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
I have always been in love with all things art- I was obsessed with drawing and painting before I was even walking. In high school, I started a career selling art through various gallery art shows and on Etsy. I then went on to study fine arts at the University of Southern California, with an emphasis in painting, but took classes in ceramics, printmaking, cinema and architecture to get a really well-rounded education on all sorts of art.
During my senior year of college, my career path went through a huge transition; I started my own temporary tattoo brand, INKED by Dani, which is a brand of temporary tattoos based on my hand-drawn fine art designs.
The idea for the brand came one night after a themed party at college. My friends, knowing how much I loved drawing, asked me to cover them in hand-drawn doodles using eyeliner. The feedback from that night was overwhelming, everyone my friends saw that night was obsessed with the designs. In that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head... I could do some completely unique here and create chic temporary tattoos with an art-driven aesthetic, unlike anything else on the market. Other temporary tattoo brands were targeted to kids or lacked a sleek and millennial-driven look. It was a perfect pivot; I could utilize my fine arts training and tattoos as a new art medium to create a completely innovative brand.
Using the money I made from selling my artwork throughout high school and college, I funded the launch of INKED by Dani. I had always loved the look of dainty tattoos, but knew I could never commit to the real thing, and I knew my parents would kill me if I got a tattoo (I also knew that so many girls must have that same conflict). Starting INKED by Dani was a no-brainer.
I started off with a collection of about only 10 designs and sold them at sorority houses around USC. Our unique concept for on-trend and fashion-forward tattoos was spreading through word of mouth, and we quickly started growing an Instagram following. I was hustling all day from my room, cold calling retailers, sending blind samples and tons of emails, and trying to open up as many opportunities as I could.
Now, we're sold at over 10,000 retail locations (retailers include Target, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Hot Topic), and we've transformed temporary tattoos into a whole new form of wearable art.
My 4 best tips for starting your own business are:
- Just go with your gut! You'll never know what works until you try it. Go day by day and do everything in your power to work toward your goals. Be bold, but be sure to be thoughtful in your actions.
- Research your competitors and other successful brands in your category to determine how you can make your product stand out. Figure out where there is a need or hole in the market that your new offering or approach can fill.
- Don't spread yourself too thin. Delegate where possible, and stay focused each day on doing the best and most you can. Don't get too caught up in your end goal or the big picture to a point where it overwhelms or freezes you. You're already making a bold move to start something new, so try to prioritize what's important! I started off in the beginning hand packing every single tattoo pack that we sold and shipped. If I wanted to scale to align with the level of demand we were receiving, I needed to make the pivot to mass produce and relinquish the control of doing every step myself. I am a total perfectionist, so that was definitely hard! From that point on, overseeing production has been a huge part of my daily schedule, but by doing so I've been able to free up more time to focus on design, merchandising, and sales, allowing me to really focus on growing the business.
- Prioritize great product packaging and branding. It's so important to invest time in customer experience- how customers view and interact with your product. The packaging is just as important as the actual product inside! When we were starting off, we had high demand, and I definitely jumped the gun a bit on packaging so we could deliver product to the retailers when they wanted it. Since then, we've completely revamped the packaging into something upscale and unique that reflects what the brand is all about. Our product packaging is always called out as being one of our retailers' and customers' favorite part of our product!