Just because you’re planning to hang out with your friends at your favorite sports bar, doesn’t mean you need to ruin your diet in the process. Alcohol is high in calories—7 calories per gram—which is almost double the amount of calories from a gram of carbohydrate or protein. Before you sit down and look at that drink menu, you should know the calorie counts of your favorite liquors, mixers, wine and beer. This way you can sit and enjoy the game, without worrying about your waistline.
Choosing Light Mixed Drinks
Whether you’re liquor of choice is gin, rum, vodka or whiskey, you’ll get about the same amount of calories per shot. A 1 1/2-ounce shot of any of these liquors that are 80-proof, provide about 100 calories. However, if you order one that’s 100-proof, you’ll get closer to 125 calories from a 1 1/2-ounce shot.
Because liquor can be a little on the high end of calories, you should opt for light mixers, so you don’t have a meal’s worth of calories from one cocktail. For example, 12 ounces of regular juice or soda can have anywhere from 125 to 205 calories, WebMD reports. Top that off with 100 to 125 calories from a shot of liquor and you’ll easily get 225 to 330 calories from one drink.
Instead, opt for diet soda, which has less than 10 calories per 12-ounce portion. Or ask for soda water, a naturally calorie- and additive-free alternative. You can spruce up soda water with a splash of juice, too. This adds on a mere 15 to 20 calories per 1-ounce splash.
Making Wine Lighter
Calories from wine can quickly add up. A 5-ounce glass of red or white wine provides anywhere from 120 to 125 calories, although some varieties have even more. Make your drink lighter by asking for a wine spritzer made with half soda water or diet lemon-lime soda. This way you’ll get only about 60 to 65 calories from a 2 1/2-ounce pour of wine. Plus the addition of soda water or diet lemon-lime soda will help you stay hydrated.
Opting for Lower-Calories Beers
Unlike liquor and wine, you can’t add anything to beer to cut back on calories, so you just have to order a lower-calorie version. A pint of regular beer is 16 ounces and has over 200 calories. Alternatively if you order a light beer, you’ll get less than 140 calories from a pint, or roughly 100 calories from a bottle or can.
Because you should always drink responsibly—and do your best to avoid that next-day hangover—ask providers like Mugshots Burger N’ Brew for a water, soda water or diet soda between each adult beverage. This is especially important if you’re hanging out and watching an entire game for several hours. You won’t have to worry about getting too sloppy or running up a massive tab this way.