When dining out, we often find ourselves indulging in high-calorie drinks that not only compromise our health goals but also ruin our dining experience. Have you ever wondered how to cut back on calories without having to compromise on taste or pleasure? The good news is that there are plenty of non-alcoholic drink alternatives available that are just as refreshing and flavorful. In this article, we will explore the reasons why you should avoid alcoholic drinks when eating out, introduce you to some of the best non-alcoholic drink alternatives, and provide you with some simple tips on how to make smart drink choices that align with your health goals. So, buckle up and let’s dive in!
Why Avoid Alcoholic Drinks
As much as we enjoy a good drink, it’s important to consider the impact that alcoholic beverages can have on our health and wellbeing. There are many reasons why abstaining from alcohol can be a wise choice, from the empty calories and sugar content of alcoholic drinks to the way they can stimulate our appetite and interfere with weight loss goals. Let’s take a closer look at these issues and why we may want to consider non-alcoholic drink alternatives when dining out.
Empty Calories and Sugar
When it comes to consuming alcoholic drinks, one major concern is the amount of empty calories and sugar they contain. Many alcoholic drinks tend to be packed with calories and sugar, which can easily and quickly add to your daily calorie intake. For instance, a margarita can contain up to 300-500 calories, which is a significant number of calories for just one drink.
Alcoholic drinks often come with mixers, such as sodas, fruit juices, and syrups, which are high in sugar. These mixers make the drinks even more calorie-dense and contribute to the development of health issues like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
To put it into perspective, 12 ounces of cola contains around 140 calories and a whopping 39 grams of sugar. Similarly, a 12-ounce glass of orange juice contains about 165 calories and 33 grams of sugar. On the other hand, a 12-ounce can of regular beer contains around 154-198 calories.
When dining out, it can be easy to consume a lot of these empty calories without realizing it. It’s important to be mindful of your drink choices and opt for non-alcoholic alternatives that contain fewer calories and less sugar.
Alcoholic drinks are known to increase appetite, leading people to consume more food than they actually need. This happens because alcohol is an appetite stimulant that makes people crave for high calorie and unhealthy foods. It impairs the judgement and decision-making abilities, making it harder for individuals to resist the temptation of indulging in junk food.
What happens when you have a high-calorie alcoholic drink?
A single margarita or pina colada can have as many calories as a small meal, with added sugars and simple carbohydrates. Consuming such drinks leads to increased blood sugar and insulin levels, which are then followed by a drop, causing hunger and sugar cravings.
Alcohol affects the hormonal balance of the body, increasing levels of ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, and decreasing leptin, which signals satiety. This combination results in continuous hunger pangs and food cravings, leading to overeating, and causing a negative impact on the body.
To avoid this increased appetite and potential overeating, it is best to opt for non-alcoholic drink alternatives that do not contain added sugars and extra calories. Here are some great options to consider:
|Non-Alcoholic Drink Alternatives||Benefits|
|Iced Tea with Lemon||A refreshing low-calorie option that can be enjoyed unsweetened or with a natural sweetener like honey.|
|Fruit Infused Water||A tasty and hydrating option that can be made by infusing water with fruits like berries, citrus, or cucumbers.|
|Soda Water with Fresh Lime or Mint||A carbonated option with added flavor that is low in calories and sugar.|
|Non-Alcoholic Beer or Wine||A great substitute for those who want to enjoy the taste and experience of drinking alcohol without compromising their health goals.|
|Low-Calorie Mocktails||A variety of non-alcoholic cocktails made with low or zero-calorie mixers and natural flavors, giving the feel of the real thing.|
By making smart drink choices and opting for these non-alcoholic alternatives, you can enjoy your meals while staying true to your fitness and health goals.
Interferes with Weight Loss Goals
Alcoholic drinks can have a significant impact on weight loss goals. It can be easy to underestimate the number of calories consumed while drinking, but it’s important to remember that alcohol can be high in both empty calories and sugar.
According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, alcohol consumption was found to be associated with increased daily calorie intake, which can lead to weight gain over time. Alcohol consumption can interfere with the body’s ability to burn fat, which can make it more difficult to lose weight.
