While the sun is still shining and the days of summer are still long, we tend to focus on exercising and eating healthy to look and feel our best. And we sometimes forget to count the drinks and cocktails we consume, which can be key to maintaining our bikini bodies.
When reaching for a drink on warm summer days, water is the best possible choice, while soda is the number one beverage to avoid. All soda, even diet soda is offensive when it comes to health and weight loss or maintenance. Every time you drink a bottle of soda, you get hundreds of empty calories! If you find the taste of water boring or bland, incorporate slices of lemon, lime or orange. According to the World Health Organization, a compound in these sour citrus fruits called d-limonene can give sluggish bowels a kick, which helps maintain a healthy digestive system.
If your choice is alcohol, don’t forget that alcohol has calories too—7 per gram! That’s more than protein or carbohydrates, and almost as much as fat. So, if you want to feel your best around the pool this summer, it is important to realize low-cal choices are helpful in maintaining that beach body you worked so hard for.
Apart from the calories in alcohol, the calories in the mixers of your favorite cocktails often pose a far greater issue than the actual alcohol. Why? Because a cocktail you order at the beach bar will contain more sugar than vodka. In fact, 4oz of a daiquiri or margarita mix can contain upwards of 35 grams of sugar—that’s 7 teaspoons of sugar! Calories from mixers are simple and refined sugars, which are the worst kind of calories. When they're combined with how alcohol affects your metabolism, it is not ideal for your body.
The obvious solution is abstinence, but what fun would that be? You can still enjoy summer sippers and not have to worry about the large number of calories. Choosing the right drinks can curb your appetite, tweak your metabolism, and help cut calories. Here's a guide to how to drink alcohol and maintain your weight. First and foremost, minimize the calories from mixers. Even the most natural juices are loaded with sugar. A glass of 100 percent orange juice has six teaspoons of sugar, and a glass of 100 percent apple juice has seven teaspoons. Instead of using bottled juices, make margaritas with fresh squeezed lime juice, and use calorie-free club soda instead of regular tonic water and other high-calorie carbonated drinks. Try this Super Skinny Margarita recipe that will satisfy your craving, but keep your weight in check.
Super Skinny Margarita
- 3 ounces of sparkling ice lemon lime
- 1 ½ ounces tequila
- Fresh squeezed orange juice
- Fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 lime slice for garnish
Shake first four ingredients and pour over ice into a chilled glass rimmed with salt. Garnish with lime slice.
Per serving: 100 calories, 3g carbs, and 2 grams of sugar
If your choice is wine, you can expect to consume roughly 100 to 120 calories per glass. White wine contains fewer carbohydrates than red wine, making a small difference in terms of calories. On the other hand, a study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry shows that red wine's allergic acids delay the growth of fat cells while slowing the development of new ones. However, there's a way to cut calories, but still enjoy your favorite wine.
- 4 ounces of white wine or rose
- Club soda to taste
- Fresh fruit garnish
Per serving: 45 calories, 4 carbs
And for the non-alcohol drinkers, take a look at the delicious low-cal mocktail recipes below, and prepare sip your way slim!
Virgin Citrus Mimosa
- ¾ cup lite orange juice
- ½ cup lite grapefruit juice
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 packet Stevia
- 16 oz bottle of sparkling water
Combine all juices and stir in stevia. Cover with foil and chill mixture for at least 2 hours up to 24 hours. To serve pour into 4 champagne glasses, add sparking water and stir lightly to mix. Garnish with citrus.
Per 6oz. serving: 28 calories, 19mg sodium, 3g carb, and 1 gram of protein
Lean Green Mocktail
- 1 whole cantaloupe
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 apple
- 1 quarter inch piece of ginger
- 16 oz sparking water
- Salt to taste
Juice all fruits and vegetables. Mix juice with sparking water and serve over ice. Garnish with citrus slice. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 44 calories, 33 mg sodium, 8g carbs, and 1 gram of protein
Peppy Tomato Mary
- 2 cups tomato juice
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire
- ½ tsp. horseradish
- Hot pepper sauce to taste
- Ice cubes
Combine all ingredients into small pitcher over ice, garish with celery.
Per 8 oz. serving: 37 cal, 41 mg sodium, 6 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of protein
Mint Pineapple Grape Fizz
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened grape juice
- 1 6oz unsweetened pineapple juice
- 2 cups club soda chilled
- Ice cubes
Place the ½ cup of mint leaves in pitcher; use the back of a spoon to bruise the leaves. Stir in pineapple and grape juice. Cover and chill for 4 -24 hours. Strain mint, and discard. Stir club soda into juice mixture, pour into 6 ice filled glasses, garnish with mint sprigs. Makes 6 servings.
