There are so many fun things about summer-like days that are longer and warmer: lounging at the beach or pool; dressing in sundresses and flip-flops; taking a vacation; and enjoying general laid-back vibes.
And there’s more: the food and drinks of summer. Face it, unless you live in a warm climate all year long, you’re not getting to use your grill as often or feast on fresh, yummy fruits and veggies like peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines, apricots, tomatoes, melon and so many others that are plentiful once the temps warm up.
Summer is a celebration for so many of us, and the lazy days (and nights) of summer often turn into boozy days (and nights). The proof is in the numbers: A 2017 Alcohol Consumption Report released by BACtrack, a brand of mobile breathalyzers, found June, July and August to be especially active among the drinking set. No surprise there.
If you’re into those fruity, frosty summer cocktails but don’t want to blow your beach bod, read on. There are slimming sips, and there are diet disaster drinks. Here’s how to tell the difference so you can keep those calories in check.
Martinis. You may think they’re low-cal since they don’t contain any mixers. But if your martini pick includes a flavored vodka, those three shots can be equal in calories to a candy bar. A better bet: a shot of vodka mixed with fresh juice. It may not have the same sweetness, but it’s fruity and refreshing and will save a bunch of calories (and remorse!).
Daiquiris. They’re fun, fruity and especially good frozen. But beware: If you’re a fan of the frozen strawberry daiquiris, for instance, you should know that the strawberry schnapps, rum, lime juice, sugar and strawberries can all add up to over 200 calories or more if you’re using a mix. Here’s a skinny version from Allrecipes.
Mint julep. It may be the classic signature drink of the Kentucky Derby, but once you know that one drink can top 400 calories, you might choose to ride that one out. Bourbon and mint and sugar syrup packs a mighty (calorie) punch. Daily Burn offers up a horse of another color with its healthy recipe.
Mojito. This traditional and refreshing Cuban highball packs rum, sugar, lime juice and soda water into a glass adorned with mint. But it also packs a lot of calories—not only because of the sugar, but the rum, which has more calories than other liquors. Take a look at how WebMD slashes the calories with its watermelon version.
Long Island iced tea. It’s the kitchen sink drink of drinks, filled with a sampling of just about every type of spirit, along with cola or sour mix. Eat This Not That! suggests this slimmed-down version instead: A shot of tea-flavored vodka mixed with four ounces of unsweetened iced tea, one ounce of simple syrup and two muddled lemon wedges.
Pina colada. Yes, it’s mighty yummy … but. This tropical drink created in San Juan Puerto Rico in the 1950s using rum, pineapple juice and cream of coconut will set you back more than 600 calories. Williams Sonoma offers this version, filled with flavor sans the guilt (feel free to top it with a no-calorie paper umbrella!).
Margarita. This frozen concoction containing tequila and more that helps Jimmy Buffet hang on (“That frozen concoction that helps me hang on.…”) will hang onto your gut to the tune of 850 calories. Shape Magazine has a better way to keep your shape with its lower-calorie version.
Mudslide. Basically a boozy milkshake, the vodka, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua liqueur and vanilla ice cream create a doozy of a drink in terms of calories and fat grams. Hungry Girl figures out how to make it lighter while keeping your figure.
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