I’ll be the first to admit that I LOVE sitting down to relax outside on a warm summer evening with a yummy cocktail or glass of wine. In fact, I’m known within my circle of friends and family for being the “drink maker” lol! I’ll take that title any day. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy making up new drink concoctions than I do food recipes!
However, as a dietitian, health is important to me and I’m fully aware that alcohol is merely empty calories (as is most of what we add to drinks such as juices, sodas, and syrups) so of course, this puts me on a mission to find and create the healthiest options possible so I can enjoy my drinks with mindful moderation. (Check out 5 surprising facts about how alcohol affects your weight.)
What exactly makes a healthier alcoholic drink? Let me sum it up for you with this simple acronym: FRESH
F - Fewer than 200 calories. Around 100-200 calories max is a guideline I shoot for when making up new drinks.
R - Real ingredients whenever possible (e.g. use real fruit vs syrups).
E - Excludes too many added sugars (i.e. sodas, syrups, and other sweetened beverages that are commonly added to cocktails are loaded with refined simple sugars that do little for our health but can easily pack on unnecessary calories).
S - Safe drinking guidelines. Includes no more than one standard drink (there can be a wee-bit of wiggle room on this one depending on the drink but important to shoot for this to help stay within the safe drinking guidelines).
H - Healthier but still happy hour! Sip and savour your healthier drink and truly enjoy it. Be mindful that too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing, especially when it comes to alcohol. (Hangover, anyone?)
We asked fellow dietitians, “What are your healthy alcoholic drink recipes for the summer months?”
Here’s what they said!
1. Cape Cod Cranberry Kombucha Mule
2. Westwood Wahine Tiki Inspired Cocktail
3. Cucumber Herb Champagne Sparkler (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
4. Strawberry Rhubarb Gin Fizz
5. Fresh Frozen Blueberry Lime Margarita
6. Strawberry Basil Kombucha Cocktail
7. Blueberry Lavender Mojitos
All of these amazing concoctions from my fellow dietitians got my mouth-watering and drink-making mojo sparked big time so off to the kitchen and my drink cabinet to create something new myself. I have a bottle of tequila still in my cabinet from a trip to Mexico two years ago so what better to use as a starting point for what turned out to be the following:
Aloe Citrus Margarita
1 oz tequila
½ oz triple sec
2 oz aloe juice
Juice of ½-1 fresh lime
Coarse sea salt
Image courtesy of Cindy Bekkedam, RD @cindyeatsthat
Calories: 190 per serving 1, 2
1. Cut a wedge of lime and use it to rim around your margarita glass
2. Place sea salt on a plate and roll juice rimmed margarita glass in the salt. Place glass aside as you prepare your drink.
3. In a cocktail mixer, add lots of ice and then all the remaining ingredients. Then shake, shake, shake!
4. Pour your drink into your salt rimmed margarita glass. Add ice to preference and garnish with fresh lime and/or orange slices (optional).
WHAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE?
Remember to keep your alcoholic drinks "FRESH" during this happy-hour season! I also recommend using the 80/20 rule when it comes to alcoholic drinks -- eating mostly healthy, most of the time and allowing for the occasional treat and/or drink, in mindful moderation. A well-balanced meal also helps to diminish the effect of a hangover, if you do happen to over-indulge in alcohol that day.
You may be wondering, "is drinking sabotaging my weight loss goals?" I have the answer here!
Don't forget to join our Craving Healthy Habits online community for more crave-worthy recipes. Besides being a place to share and reflect about your healthy lifestyle journey, we also host contests and challenges to keep you motivated and having fun. We’d love to have you!
1. Canadian Nutrient File. Accessed https://food-nutrition.canada.ca/cnf-fce/serving-portion.do?id=2845 on August 1, 2018.
2. My Fitness Pal. Accessed https://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/holland-barrett-aloe-vera-juice-333897331 on August 1, 2018.