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MATTOON -- Many of us worry what this endless stream of munching is doing to our waistlines over the course of the holidays, but what we forget, is that we’re not only eating our calories during this time period, we’re drinking them too.

Every meal (and there are many!) can be preceded by cocktails and wrapped up with aperitifs. It’s no wonder we’re feeling jolly like ol’ Saint Nick himself! So how do we enjoy our holiday libations without going overboard? Kristina Adams Smith, Director of the Medical Weight Management and Wellness programs at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System mentions that the holidays – and the food and drinks that accompany them – are meant to be enjoyed, but the key to smart holiday cocktail prep is having a few good tricks to help minimize the post-holiday bulge.

Check out the 5 tips to cut down on holiday cocktail calories Adams Smith recommends below:

  1. Swap for Soda. No, not full-sugar soda pop. We’re talking soda water – calorie-free, hydrating, and just as bubbly as its calorie-heavy friend, tonic. Try mixing any liquor of choice with soda water for some serious calorie savings in the mixer department (only 90-100 calories per glass).
  2. Downsize Your Stemware. Heard the saying ‘go big or go home,’ let’s not bring that mantra to our holiday stemware. Pouring a glass of wine is fine, but pouring a fishbowl of wine? Not so much! Some of today’s wineglasses are enormous, opening the door to accidentally over-pour wine and therefore calories. A traditional glass of wine should be 5 oz. and 150 calories, but some of the larger glasses can add up to over 300 calories!
  3. Slim Down Your Mixer. Move away from full-calorie mixers. In today’s modern grocery store, you have so many more waist-friendly options. Try to experiment with lower or no calorie alternatives to your classic favorites, like diet soda or light juices, or look for new mixers that tout lower calories with the alcohol already added.
  4. Lighten Up. Even swapping a regular beer for a light one can save you 50 or so calories per beer. Add that up over the course of a few beers and you’ve got quite the savings!
  5. Alternate. Try alternating alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic and calorie-free beverages, like flavored waters with a splash of juice or soda water with a squeeze of lime for further calorie savings.

Put the tips into action with this lower calorie alternative to a traditional Apple Martini Mix. With 140 fewer calories and 33 grams less sugar than a traditional apple martini mix, what’s not to love?

Apple Pie Martini Mix

3/4 cup Trop50 Farmstand Apple Juice

1/8 Tsp. ground ginger

1/8 Tsp. ground cinnamon

1 Tsp. lemon juice

Pour apple and lemon juice into a martini glass. With a spoon, mix in the ginger and cinnamon. Add one ounce vodka or other alcohol of choice. Garnish with a stick of cinnamon or apple slice. One 6 oz. serving equals:(without alcohol): 137 calories, 0g fat, 5mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, 80 percent vitamin C, 8 percent vitamin E.

Call Sarah Bush Lincoln Weight Management Program at 217-238-4774 for more information on staying healthy this holiday.

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