10 Drinks That Are (Almost) Guilt-Free

If you’re anything like me, there is a constant conflict in your head between what your diet should include to be the healthiest, and what you want it to be so that your taste buds are totally satisfied. The few-day streak of going to the gym and eating salad for lunch is quickly washed away with “just this one” cookie, or mindlessly snacking on chips during a late-night study session – not to mention the whirlwind of fried food and binge drinking that is the weekend. Any hope of a healthy, well-balanced week is completely out the door once Friday night rolls along… or Thirsty Thursday… Wine Wednesday… you get the picture.



Many people, including myself, are guilty of “not counting” the weekend (or adult beverages in general) when evaluating his or her diet. But the sad truth is that these drinks are a huge source of sugar, carbs, and empty calories. If you do a simple Google search to find out just how many calories are in your drinks of choice, it seems that there is some wishful thinking and/or embellishing going on. Many articles claim certain drinks have less than 120 calories and still have multiple shots of alcohol in them. Seems pretty fishy to me, given that the average shot of vodka (1.5 fl oz) has at least 97 calories, and the margaritas my friends and I inhaled on Spring Break have a whopping 500 calories at least. Joy! These so-called facts found on random alcohol-promoting websites also fail to disclose exactly what is used to make these super low-cal drinks. Must be magic!

So, I decided to get to the bottom of this dilemma and break everything down one ingredient at a time. Here are ten (truly less than 200 calorie) delicious drink options modified to satisfy your night out and save your waistline:

1. Itty-Bitty Island Coconut Rum & Diet (156 calories)

  1. 2 shots (3 fl oz) Malibu Coconut Rum: 153 calories
  2. 1 cup Diet Coke: 1 calorie
  3. Lime Wedge: 2 calories

Close your eyes and sip on a few of these, and you’ll practically feel as if you’re on the beach for the night! Well, if you’re in Pittsburgh, you’ll need that liquor blanket to kick in first.

2. Slenderized Citrus Vodka Soda (158 calories)

  1. Club Soda: 0 calories
  2. Two shots (3 fl oz) SkinnyGirl Bare Naked Vodka : 150 calories
  3. Orange slice: 8 calories

It may be worth the splurge to purchase a few SkinnyGirl products now and then. If you like to mix with club soda, you are in luck because this bubbly beverage is a great option to cut calories. Zero calories, zero worries!

3. Tiny-Tequila Sunrise (173 calories)

  1. 1 shot (1.5 oz.) Tequila: 69 calories
  2. ½ cup orange juice: 84 calories
  3. Spalsh of grenadine: 20 calories



One tequila, two tequila, three tequila…nope. It’ll take a lot of these to make you hit the floor. This fun drink is a little harder to make diet friendly. Who knew OJ had so many calories?! No worries – you can still get your fix of this delightfully sweet treat. You just have to lower your alcohol content, add only a tiny splash of grenadine, and you are good to go!

4. Gin & Tonic with a Slight Twist (174 calories)

  1. 1 ½ shots (2 oz.) gin: 108
  2. ¾ cup Canada Dry Tonic: 63 calories
  3. Twist of Lime: 3 calories

Tonic is another mixer that is not your friend when it comes to watching what you consume. Though, as long as you don’t go overboard, this crowd favorite still makes the cut at less than 200 calories. Add a twist of lime for fun and flavor, then… bottoms up!

5. Red or White Vino (120-125 calories)

  1. 1 glass (5 oz.) of red or white wine: ~123 calories

Fellow winos, have no fear. This number is pleasantly surprising – except for those nights when you and your friends crush bottles like it’s going out of style. But that’s not important. The important thing is, a glass of wine can still be your friend during your weight-watching days.

6. Make it a spritzer! (98 calories)

  1. 4 oz red or white wine: ~98 calories
  2. 2 oz club soda: 0 calories
  3. Ice Cubes: 0 calories
  4. Garnish with fruit of choice



I never thought less wine could be a good thing…

7. Light Lemon-Lime Vodka Water (153 calories)

  1. 1 ½ shots Smirnoff Vodka: 145 calories
  2. 2 lemon wedges: 4 calories
  3. 2 lime wedges: 4 calories
  4. 1 cup of water: 0 calories

I know mixing with water may seem strange, but it is actually very refreshing. Plus, who can argue with zero calories? Try it out!

8. Bikini-Friendly Beers:

  1. Michelob Ultra: 95 calories
  2. Miller64: 64 calories
  3. Budweiser Select: 55 calories

If I dated a guy whose beer of choice were any of these, I don’t think my dad would be very happy. However, I can’t blame anyone for wanting to cut calories by 20-50% per drink! I know that ordering a beer isn’t always as fun as a neon-colored, special, fruity mixed drink, but it may be smart to switch to an ultra-light beer after you get a few shots in your system – smart for your diet and your wallet!

9. John Daly on a Diet (168 calories)

  1. 1 ½ shots SkinnyGirl Meyer Lemon Vodka: 113 calories
  2. ½ can Nestea Iced Tea: 55 calories

Golfers everywhere will be proud. Maybe SkinnyGirl and the LPGA should partner up…

10. Mini-Mimosa (104 calories)

  1. 4 oz Champagne: 83 calories
  2. Splash of OJ: 21 calories

This one is for brunch lovers everywhere.



Image Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4