If you’re working towards some serious fitness goals and you’re looking to reap the results fast, you need to be aware of exactly what’s going into your body.
The importance of making balanced food choices within your calorie and nutrition targets is pretty widely understood, but it’s so easy to overlook the sneaky liquid calories that can quickly add up and sabotage your progress in the long run.
We’re here to spread the good news that you CAN still make great progress towards your goals while enjoying your favourite alcoholic drinks.
Like all good things, it’s a balancing act (just not the kind where you’re double parked with 2 glasses of vino).
Keep scrolling for our tips on how to drink smarter, hang-up on a hangover, and save your calories on a night out.
The 4th macro
Many people confuse low or no carb drinks with having no calories, but unfortunately that is not the case.
Although it might look like water and doesn’t contain any carbs, protein or fat, vodka still has calories. A standard 30ml shot of vodka contains 62 calories.
Did you know that the molecule of alcohol contains calories? Alcohol provides almost twice as much energy per gram as protein or carbs.
Let’s refresh your macro knowledge:
- 1g carb contains 4 Calories
- 1g protein contains 4 Calories
- 1g fat contains 9 Calories
- 1g alcohol contains 7 Calories
Tips to cut down your liquid calories
1. Spritz it up
Replace half your glass of white wine with soda water to make it a spritzer. Halving the wine will half the calories, plus will also make your drink last longer and provide additional hydration to prevent a hangover!
A standard 100ml glass of dry white wine = 74 calories
50ml white wine + 50ml soda water = 37 calories
Calories saved per drink: 37
2. Make a lighter choice
To cut down on cals, switch to a low carb variety of your favourite beer or cider, and choose zero sugar soft drink options for your mixers.
Corona Extra = 148 calories / 14.2g carbs
Corona Light = 99 calories / 4.8g carbs
Calories saved per drink: 49
Regular Coke and Vodka = 167 calories
Diet Coke and Vodka = 62 calories
Calories saved per drink: 105
3. Watch your pour
A standard glass of wine is 100mls, but if you’re eyeballing your pour, it’s pretty easy for one drink to turn into a double serving without knowing it. An average glass at a restaurant will often be 150ml, so this is something to be mindful of if you’re trying to watch your intake.
Regular 100ml glass of red wine = 77 calories
Generous pour of red wine = 154 calories
Calories saved per drink: 77
4. Sip smart
Cocktails can pack significantly more calories than your standard mixed drinks, so you might want to do a menu scan to check how your drink measures up.
The calories of just 1 Pina Colada (580 kcal) is more than 9 Vodka Sodas (558 kcal)!
5. Plan your drinks
It’s easy to lose track of how many drinks you’ve had when you’re having fun and saying yes to round after round. To stay on track, set yourself a plan of how many drinks you want to have, and space them out throughout the night. A glass of water in between each drink will help keep you hydrated and your future self will be thanking you in the morning when you wake up fresh.
The sneaky calories
It’s also important to consider the gateway calories you might be consuming on top of your drinks on a night out. When your inhibition is lowered by alcohol, you’re a lot more likely to mindlessly graze on the platter at the party, say yes to the late night takeout order on the way home, or reach for a greasy hangover meal the next morning.
We’re not going to be a party-pooper and say no to your cheeseburger hankering at the end of the night, but if you’re taking part in a Challenge or working towards some serious goals, following through on these cravings each time you have a night-out can seriously set-back your progress.
Hang up that hangover
While the ultimate hangover cure is yet to be discovered, the best thing to do is to prevent a hangover.
To set yourself up for success, we recommend that you plan ahead and check out the menu options beforehand, or have a meal before you go-out.
The best food to have before drinking is a well-rounded meal with adequate protein, carbs and healthy fats to slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. We also recommend stocking your kitchen with some nutritious whole food that will actually freshen you up the next day.
If you are suffering the consequences of a hangover in the morning, greasy and fatty foods will only worsen an upset stomach, so it’s best to skip on the double-bacon burger.
Alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body, which means it causes you to excrete more water through urine. To prevent dehydration, don’t forget to drink lots of water throughout the night and the next day, and even opt for a sports-drink with electrolytes to help rehydrate.
A workout might be the last thing you want to do after a big night, but never underestimate the power of a solid sweat session and endorphin boost!
So there’s the lowdown on liquid calories. Please enjoy your alcoholic beverages responsibly and remember that you can still enjoy a night out without severely hindering your progress.
We’ll cheers to that!