Per Serving: 61 calories, 24 ml sodium, 8 carbs
Minty Lime Quencher
- ½ cup lime juice
- ½ cup mint leaves
- 1-2 packets of Stevia
- 2 cups sparkling seltzer water
- 1-cup ice
Add first 3 ingredients to a large glass and shake to combine. Add ice, divide mixture and top off with sparking water. Add lime as garnish.
Per 8 oz. serving: 26 cal. 40 mg sodium, 5 carbs, and 1 gram of protein.
Skinny Blueberry Vodka Mojito
- 2 oz. vodka (optional: use blueberry vodka for even more flavor)
- 4 oz. Sprite Zero
- 2 sprigs fresh mint (reserve one sprig for garnish)
- 1 tbsp. fresh blueberries (reserve a few for garnish)
Muddle vodka, mint and blueberries together in a shaker. Add one cup of crushed ice and shake. Pour into a cocktail glass and top with Sprite Zero, garnish with remaining mint & blueberries!
Per serving: 130 calories, 5 carbs
- 2 ounces of tequila
- Squeeze of lime
- Club soda, to top
- Lime wedge for garnish
Fill a highball glass with ice and add tequila and lime juice. Top with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Per serving: 95 calories, 5 carbs
Victoria's Secret is best known for what it has to offer women. However, a few days ago as I was strolling around the flagship store on Bond Street, I discovered that the store also has a lot to offer men as well. Just not exactly what you'd think.
My experience began like many other shopping excursions, casually browsing for a few practical items. The store was bustling with women who were relaxed but focused on their own purchases. The women in the store all displayed a quiet confidence in knowing what to do and how to do it. My browsing journey took me into another room where I noticed a man behaving quite awkwardly while being guided around by one of the many well-trained twenty-something shop assistants. My first thought was: "Good for him coming in here alone! I imagine it isn't the most comfortable experience for a man." It was clear he felt out of place. His discomfort was obvious by the way he was shuffling around and avoiding eye contact with any women nearby.
This otherwise unremarkable experience sent a spark through my mind. This man was professional and smartly dressed; perhaps he could have worked for one of the many private equity, hedge fund or banking firms in the nearby area. I imagined that he was confident in his own world of work, but in this female haven he was not. He was the only man in the room, and it showed.
This world - that of Victoria's Secret - was not created to make someone like him feel comfortable. In this environment—a store catering to women, filled by women and selling feminine merchandise—the familiar patriarchal dynamics of the world had completely shifted.
This was a world that can transform an otherwise confident professional into an introverted, self-conscious and indecisive man who needed the help of a twenty-something female to make one simple purchase.
I have seen this story play out with the gender roles reversed many times throughout my career in the corporate world. Today, the culture of many companies are built and sustained by men, for men. Traditional male characteristics are still encouraged, rewarded and expected from female professionals, especially if they expect to reach the executive suite. Being the only woman in the room is still an everyday reality for so many women in business; most men do not understand how corrosive this situation can be to a person's confidence.
I have often heard men say that they believe gender inequality is not an issue in their firm. They hire women and now even have some women on their teams. Well, on those terms this man should not have experienced any issue either. There is no sign at the door of Victoria's Secret barring men from entry. Men are allowed to freely enter and buy whatever they choose. No woman in there would tell them to leave or suggest that to get to the front of the queue they must behave in a certain way. So, what was the problem? Why did this man appear so uncomfortable? Why did he suddenly lack the confidence he seemed to have in the outside world?
It's all in the numbers. If that store catered towards the needs of men, or if there were simply more men in the store (either equivalent to or greater than the number of women), then it is likely that man would have felt a greater sense of belonging.
Just because women are allowed into the workplace now, does not mean their experiences are equivalent to those of their male peers. Women, as the minority, simply do not have the same sense of freedom to be their true authentic selves in many corporate environments, even today.
Just like that Victoria's Secret shop assistant guiding the lone man through an ostensibly unwelcoming environment, so, too, do women benefit from the guidance of sponsors, helping them navigate the male dominated corporate world.
Before a man talks about gender parity, perhaps he first needs to take a trip to a lingerie store and experience what it is like to be the only one in the room. Maybe if more men had experiences like this, they may begin to understand what it is to feel so out of place. Maybe they would join us in creating greater gender equality in the workplace.