The Pinch of Nom Guide to Calories in Alcohol
Whether you’re celebrating something amazing, having a night out or unwinding after a hard day at work, some of us like to enjoy a drink every now and then!
Although alcohol is usually packed full of hidden calories, it doesn’t have to be off the menu completely if you’re counting calories or following a diet plan!
How many calories are in your favourite tipple?
We’ve put together a handy guide to help you enjoy a slimming friendly celebration – life is all about balance, after all!
Alcohol is unfortunately full of empty calories thanks to all the starch and sugars, which means it doesn’t really offer anything useful for your body to use.
Some drinks are, of course, better than others and are a clever choice if you’re watching your calorie intake.
How many calories are in a pint of beer?
A pint of beer sits at between 210-244 calories – yes really! Ale and stout are the worst offenders and lager is only slightly better – not to mention all of the uncomfortable bloating!
If your drink of choice is beer, then make sure that you’re drinking plenty of soft drinks and water in between pints to slow down the rate you’re drinking at, or even consider swapping your pint out for a bottle instead.
With an average of just 142 calories in a 330ml bottle, you can enjoy almost two bottles of beer for every pint, so you’ll feel like you’re being naughtier than you really are!
How many calories are in a bottle of cider?
If you thought that beer was high on calories, a 500ml bottle of cider has a whopping 234 calories on average – but depending on flavour/brand, this figure can actually be as high as 330 calories!
The worst offenders for calories are the sweet, fruity ciders which have the highest count of all, so try to avoid those berry flavours if you can!
There are lots of ‘light’ ciders out there which come in at 170 calories or less per bottle, so these are a fab option if you’re following a diet plan.
Finally, instead of drinking your cider straight from the bottle, consider ordering it alongside a glass full of ice.
As you won’t need as much cider to fill your glass, this will encourage you to drink more slowly and will help you to feel like you’ve had more to drink than you actually have!
How many calories are in a glass of wine?
We’re afraid that the news about wine isn’t much better… although not as bad as beer or cider, a 175ml glass of wine comes in at around 130 calories and a 250ml glass is just under 230 calories.
Enjoy sharing a bottle of wine with someone during a meal? You might think that you’re making a lower calorie choice, but half a bottle of wine works out to be around 340 calories – that’s the equivalent of FIVE of our Cinnamon Drizzle Squares!
To make your wine go a little further, consider turning it into a spritzer by adding some diet lemonade or sparkling water and reduce the size of your glass from 250ml to 175ml or even 125ml!
How many calories are in spirits?
Compared to beer, wine and cider, spirits are super low in calories and they’re a great choice if you’re following a diet plan. As a general rule of thumb, dark spirits are higher in calories than clear spirits are, so choosing clear over dark is a good place to start.
A 25ml shot of a 40% dark spirit like whisky contains 106 calories, and that’s without a mixer included! Just two glasses of rum and coke comes in at 170 calories, while two glasses of gin and tonic are around 150.
Of course, although the spirits themselves are low on calories, the sugary mixers that you add like fruit juice, syrups and full-fat fizzy drinks can cause problems.
If you’re drinking spirits, then make sure that you’re choosing mixers like diet coke, diet lemonade, slimline tonic or sparkling water to keep the calories in your drink as low as possible.
How many calories in prosecco?
Prosecco lovers rejoice! A 125ml glass of prosecco comes in at just over 85 calories and a glass of champagne has just a few calories more making them both fantastic options if you’re looking for lower calorie, alcoholic drinks to enjoy.
If you’re enjoying a prosecco or champagne at a party, then make sure to keep an eye on how many times your glass is being refilled.
A host is likely to top up glasses as soon as they get low which can make it really difficult to keep track of how much you’re drinking!
Make sure that you finish your whole glass before getting a top up, as this will make it much easier to work out how many calories you’re consuming.
How many calories are in a cocktail?
It should come as no surprise that, thanks to the mix of ingredients, cocktails aren’t exactly the lowest calorie options…
That Long Island Iced Tea that you love could be setting you back over 400 calories and an Elderflower Gin Fizz could be costing you over 320!
If you’re on the lookout for slimming friendly versions of your favourite drinks, then you’ll be pleased to know that our Long Island Iced Tea recipe comes in at just 121 calories, while our version of an Elderflower Gin Fizz is only 84!
Because ingredients and serving sizes of cocktails can vary depending on which bar or restaurant you’re in, these calorie counts could be even higher than that.
Don’t worry though as we’ve got you covered with our range of slimming friendly, low calorie versions!
Our June Bug Cocktail has just 103 calories, instead of the 302 that you might expect and we also have a 133 calorie Pina Colada Cocktail and an 84 calorie Strawberry Daiquiri.
Counting calories or following a slimming plan doesn’t mean that you have to give up alcohol altogether.
It’s all about making smart swaps, enjoying everything in moderation and – most importantly – not beating yourself up if you overindulge and go over your calorie allowance one day.
Not only can cutting down on the amount of alcohol you’re drinking have an impact on the amount of calories you’re using, but it can also help to cut down your risk of developing health problems in the future.
Our top tips to stay in control of your calories while drinking are to:
- Don’t buy drinks in rounds as it can be tempting to try to keep up with the pace of everyone else. If you are drinking in rounds, then remember to go at your own speed and don’t feel like you have to have an alcoholic drink every time.
- Alternate with plenty of water to ensure you stay hydrated and help balance out the alcohol you’re consuming.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. How many of us have gone straight to the kebab shop after a night out? By filling up at the start of the night, you’re less likely to give in to the kebab cravings on your way home!
- Spread the NHS guideline of 14 units a week across a few days instead of saving all of the units up for the weekend and risking a nasty hangover that will have you craving fast food the next day!
If you want to find out more about the calories in other drinks, check out the Drinkaware unit and calorie counter, a useful resource especially if you’re conscious of choosing slimming friendly drinks.
Please drink responsibly – having more than the NHS recommends can impact your waistline and more serious health problems which might not be as obvious.