To illustrate the impact of alcohol on weight loss goals, let’s take a look at a comparison between a popular beer and non-alcoholic drink option:
|Regular Beer (12 oz)||153||0|
|Iced Tea with Lemon (12 oz)||6||0|
As you can see, the regular beer contains over 25 times more calories than the iced tea with lemon, which can add up quickly over the course of a night out. Additionally, the beer contains no nutritional value, while the tea can provide some hydration and antioxidants.
While it’s certainly possible to enjoy alcohol in moderation while still meeting weight loss goals, it’s important to be conscious of the impact it can have and make informed decisions about what and how much to drink.
Non-Alcoholic Drink Alternatives
If you’re looking to cut back on your calorie intake while dining out, opting for non-alcoholic drink alternatives can be a great way to do so. But with so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of refreshing and satisfying drink choices that won’t compromise your healthy eating goals. From infused waters to low-calorie mocktails, discover some tasty options to quench your thirst without hindering your progress.
Iced Tea with Lemon
One refreshing and healthy non-alcoholic drink alternative to consider when dining out is iced tea with lemon. This classic drink is a great way to beat the heat and hydrate while avoiding the empty calories and added sugars of alcoholic beverages.
To prepare this drink, choose unsweetened tea and ask the server for a slice of lemon on the side. Adding lemon to the iced tea will bring a burst of flavor and can also help to aid digestion. Lemons are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, making this drink even more beneficial for your health.
Benefits of Iced Tea with Lemon:
- Low in calories: Unsweetened tea contains little to no calories and is an excellent alternative to high-calorie and sugary drinks like beer, wine, or cocktails.
- Hydrating: Drinking iced tea with lemon keeps you hydrated and helps replenish the fluids lost through sweating, especially during hot weather conditions.
- Antioxidants: Tea contains antioxidants, which can help lower the risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, while lemons also contain flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and immune-boosting properties.
- Eases digestion: The citric acid present in lemons stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, which can help ease the digestion process and reduce bloating, gas and constipation.
However, when ordering iced tea with lemon, it’s important to clarify with the server that no sugar or sweeteners are added, as these can turn a healthy drink into a calorie bomb. Also, keep in mind that some restaurants may offer sweetened or flavored iced tea, which should be avoided as it may contain a high amount of added sugar.
So, next time you’re dining out, consider opting for iced tea with lemon as a healthy and flavorful alternative to alcoholic drinks. Your body will thank you for making a smart choice!
Fruit Infused Water
One delicious and refreshing option for those looking to save calories when dining out is fruit infused water. This is an excellent way to add flavor to your drink without adding any additional calories or sugars. Here are some ideas for fruit infused water:
- Citrus: Add slices of lemon, lime, or orange to your water for a burst of citrus flavor. Citrus fruits are also rich in Vitamin C, which can be a great way to boost your immune system.
- Berries: Try adding a handful of strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries to your water for a touch of sweetness. Berries are packed with antioxidants and other essential vitamins and minerals.
- Cucumber & Mint: Cucumber and fresh mint leaves make for a refreshing and cooling combination. This is a perfect drink option for a hot summer’s day.
- Watermelon & Basil: This sweet and savory combination is perfect for those who want to satisfy any sweet cravings without consuming any extra calories. Watermelon is also high in Vitamin A and C, helping to keep you healthy.
- Pineapple & Ginger: Pineapple is a terrific option for those who love a tropical taste, and adding ginger will give your water a subtle spice. Ginger is also well known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Fruit infused water is an excellent option to have when dining out as it is a natural, refreshing, and hydrating beverage that can quench thirst without piling on extra calories. The options are endless when it comes to creating your favorite fruit-infused-water. Just be sure to choose fresh and in-season fruit options for the best flavor.
Soda Water with Fresh Lime or Mint
One refreshing alternative to alcoholic beverages is soda water with fresh lime or mint. This simple yet delicious drink is a great way to quench your thirst without consuming too many calories or any added sugars.
