also at Bondi Sushi in NYC you can get cauliflower rice sushi!

         

        Poke

        • Base of greens or zoodles + protein + non-starchy toppings

        Find out what “starchy foods” are in this blog post!

        Mexican

        • Burrito bowl with lettuce, cheese, protein, and fajita veggies

        • Fajitas with protein & veggies - stick with 1 tortilla

        American Fast Food

        • Burger with the bun OR the fries

        • Chicken fingers

        • Mozzarella sticks

        Mediterranean

        • Grilled protein (e.g. chicken or beef) with Mediterranean salad (chopped tomatoes & cucumbers)

        What other fast food chains aren’t on here that you go to frequently? Let me know and I’ll try my best to review them!

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          My Favorite Protein Bars

           

          My issue with most protein bars is that they don't keep me full for very long - and I don't usually fine them satisfying.

          HOWEVER! Protein bars ARE convenient, pre-packaged into single servings (generally), and are usually non-perishable - meaning you can keep them in your purse or schoolbag for months!

          I've personally found these below taste best AND have pretty clean, recognizable ingredients. Here's my go-to list! 

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          ThinkThin

          150-Calorie Bars

          Good tasting, good texture, and smaller than most other bars

          Calories: 150 // Protein: 10gm // Sugar: 5gm

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          Larabars

          Clean, MINIMAL ingredients!

          For original bars - Calories: 190-200 // Protein: 4-5gm // Sugar: 17-18gm (0-3 gm added sugar)

          P.S. if you want a smaller bite, they make kid's size Larabars!

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          That's It Bars

          The ONLY ingredients in these bars are dried fruit and vegetables... pretty amazing!

          For fruit bars - Calories: 100 // Protein: 1gm // Sugar: 19gm (no added sugar!)

          Kind Bar Minis

          I love these minis for when you just need a little bite of something to tide you over.

          Calories: 100 // Protein: 3gm // Sugar: 3gm (2 gm added sugar)

           

          A note: the nutrition facts are just for 1 example bar, but other bars by these brands are fairly similar nutritionally! 


          The images in this blog post are (c) by the companies! 

           

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