With the holidays in full swing, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a cocktail. And with the abundance of local wineries in the Lompoc Valley, there is a surplus of options to choose from. As long as you drink responsibly, there is no harm in sipping on an alcoholic beverage from time to time.

The average American adult takes in 100 calories a day drinking beer, wine or liquor according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. You may want to consider that 100 calories per day from alcohol, or 700 calories a week perhaps in one or two sittings, in addition to normal meals translates to a 10-pound-per-year weight gain.

Clearly not everyone drinks every day, but research indicates that 30 percent of men and 18 percent of women aged 20 or older consume some type of alcoholic beverage on a daily basis. When you factor in seasonal parties the amount of alcohol consumed by individuals begins to drift upward. If you are trying to fight off the holiday heft, you should take time to understand how to account for the calories you drink.

Light beer, a “shot” or 1.5 ounces of liquor and 5 ounces of red or white wine all contain about 100 calories. Regular beer and regular soft drinks contain about 150 calories on average. If you order a mixed drink containing liquor and cola that was poured by a heavy- handed bartender, you could be ingesting as much as 300 calories in just that one cocktail. That’s the same amount of calories in a McDonald’s cheeseburger.

And if you go for a specialty drink like a Long Island Iced Tea or Mai Tai, that can cost you up to 400 calories in an 8-ounce serving. That means in less than two drinks you ingested more than an average week’s worth of alcohol. The calories in cocktails add up quickly — yet another good reason to sip your beverage and stay in control.

An easy way to cut down on drinking your calories is to mix a liquor beverage with club soda or seltzer water. You can also add a fresh lime wedge or splash of fresh lemon juice instead of a sugar-sweetened mixer. In addition, there are various specialty beers that focus on low-calorie or low-carbohydrate drinkers. It may not seem like a lot, but this habit can cut your beer calories in half.

Drinking responsibly includes being informed about just how many calories you are drinking. Even more importantly, drinking responsibly means never getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking.


Enjoy a safe, happy and healthy holiday season!