When you’re working towards a health goal, it can be easy to feel like your social life becomes limited.
The pressure to watch your intake to see results can make you feel like you have to write off social situations completely. And while eating and drinking can clock up the calories quickly, health is also about happiness and well being — so we’re all about a night out every once in a while.
To stay on track, being smart about what you drink is key. And while alcohol is generally calorie-dense, some options are better than others.
Here, we’ll break down some of the most popular drinks from low-calorie to high.
Knowing before you sip is key, and with this information in your back pocket, you will be able to stick to your goals while throwing back a few.
— Spirits: Your best bet for finding a low-calorie option. However, be careful to avoid high-calorie mixers like soda and juice. The lowest calorie option of all spirits is brandy, which clocks in at 50 calories per shot. After that follows vodka at 52 calories per shot, and then rum and gin with 53, according to You Magazine.
— Wines: While many people might think of wine as a “healthier option”, the calories can add up quickly. My Food Data has compiled a ranking of lowest to highest calorie options, so make sure you stick with the following on a night out. Carignane, a medium-bodied red wine clocks in at 109 calories per glass. Another good red option is Gamay, containing 115 per glass. If you prefer white, Chenin Blanc and Riesling are both good picks at 118 calories per glass.
— Beer: Sometimes you just want a cold beer, and don’t worry, there are still a few options for you to choose from. Skinny Lager is a popular brand that you can buy at Dan Murphys which contains 89 calories per bottle. Pure Blonde Ultra Low Carb Lager is another good option with 92 calories per bottle. If you prefer an ale, Coopers Pale Ale is a good bet at 131, while Stone & Wood Pacific Ale comes in just behind with 132.
— Spirits: When drinking spirits, it’s just as important to keep in mind which choices should be avoided; with small serving sizes, the calories can add up quickly. At 95 calories per shot, Schnapps is best avoided either on its own or in a cocktail. Bacardi 151 is also high-calorie coming in at 185 per shot. Due to the high alcohol content, navy strength gin is also quite calorie-dense, ringing in at about 123 per shot.
— Wines: Just as there are low-calorie options, there are also those best avoided while on a diet. It seems obvious, but dessert wines are the worst perpetrators at 236 per glass for a sweet one or 224 for a dry one. Going from there, the caloric content decreases drastically for other options. Among the highest- calorie, however, are Zinfandel and Mourvedre (129), Burgundy (127), and Sangiovese and Rose (126). While there’s a small difference between low and high-calorie wines, it can add up over the course of the night, so it’s good to keep in mind.
— Beer: While beer can be a good option if yu stick to lighter ones, high-calorie beers can make quite a dent in your daily calorie count. Coming in at the highest is Samuel Adams Boston Lager at 180 calories. Next highest is Guinness Extra Stout which contains 176 calories per bottle. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is just behind with 175 calories per bottle.