Skip to content

Toast the New Year with reduced-calorie beverages

Published by Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD on Dec 30, 2015

Sangrias – always seasonal and always sensational!   Pictured are two Sangria recipes I tried out over the weekend – my volunteer taste testers (it took a lot of arm-twisting) preferred the taste of the Blushing Sangria (on the left) but loved the festive look of the Cranberry Apple White or Rose Sangria with Rosemary (on the right).  These would make perfect, festive beverages to serve New Year’s Eve without excess calories.  Drink responsibly, enjoy and cheers to 2016!

New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and everyone loves to bring in the New Year with a traditional toast. At the end of this year, tip your glass to choosing an alcoholic beverage that is still tasty yet not loaded with excess calories. Here are three ways keeping the festivities focused on drinking responsibly and slimmed-down beverages:

1. Drink in moderation

Yes, it is the New Year but start it off right remembering to drink responsibly by following guidelines of moderation for alcohol – no more than one drink a day for a woman and no more than two drinks a day for a man. Besides, you won’t have to deal with a hangover the next day.

2. Calories in alcohol add up

Alcohol has 7 calories per gram just a little bit less than what fat provides at 9 calories per gram. Depending on your beverage of choice, you can be consuming a lot more calories than you realize. Some of the worst offenders where calories add up quickly include Pina Coladas, hot buttered rum, Irish crème liqueur, alcoholic eggnog, martinis, and margaritas. Choose instead lower calorie alcoholic beverages allowing you to still celebrate yet without a calorie surplus. Consider champagne or having a fruit based sangria using club soda or seltzer water to cut back on calories.

3. Mix beverages with low-calories options

There are several ways to mix an alcoholic beverage to your advantage when watching your waistline. Some suggestions include mixing wine with club soda making it more like a wine spritzer or using diet soda instead of regular soda as a mixer. It’s worth the effort to save on unnecessary calories. Sangrias are refreshing, festive beverages – their lighter taste is perfect to take that celebratory sip ringing in the New Year in style. Listed below are two sangria recipes everyone will enjoy. Both contain fruit used as garnishes along with 100% fruit juices to provide a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals. The wines used in each amp up your intake of antioxidants which are always a welcome ingredient. Drink responsibly, enjoy and cheers to 2016!

Blushing Sangria – serves 8

1 bottle of red wine

¾ cup 100% orange juice

¼ cup mango liqueur

Fresh fruit slices – oranges, red or green apple, pear cut into cubes – use how much and whichever you want

Cinnamon stick

Cranberry seltzer or Ocean Spray sparkling cranberry

1. In a glass pitcher, combine 1 bottle of red wine, orange juice, mango liqueur, fruit cubes and cinnamon stick.

2. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

3. Fill about ½ of a wine glass with red wine contents, add in some fruit for a garnish and top it off with the cranberry seltzer or sparkling cranberry.

Cranberry Apple White or Rose Sangria with Rosemary – serves 4

1 Granny Smith apple

1 Royal Gala or McIntosh apple

1 ¼ cups fresh cranberries

Sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 bottle Pinot Grigio white wine

½ cup Welch’s white grape juice or Ocean Spray sparkling cranberry – whichever you prefer depending on whether you want it to look clear or rose-colored

1 12-oz can club soda

1. Rinse apples and chop into small cubes

2. In a glass pitcher, place chopped apples, cranberries and a large sprig of rosemary

3. Pour pinot grigio and white grape juice or the sparkling cranberry over the fruit. Stir

ingredients together.

4. Refrigerate for an hour to let the flavors combine.

5. Just before serving, add the club soda to the pitcher, stir and pour into wine glasses, adding

fresh fruit for a garnish.

6. Garnish each glass with a small sprig of rosemary.

Posted in

Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City; an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, KS where she teaches Basic Nutrition; and is a freelance writer and blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi, Urologic Oncologist Expert and World Renowned Robotic Surgeon in New York City. Cheryl is also the author of The Nourished Brain, The Latest Science on Food’s Power for Protecting the Brain from Alzheimers and Dementia and The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook, both available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions.