Don’t Let Holiday Cocktails Ruin Your Diet


The holiday spirit is in the air—happy hours, family gatherings, and holiday parties. Don’t let the holiday cocktails ruin your diet. Remember, what you drink matters as much as what you eat. The hidden calories found in our glass can easily destroy the best holiday diet plans.

When measured correctly, one serving of alcohol contains 100 calories. One serving is:

  • 12 ounces of light beer (one bottle or can).
  • 5 ounces of wine (about the size of a yogurt container).
  • 1 shot of liquor

Betsy Oriolo, MS, RD, LD, CDE at St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center recommends watching out for the size of each drink and counting the number of drinks you consume so you can stick to your diet plan or you are aware of how much you’re deviating from the plan.

Drink 3-4 Glasses of Water for Every Cocktail
Alcoholic beverages are diuretics, which means they make your body lose water. For every cocktail you drink, you should drink 3-4 glasses of water or club soda to counteract the dehydrating effect. Having the non-alcoholic drinks helps keep you full and ensures you have a glass in your hand throughout the party. Don’t replace the water with fruit juice, as juice is high in calories and carbohydrates too.

Eat Before Your Drink
Eat a full meal before you start drinking your holiday cocktails. If you start drinking before eating, your body starts treating the drink as food. Watch the serving size of the drink as well. At holiday parties the drink always seems a little larger than the standard service which could add 50-100 to even several hundred additional calories. Maybe ask for half servings of the beverages. Alcohol also stimulates the appetite.

Don’t be the Last to Leave the Party
If you don’t want to overindulge in food or drink, make sure you have a set time you are leaving the party. Make plans to leave early and go to a movie, or schedule your babysitter so you’re compelled to go home on time and not stay back and drink. If you are going to the party with friends, be the designated driver and stick to water and low-calorie drinks.

“No matter what you do this holiday season, enjoy your time with family and friends,” says Oriolo. “Don’t focus on the food or the drinks, have fun and remember if you have a few extra calories you can get back to your diet plan tomorrow.”

If you need help keeping your weight goals on track, talk to your primary care physician or schedule an appointment at the St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center by calling (859) 212-4625.