Be wary of festive drinks packed with calories this holiday season

December 28, 2011 3:41:09 PM PST
It can be fun to celebrate the holidays with a festive beverage. But if you don't watch those liquid calories, you can pack on the pounds.

Everyone likes a good New Year's Eve party, but before you go overboard, we've got a few tips that will help you keep the weight loss resolution even before you officially make it.

Champagne! Cocktails! Coffee drinks with whipped cream! They're part of many a holiday celebration. But Consumer Reports ShopSmart says you need to watch those liquid calories.

"Having just a couple of holiday drinks can be the calorie equivalent of an entire meal," said Lisa Lee Freeman with Consumer Reports ShopSmart.

Take this Bailey's Irish Cream -- it has more than 300 calories and 13 grams of fat. This hot buttered rum has close to 400 calories and almost 30 grams of sugars. And Starbucks' Venti Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha has 700 calories, 27 grams of fat, and 95 grams of sugars.

"If you just have to have one of those sweet holiday coffee drinks, just skip the whipped cream and the whole milk. That'll save you 100 calories or more, not to mention all the fat and sugars," said Freeman.

A good choice is a Starbucks Grande Skinny Peppermint Mocha, since it has just 140 calories and very little fat.

And watch the alcohol because the calories can really add up.

"Another way to cut back is simply to skip the creamy drinks and drinks with those sweet, syrupy mixers. And another trick is simply to add seltzer water or club soda," Freeman said.

This wine spritzer and this martini on the rocks both have zero grams of fat and less than 150 calories. Eggnog is a holiday tradition that can also be a real diet buster. A smart swap is Silk nog. That way you can celebrate with less than half the fat.

Other advice for keeping liquid calories under control is to resist refilling your glass before it's empty. That's a surefire way to lose track of how much you are drinking.

In addition, drinking a glass of water after any cocktail you have will keep you hydrated and help prevent over-consumption of both calories and alcohol.

And, as always, if you are planning on drinking, be sure to have a designated driver.

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