To make this drink, all you need is a glass of carbonated soda water and a few slices of fresh lime or a few sprigs of fresh mint. Simply add the lime or mint to the soda water, and enjoy!
Not only does this drink taste great, but it also has several health benefits. Carbonated water can help with digestion and may even reduce constipation. Fresh lime not only gives the drink a zesty flavor, but it also contains vitamin C, which is important for maintaining a healthy immune system. Meanwhile, fresh mint can help with digestion and may even have anti-inflammatory properties.
So the next time you’re dining out and looking for a healthier alternative to alcoholic beverages, consider trying soda water with fresh lime or mint. It’s a refreshing and tasty drink option that won’t derail your healthy eating goals.
Below is a table summarizing the benefits of soda water with fresh lime or mint:
|Benefits of Soda Water with Fresh Lime or Mint|
|Low in calories and sugar|
|May aid in digestion|
|May have anti-inflammatory properties|
|Contains vitamin C|
Non-Alcoholic Beer or Wine
Another healthy and refreshing option for those who want to avoid alcoholic drinks while dining out is non-alcoholic beer or wine. These drinks have the same taste as their alcoholic counterparts, but without the harmful effects of alcohol.
Here are some of the benefits of opting for non-alcoholic beer or wine:
- Low in calories: Non-alcoholic beers and wines are a great low-calorie alternative to alcoholic drinks. They have a fraction of the calories found in traditional beers and wines, making them a great choice for people watching their weight.
- Good for hydration: Non-alcoholic beers and wines can be a good source of hydration since they contain water and electrolytes. They may also help replace the fluids lost during exercise or physical activity.
- No hangover: One of the biggest benefits of non-alcoholic beer or wine is that you can enjoy the taste of beer or wine without worrying about getting a hangover. This is especially great for those who want to enjoy their night out without worrying about feeling sick the next day.
When choosing non-alcoholic beers or wines, it is important to check the label and choose a brand that doesn’t contain high amounts of sugar or other sweeteners. Some brands may contain artificial sweeteners, which can be harmful to your health in large amounts.
Non-alcoholic beer or wine can be a great option for those who want to enjoy a refreshing drink while also sticking to their health goals. By choosing a low-calorie option without the harmful effects of alcohol, you can still enjoy the taste of beer or wine without the negative consequences.
When dining out, it can be easy to fall into the habit of ordering alcoholic drinks without thinking about the impact they may have on your health and weight loss goals. But, there are plenty of tasty and satisfying alternatives that can help you save calories and feel great. One option for those who still want the taste and experience of a cocktail without the alcohol content is to choose a low-calorie mocktail.
A mocktail is a non-alcoholic drink that is usually made with a combination of juices, sodas, and other non-alcoholic ingredients. These drinks can be just as flavorful as cocktails, but without the added calories and sugar content that come with alcohol.
To give you an idea of the possibilities when it comes to low-calorie mocktails, here are some popular options:
|Mocktail||Ingredients||Calories per serving|
|Virgin Mary||Tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, lemon juice, celery, black pepper||50|
|Mojito Mocktail||Lime juice, simple syrup, club soda, mint leaves||60|
|Pina Colada Mocktail||Pineapple juice, coconut milk, ice||85|
|Sparkling Peach Mocktail||Peach nectar, sparkling water, lime juice, mint leaves||40|
As you can see, there are plenty of delicious and low-calorie mocktails to choose from. When making your selection, be sure to take a look at the ingredient list and nutrition facts in order to make the best choice for your health and weight loss goals.
Remember, your drink choices can have a big impact on your overall calorie intake, so don’t underestimate the power of opting for a healthier alternative when dining out.
Tips on Making Smart Drink Choices
When dining out, making the right drink choices can be just as important as choosing what to eat. It’s easy to overlook the calories and sugar content of our drinks, but they can quickly add up and derail our weight loss goals. That’s why it’s important to make smart drink choices by being mindful of what we’re consuming. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some tips for making healthier drink choices. So, let’s dive in and learn how to stay on track while still enjoying a delicious beverage.
