8 Better-For-You Alcoholic Beverages To Sip
If you’re someone who drinks alcohol, you know it can be a nice addition to a meal, a party, or a night out with friends. But, you may also know some of your favorite drinks come with a lot of empty calories, carbs, and sugar.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up our top eight picks for health-conscious drinks. With beer, liquor, and wine options for whatever you may fancy, it’s completely possible to drink mindfully and in a healthy way.
Liquor tends to be the safest bet as far as calorie count, especially the clear ones. When enjoyed neat or on the rocks, you avoid extra calories from mixers—and the dreaded sugar hangover. For a healthy cocktail, add soda or tonic, a little lemon or lime, and you’re golden.
- Tequila is our first choice, as it’s low calorie (just 64 per shot), and has been found to help balance blood sugar. That’s because a naturally occurring sugar found in agave plants isn’t digestible, and can act as a dietary fiber, helping to mitigate blood sugar spikes.
- Gin is another good low-cal option that’s already traditionally mixed with tonic and a bit of lime. It has a slightly higher caloric count than tequila at roughly 73 cals per shot, but that’s nothing considering some beers clock in at almost 200.
- Vodka is our third liquor choice. It’s got about 64 calories per shot, and has been found to increase blood flow by widening arteries, which can help prevent against heart disease. (Not saying you should drink vodka as a preventative measure, but if heart health is on your radar, vodka is a better option than some others.)
It’s generally accepted that a glass of wine is a healthy option when reaching for a drink, given so many wines contain antioxidants. Drank in moderation, wines are great for complementing meals. (Both as a beverage and in cooking!)
- Pinot Noir is our top wine choice as far as healthy options go. It may not be as low-cal as some other wines, but the added benefit of antioxidants like polyphenols and resveratrol make it a heart healthy choice in moderation.
- Champagne is often brought out only on special occasions, but with only 96 calories and 1.5 net carbs per glass, it made it onto our list. And it has a similar effect on arteries as vodka, helping to increase blood flow, giving us one more reason to consider champagne outside special occasions.
- And if you’re a fan of rosés, you’re in luck. These wines have less antioxidants than reds but still more than whites, and they’re only about 82 calories per glass, making them our third and final wine choice.
Beer has a bit of a bad rep in the well-being community, given its higher carb content and the prevalence of gluten in many varieties. But fear not, beer fans, you’ve got options too.
- You probably saw light beer coming on this list, but with so many brands offering beers that are 100 calories or less, it really is a good option for healthy(ish) beer. And as an added bonus, beer can actually help boost good cholesterol. Just be mindful not to overdo it, as the lower alcohol content may encourage some to drink more than they anticipated.
- Guinness may be a surprise to see, given its dark color and thicker consistency. But would you believe a 12 ounce glass is only 125 calories? That’s not much higher than most light beer. Plus, it’s got antioxidants, and some studies suggest beer can actually help increase bone density. So there you have it—you can have your beer and drink it too.
In the end, it all comes down to balance and moderation. Of course you can enjoy your favorite cocktail once in a while, but for go-to options when you need ‘em, these eight drinks are always there. For more healthy-drinking advice, check out where to find the best wines, and a nutritionist's guide to healthy drinking.
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Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.