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What to Drink at Summer Barbecues

Posted on 08/6/2015

Searching for the perfect beverage for your next summer barbecue? Have no fear! Here are some drink suggestions to help guide you through it effortlessly. 

As you may already know, alcoholic beverages CAN be very high in calories. It is perfectly fine to have an alcoholic beverage or two at your next barbecue, but if you aren’t careful it could easily add hundreds of calories to your daily intake. A few easy tips to ensure you keep your alcohol calories in check: 


  1. Light beer is best. On average, a light beer will contain 80-120 calories, which isn’t too bad. Some beers, like wheat based beers or IPA’s, can contain upwards of 400 calories, which can really break the calorie bank!

  2. Drink dry wine- not sweet. Sweet wine typically has an additional 100-150 calories per glass.

  3. Use club soda as a mixer. Club soda pairs well with vodka or gin. Plus, you will be helping to rehydrate yourself to prevent a hangover.  Lemons and limes can help flavor this mixer without adding calories, plus it will add a nutritional boost of vitamin C!

  4. Say no to adding juice, sports drinks, energy drinks or soda to any alcoholic beverage. They simply add calories and do not offer any nutritional benefit. 

If you prefer to cool off with a non-alcoholic beverage, here are a few tips to keep your thirst quenched (remember last week’s blog post about water? If not, read it here): 

  1. Say goodbye to soda – regular or diet. It has no nutritional value and adds unnecessary sugar, calories, additives and artificial sweeteners.

  2. Go for ‘spiffed up’ water – add fresh fruit or slices of cucumber and sprigs of mint for a tasty treat. All of the flavor and none of the artificial additives.

  3. Try bubbles, sparkling water that is. Great varieties are now available. Check labels and be sure there are no additives like artificial sweeteners, sugars and other ingredients. These tasty drinks are carbonated water and natural flavorings making them a perfect pairing for afternoon barbeque.

  4. Iced tea is refreshing and just shouts summertime. Sun tea is easy to make and even better to drink. A slice or two of lemon adds a little fruit flavor without compromising the calories. Just be sure to not add sugar to your tea, otherwise it goes from being a good choice to one with as much calories as soda.

Rene Ficek, RDN, CDE

Grew up in the food industry and took that love of healthy eating to earn her degree in nutrition. She has worked as a registered dietitian for 6 years and has been with SSHE since 2013, providing nutrition analysis and meal planning. Her special interests in weight management and diabetes, helps patients manage their weight and health conditions. She enjoys an active lifestyle, as well as time in the kitchen. Rene’s favorite SSHE meal is the Thai Noodle Salad.

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