Read Drink Labels
When it comes to making smart drink choices while dining out, one important tip to keep in mind is to read drink labels. Many restaurants provide nutritional information for their drinks, allowing you to make informed decisions about what you consume. Here are some things to look out for:
|Thing to look out for||Explanation|
|Calorie count||Keep an eye on the calorie count to ensure that you do not consume too many calories. Choose drinks that are low in calories to help offset the calories you consume from your meal.|
|Sugar content||Sugary drinks can be a hidden source of calories, and can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. Try to opt for drinks that are low in sugar, or even better, are sugar-free.|
|Alcohol content||If you choose to indulge in an alcoholic drink, be sure to check the alcohol content. Higher alcohol content means higher calories, so opt for drinks with lower alcohol levels or mixers that are low in calories such as soda water or diet soda.|
|Artificial sweeteners||While artificial sweeteners can be low in calories, some studies suggest that they may not be the healthiest option. If you choose a drink with artificial sweeteners, enjoy it in moderation.|
By reading drink labels, you can make informed decisions about what to consume and stay on track with your weight loss goals. It may take a little extra effort, but the benefits are well worth it.
Avoid Sugary Drinks
When choosing non-alcoholic drinks at restaurants, it’s important to be mindful of the sugar content. Sugary drinks can quickly add up in calories and may sabotage any efforts to achieve weight loss goals. Here are some tips to help avoid sugary drinks:
- Choose water – Water is the best option when it comes to staying hydrated without consuming any additional calories. Some restaurants may offer sparkling or flavored water as well.
- Avoid soda – Soda is high in sugar and can add several hundred calories to your meal. Opt for a healthier alternative such as soda water with fresh lime or mint.
- Pass on the fruit juice – While fruit juice may seem like a healthy option, it’s often packed with added sugars. Choose whole fruits instead, or try a fruit-infused water for a refreshing and healthier drink option.
- Be wary of energy drinks – Energy drinks can be high in sugar and caffeine, and should be avoided as much as possible. Their calorie content can be surprising, so it’s best to check the label before deciding to drink one.
By avoiding sugary drinks and opting for healthier alternatives, you can still enjoy a refreshing drink while keeping your calorie intake in check.
Opt for Low-Calorie Options
When dining out, it’s important to be conscious of the calorie content of the drinks you consume. Opting for low-calorie options is a great way to save calories while still enjoying a refreshing beverage. Below are some examples of low-calorie drink options and their calorie content.
|Soda water with fresh lemon or lime||5|
|Iced tea with lemon||10|
|Fruit infused water||10|
|Non-alcoholic beer or wine||30-60|
Choosing a low-calorie drink option can significantly reduce your overall calorie intake for the meal. Additionally, many low-calorie options listed above also provide health benefits, such as increased hydration and nutrients from fruit infused water. By making smart choices when it comes to beverage options, you can still enjoy dining out without compromising your health goals.
Drink Plenty of Water
One crucial tip for making smart drink choices when dining out is to drink plenty of water. Not only does water keep you hydrated, but it also can help control your appetite and prevent overeating. Additionally, drinking water instead of high-calorie beverages can help you reduce your overall calorie intake and support healthy weight management.
Benefits of Drinking Water
Drinking water has numerous benefits for your body, including:
|Hydration||Water is essential for keeping your body hydrated, especially during physical activity or hot weather.|
|Appetite Control||Drinking water before or during meals can help you feel fuller and reduce your overall food intake.|
|Calorie-Free||Water has zero calories, making it an ideal drink choice if you are trying to lose or maintain weight.|
|Nutrient Absorption||Water helps your body absorb important nutrients from food, such as vitamins and minerals.|
|Regulates Body Temperature||Water helps regulate your body temperature and prevent dehydration or overheating.|
How Much Water Should You Drink?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the amount of water you need can vary based on factors such as your age, gender, activity level, and climate. However, a good general guideline is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
If you are dining out, make sure to drink a glass of water before your meal arrives, and consider drinking water throughout your meal as well. Not only will this help control your appetite, but it will also help you stay hydrated and prevent overindulging in calorie-dense drinks like alcohol or soda.
