Drink Indiana: Drinking on a diet

For those of us who added losing weight to the list of things to do this year, counting calories has become our life.

But we often forget that food is not the only thing we consume that has calories.

Diets can take a fatal hit after those crazy Saturday nights at the bar.

According to Webmd.com, the stan­dard 1.5 ounce serving of 80-proof al­cohol has 96 calories before you mix it with anything.

So when you add a 6-ounce serving of orange juice (84 calories) to your shot of vodka for your favorite screwdriver, the calories almost double.

The average glass of wine contains be­tween 125 and 150 calories, depending on the size of the glass and how full it is.

Beer can range from 64 to 198 calo­ries per 12 ounces. Lighter beers are a better choice because they contain the same amount of alcohol as regular beers with fewer carbohydrates, according to Webmd.com.

Some mixers that keep the calories down include diet soda or tonic and light juices like orange, cranberry or lemon juices.

Or you can skip the mixer all togeth­er and just drink your favorite liquors on the rocks. Flavor infused vodkas are great for that.

The easiest thing to do when looking to stick to your diet at the bar is find­ing low calorie alternatives for your favorites.

For example, if you’re big on cosmo­politans, try raspberry vodka with club soda and a splash of cranberry and lime. While a cosmopolitan is 212 calories per serving, the cosmo look-a-like is only 115 calories.

Are you one of those people who adds Bailey’s to their hot chocolate or coffee? Try a hot toddy instead. While hot chocolate and Baileys is 180 calories with 9 grams of fat, a hot toddy has only 113 calories and no fat.

Just pour boiling water or tea over a half-shot of brandy, bourbon or whis­key, a tablespoon of honey and a table­spoon of lemon juice.

There is even a low calorie alternative to the margarita, a girl’s night staple.

The danger with margaritas is the nonstandardized drink size. Some bars serve an 8-ounce size while others serve 12-ounce, fishbowl sized drinks, mak­ing these margaritas range from 168- 504 calories each.

The diet alternative?

Order a shot of tequila over ice with two limes. If that’s too strong, add a splash of soda. This 100-calorie drinks makes it so you will always know how much alcohol you’re getting.

In general when dieting, try to keep your intake of alcohol down because it impacts your inhibitions.

When sober, calories are easy to count. But after you’ve had a few drinks, you can find yourself thoughtlessly stuffing your face with chips, fried food, another slice of pizza or anything within your reach.

Plus, with fewer drinks in your sys­tem, your hangover isn’t as severe in the morning.