Been in the alcohol aisle of the supermarket lately? Well, if you have you've no doubt seen the Skinnygirl brand, which offers a lower-calorie solution to libations. But are Skinnygirl products really better for you than the alternative?
What Exactly Are Skinnygirl Drinks?
Celebrity and author Bethenny Frankel created her own brand of ready-to-serve cocktails, wines and flavored vodkas. She started off by creating the Skinnygirl Margarita as a lower-calorie option for ladies who wanted to enjoy a yummy margarita without all the extra calories found in most ready-to-serve margaritas. Skinnygirl claims that with its products you can have a "naturally sweetened, low-calorie option." The success of the brand has skyrocketed.
How Do They Compare to Regular Cocktails?
Because Skinnygirl offers a variety of alcoholic beverages claiming to help you enjoy a low-calorie option, let's compare those products to other typical cocktails.
Skinnygirl vodka (1.5 ounces): 75.6 calories and 0 grams of carbohydrates
Average vodka (1.5 ounces, 80 proof): 96 calories and 0 grams of carbohydrates
The ready-to-serve bottled cocktails are now offered in these flavors: Sweet 'N Tart Grapefruit Margarita, Mojito, White Peach Margarita, Piña Colada, Sangria and White Cranberry Cosmo.
Skinnygirl cocktails (1.5 ounces of ready-to-serve mix): 35.2 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrates
Average margarita (1.5 ounces, no ice): 101.5 calories and 6.4 grams of carbohydrates
Average mojito (1.5 ounces, no soda or mint added): 64 calories and 2.5 grams of carbohydrates
Average piña colada (1.5 ounces, no cherry or pineapple stick): 82 calories and 10.7 grams of carbohydrates
Average cosmopolitan (1.5 ounces, no orange peel): 80 calories and 4.9 grams of carbohydrates
Skinnygirl Sangria (5 ounces, no ice): 132 calories and 22.5 grams of carbohydrates
Average Sangria (5 ounces, no ice): 99.2 calories and 13.4 grams of carbohydrates
Additionally, the Skinnygirl brand now sells wines, including their Moscato, California Red Blend, California White Blend and California Rosé Blend.
Skinnygirl Wines (5 ounces): 100 calories and 4.7 grams of carbohydrates
Average Wine (5 ounces): 125-150 calories and 4-6 grams of carbohydrates
What about Serving Sizes?
The tricky part here is that cocktails, particularly margaritas, aren't usually served in a standardized size. Some bars and restaurants might give you a 3-ounce margarita while others serve up a heftier 12-ounce margarita (and those jumbo margaritas are much bigger). Additionally, the Skinnygirl ready-to-serve cocktails give calorie and carb info for a 1.5-ounce serving and the normal serving size (again, this will vary based on the establishment) is about 3.5-4 ounces. So, beware of portion size.
Ways to Reduce the Calories in Your Favorite Cocktails
You can cut calories from your cocktails with a few simple tips. The biggest hint is to watch your mixers. Most often cocktails are mixed with fruit juices, syrups, regular soda or cream--all of which add unnecessary calories. First, if you like your cocktails bubbly, stick with diet sodas or naturally calorie-free seltzer water. Avoid drinks made with sugary syrups, especially ones made with sweet 'n' sour syrup (example: whiskey sours or amaretto sours). If you don't like your spirits on the rocks (lowest in calories because there aren't added sugary mixers), ask your bartender for just a splash of fruit juice or squeeze the juice from a lemon or lime into your cocktail.
One Final Tip Before You Tip Your Glass
When it comes to both reducing calories in alcoholic beverages and remaining safe, it's always important to remember to practice moderation when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Keep in mind that it's advised that women stick to one serving of alcohol a day. This is equivalent to 1.5 ounces of eighty-proof distilled spirits, five ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or eight ounces of malt liquor.
Kari Hartel, RD, LD is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian and freelance writer based out of St. Louis, MO. Kari is passionate about nutrition education and the prevention of chronic disease through a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Kari holds a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Southeast Missouri State University and is committed to helping people lead healthy lives. She completed a yearlong dietetic internship at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL, where she worked with a multitude of clients and patients with complicated diagnoses. She planned, marketed, and implemented nutrition education programs and cooking demonstrations for the general public as well as for special populations, including patients with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, obesity, and school-aged children. Contact Kari at KariHartelRD@gmail.com.