Drink This, Not That: A (Sort of) Healthy Guide to Spring Break
March 6, 2013
By John Miller

If you’re daydreaming about your upcoming spring break vacation, you’re probably thinking about that vibrant tropical drink with fruit slices and those delicate toothpick umbrellas hanging over the rim.

But beware – hidden behind that beautiful frosty-glass façade lies a dangerous duo seeking to undo any progress you’ve made in your beach-body diet: calories and sugar. And of course, we’re required by law to state here that you shouldn’t overindulge in alcohol. But it IS Spring Break we’re talking about, and we’re just trying to minimize the damage.

When it comes to making smart decisions about your mixed drinks, it basically comes down to how it’s put together. With an ingredient swap here and a swap there, you can be on your merry way to a healthier alternative to those calorie and sugar-infused bar beverages.

For tips on how to lose the calories and still savor the taste of your favorite drinks, check out our list below:

  • For Piña Colada Lovers: Piña coladas contain an average of 644 calories, making it a contender for the highest calorie tropical drink. Even though you might try to convince yourself that anything containing fruit is healthy, most bars typically skip the hassle of slicing up a pineapple and take it straight from a can filled with sugary syrups instead. To save over 500 calories, try vanilla-flavored vodka with diet coke.
  • For Gin/Vodka and Tonic Lovers: Even though it’s only 200 calories and made up of two ingredients, tonic water contains high amounts of this sneaky diet threat: sugar. Next time you’re craving this simple refreshing drink, try substituting club soda for the tonic water.
  • For Margarita Lovers: A mixture of limeade, tequila, and triple sec, this frozen treat averages out to a whopping 740 calories. Before you start ordering these by the pitcher, you may want to try sipping on a glass of tequila on the rocks with a splash of lime instead. I said “sipping.”
  • For Mojito Lovers: While mojitos are generally under 175 calories, they often contain an abundance of sugar to sweeten them up. Swap out sugar with honey before adding your mint leaves, club soda, and lime juice.
  • For Red Bull Vodka Lovers: Mixing energy drinks and alcohol is a bad, bad idea; the combo can pose serious dangers to your health. By mixing stimulants with your favorite liquor, you can put yourself at greater risk for cardiovascular issues, shortness of breath, dizziness, and disorientation – all of which can be life-threatening. But what if you’re just in dire need of an energy boost to give you that second wave of energy?   Since you probably wouldn’t drink ten Fed Bulls over the course of a night if it didn’t contain alcohol, you should be able to reduce how many RBVs you have on a night out. Stick to one, and then switch to something else.

When all else fails, you can always order your favorite liquor on the rocks or stick with a classy glass of red wine.

And take it easy. Please.

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