Typically when indulging in an adult beverage, you take in lots of calories in the form of simple syrups, sodas, and sweet juices. The same goes for the cheese and cracker platters, breads, and rich spreads that you’ll find at New Year’s Eve parties across the Hub. But if you do some research, there are ways to cut back on the numbers. Because we’re nice, we’ve done the research for you. From the champagne toast at midnight to a bubbly Cape Codder, we’ve got you covered.
If you’re having a champagne toast
A serving of Moet and Chandon champagne will run you about 85 calories, depending on the size of the pour. This equates to about 10 minutes on an elliptical if you’re considering how long it will take to work it off.
To accompany: Instead of a hunk of cheese and a cracker (fat and carbs=no good), look for a fruit or vegetable platter. In one piece of pre-cut Cracker Barrel Natural Sharp Cheddar Cheese, there’s 90 calories, eight grams of fat, and five grams of saturated fat. Couple it with a cracker (like a Toasted, which runs about 20 calories per piece) and you’re looking at 100+ calories in one nibble.
Find a fruit and vegetable platter and avoid the dips. Sour cream, cream cheese, ranch dressing, pudding mix, and other high-fat, high-sugar components make up the bases for most dips. Enjoy the taste of the fresh produce and remember what it tastes like without adding extra calories. If you’re hosting a party, consider a Greek yogurt-based dip with practically no fat and lots of protein.
If you’re a cranberry fan
Cranberry juice isn’t a bad addition to a diet (in moderation) but when you’re at a bar, you’re typically getting a cranberry juice cocktail or cranberry-flavored beverage in your cocktails. In that case, you’re drinking 30 grams of sugar in one eight-ounce serving (120 calories, all from carbohydrates), plus another 64 calories in an ounce of vodka. That puts you close to 200 calories — and that’s only one drink.
Instead, try vodka and soda with a splash of cranberry. This will take out most of the unhealthy sugars and the refreshing bubbles will give you something fresh and clean to enjoy. New England’s own Polar Seltzer also offers up this punch recipe with a fizzy twist, cutting out the typical high sugar counts from sodas and sherbets. This simple concoction features 100 percent cranberry juice, Granny Smith apple seltzer, vodka, and apple schnapps.
To accompany: You’ll want to cut the sweetness of your cocktail with something salty, so we suggest trying out a specialty meat (or two) on a charcuterie platter, but don’t forget to avoid the cheeses. Prosciutto is typically sliced incredibly thin, so one piece will probably be around one gram of fat. Don’t eat too many, because the sodium count is pretty high (660 milligrams per ounce), but one will be perfect to offset the cranberry.
If you’re a beer guy or gal
You might be surprised, but Guinness has fewer calories than some light beers on the market. The fact that it’s rich and filling will probably help you keep the sipping to a minimum. This Irish dry stout packs 125 calories per serving.
Some other light options: Bud Select 55 (55 calories), Miller Genuine Draft (64 calories), and Michelob Ultra (95 calories).
To accompany: There’s nothing better than chicken and beer, but most chicken wings are deep fried and smothered in sodium-filled sauces. If you’re the host of a party this New Year’s Eve, think about baking chicken wings or making grilled chicken skewers that are more diet friendly for your figure-watching friends.
If you’re craving a margarita
Sour mixes are packed with high fructose corn syrup and unnatural colorings and flavorings, three reasons to avoid them at all costs. If you’re craving a margarita at your NYE shindig, ask for tequila and soda with a splash of lime juice. If you’re a fan of salt, you can still get a salt rim.
To accompany: If only nachos were healthy. Luckily, there are Mexican foods that do come in lower on the calorie, fat, and carbohydrate scales. Consider making a turkey chili and serving it as a shooter with a topping bar (tomatoes, low fat cheddar cheese, fresh cilantro, scallion) if you’re hosting a party.