It’s a new year and with that comes the inevitable resolution to shed a few pounds and get back in shape. And it’s no secret that cutting alcohol out of your diet will help you to achieve that goal, but if you’re anything like us, that’s not a realistic option! We love wine waaaaaay too much to eliminate it completely, so instead, here are a few simple ways to modify your wine drinking habits so that you can still enjoy vino without packing on the pounds.
We all know to drink alcohol in moderation for safety purposes, but the same rule applies for caloric reasons as well. Just like anything else you love to eat or drink, wine has calories and those calories can add up quickly when you’re not paying attention to them. Liquid calories tend to be easier to ignore than food calories because they don’t necessarily feel the same way going down, but if you aren’t careful you can consume as many calories drinking wine as you would eating a giant slice of chocolate cake!
So, how many calories are in a glass of wine? According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a four-ounce glass of wine has approximately 100 calories. While there is some variability among varietals and wine styles, there is little caloric difference between red wine and white wine. What matters more is that most restaurants serve a five- to six-ounce glass of wine; if you’re counting calories, it’s important to keep this in mind, so that you can adjust how much you order accordingly.
And don’t be afraid to ask what size pour you’re being served if it isn’t stated on the wine list. By knowing that one ounce of wine has approximately 25 calories, you can calculate roughly how many calories are in the portion size you’re getting so that you stay within your caloric budget.
2. MAKE IT A SPRITZER
If you’re a white wine lover, you can easily cut down on the calories you’re drinking by pouring half of your glass of wine over ice and filling it the rest of the way with club soda. Club soda has zero calories, so you can basically enjoy two wine cocktails for the same number of calories in one glass of wine.
Now, we aren’t suggesting you turn a bottle of expensive Puligny-Montrachet into a spritzer by any means! But if you’re just out for a casual happy hour and ordering the house white, this is an easy way to watch your calories while still enjoying the taste of wine.
3. PAY ATTENTION TO ALCOHOL CONTENT
Although there’s a theory floating around out there that a glass of white wine has more calories than a glass of red wine because it often contains more sugar, there really isn’t much difference between the two. Of greater significance is the amount of alcohol in the wine. Wines with a higher alcohol content have more calories than wines with a lower alcohol content. That’s because a gram of alcohol has 7 calories compared to a gram of carbohydrate (sugar), which has 4 calories.
The basic formula used to calculate the calories in wine is as follows:
% of Alcohol X Ounces X 1.6 = Calorie ContentSo a six-ounce glass of wine that has an ABV of 15% has about 144 calories compared to a six-ounce glass of wine that has an ABV of 12%, which has about 115 calories. This has nothing to do with whether the wine is white or red, so don’t make calorie assumptions based on the color of your wine. Instead, pay attention to the alcohol content and you can cut out some calories by choosing a wine with less alcohol.
4. STICK WITH BRUT
If you’re sparkling wine lovers like we are, bubbly is a regular part of your wine diet. And because sparkling wine tends to be lower in alcohol, you can feel good about drinking it because it’s generally lower in calories than many still wines. However, what you may not know is that there are different amounts of sugar in sparkling wine depending on its style, and sugar can impact its calorie count.
According to the Guild of Sommeliers, the sugar content in Champagne breaks down into the following sweetness levels:
Extra Brut = 0-6 grams/liter
Brut = 0-12 grams/liter
Extra Dry = 12-17 grams/liter
Sec (dry) = 17-32 grams/liter
Demi-Sec (off-dry) = 32-50 grams/liter
Doux (sweet) = 50+ grams/liter
So if you’re strictly counting calories, choose a sparkling wine that is Brut in style or drier to avoid the extra sugar calories found in sweeter styles.
One way to keep from racking up the calories is to ask your bartender/server to split one glass of wine into two. For us, drinking wine is less about how much is in our glass and more about the experience, so sharing a glass is just as enjoyable as ordering our own. And with so many exciting and unusual wines available by the glass these days, this is a great way to not only control your calories, but also to try something new that you might not otherwise be willing to spend your money on.
That said, please don’t do this when you’re with a group of people—it’s time-consuming (and just plain annoying!) for the person serving you! But with one other person, in the right situation, it’s a fun way to expand your palate without hurting your waistline or your pocketbook.
SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
We’re all for setting healthy goals for the new year and working hard to achieve your desired results, but that doesn’t mean that completely eliminating the things you love is necessarily the answer. By being cognizant of calories and making small changes to control your intake, there’s no reason that wine can’t be a regular part of your diet in 2014. The key is having an easy-to-follow plan in place. That way, you can remain dedicated to your resolutions while still enjoying the things you love!
Source: www. parade.com