Drinking plenty of water is an easy and effective way to make smarter drink choices when eating out. Not only is water calorie-free, but it also has numerous benefits for your body, including hydration, appetite control, and nutrient absorption. By prioritizing water over sugary or high-calorie drinks, you can support your overall health and weight management goals.
In conclusion, it’s important to make conscious decisions about the beverages we consume when dining out. Choosing non-alcoholic drink alternatives can have a significant impact on our health, weight management goals, and overall well-being. By avoiding sugary, calorie-laden drinks, we can save ourselves hundreds of unnecessary calories and avoid the negative effects of alcohol on our bodies.
Instead, we can opt for refreshing options such as iced tea with a squeeze of fresh lemon, fruit-infused water, or soda water with mint or lime. Non-alcoholic beer or wine can also be a good alternative for those who still crave the taste of their favorite alcoholic beverages. It’s also a good idea to be mindful of our drink choices by reading labels and opting for low-calorie options.
By making smart drink choices and drinking plenty of water, we can not only save calories but also support our overall health and wellness. So next time you’re dining out, consider trying one of these non-alcoholic alternatives and see for yourself how good it can feel to make a healthy choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are empty calories?
Empty calories are calories that come from foods and drinks that contain little or no nutritional value. Alcohol is an example of a source of empty calories, as it provides no vitamins, minerals, or other essential nutrients.
How many calories are in a typical alcoholic drink?
The number of calories in a typical alcoholic drink can vary widely, depending on the type of alcohol, the size of the drink, and any mixers or other ingredients added. On average, however, a standard 12-ounce beer contains about 150 calories, a 5-ounce glass of wine contains about 120 calories, and a 1.5-ounce shot of distilled spirits (such as vodka or whiskey) contains about 100 calories.
What are some health benefits of drinking non-alcoholic drinks?
Drinking non-alcoholic drinks can help you stay hydrated, which is important for overall health, and can also provide essential vitamins and minerals. Some non-alcoholic drinks, such as tea and water infused with fruit, may also have additional health benefits like antioxidant properties.
What are the best non-alcoholic drinks to order when dining out?
Some good options for non-alcoholic drinks when dining out include iced tea with lemon, fruit-infused water, soda water with fresh lime or mint, non-alcoholic beer or wine, and low-calorie mocktails. These drinks are generally low in calories and don’t contain added sugars or other unhealthy ingredients.
Are there any health risks associated with drinking too much alcohol?
Yes, drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of a range of health problems, including liver disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and certain types of cancer. It can also lead to weight gain and contribute to the development of diabetes and other chronic diseases.
How can I make sure I’m making smart drink choices when dining out?
To make smart drink choices when dining out, you should read drink labels carefully, avoid sugary drinks, opt for low-calorie options, and make sure to drink plenty of water. You can also ask your server for recommendations and be mindful of portion sizes.
Are there any non-alcoholic drinks that are high in calories?
Some non-alcoholic drinks, such as soda and sweetened iced tea, can be high in calories and sugar. It’s important to check the nutrition information and ingredient list before ordering a non-alcoholic drink to make sure it fits into your overall dietary goals.
Can non-alcoholic drinks be just as flavorful as alcoholic drinks?
Absolutely! There are many non-alcoholic drinks that are just as flavorful—and sometimes even more so—than alcoholic drinks. Fruit-infused water, for example, can be a delicious and refreshing alternative to sugary sodas or cocktails.
Does drinking non-alcoholic drinks help with weight loss?
Drinking non-alcoholic drinks can be a great way to help with weight loss, as many non-alcoholic drinks are low in calories and don’t contain the added sugars and other unhealthy ingredients found in many alcoholic drinks. However, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes and to make sure you’re still staying within your overall calorie and nutrient goals.
What are some low-calorie mocktail options?
Some low-calorie mocktail options include a Virgin Margarita (made with lime juice, soda water, and agave syrup), a Mojito Mocktail (made with soda water, fresh mint leaves, and lime juice), and a Sparkling Peach Cooler (made with peach nectar, soda water, and a splash of lemon juice).