Labor Day is almost here, which means fun celebrations, great company and delicious food and drinks. For most, it also means a chance to relax, kick back and have a few cocktails. However, if you’re trying to stick to a healthy diet or shed a few pounds, the damage caused by your typical 300 to 400-calorie (or more!) cocktail can be a big setback for your waistline. To stay on track with your health and fitness, try these lightened-up beverages, which are full of flavor—not calories.
2 cups of seedless frozen watermelon
Juice of 1 lime
3 ice cubes
Handful of fresh mint
2 oz. vodka
Freeze 2 cups of watermelon overnight. Once watermelon is fully frozen, place watermelon, lime juice, ice cubes, vodka and mint into a blender and blend on medium. After the mixture is fully blended, pour into a glass and garnish with mint.
Nutrient-boosting benefits: Packed with lycopene, watermelon is the perfect skin booster, as it acts as a natural sunscreen to protect against the sun’s damage. Another bonus? Breaking research shows watermelon juice can help to relieve post-exercise muscle soreness!
Nutrition facts: Serves: 2, Serving Size: 7-8 ounces; Calories Per Serving: 84; Total Fat: 0g; Protein: <1g; Carbohydrate: 9g; Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 7g; Sodium: 2mg
1 cup frozen mangos
1 oz. tequila
1/8 cup pure orange juice (1/2 medium orange, juiced)
4 ice cubes
Orange slice, for garnish
Juice half an orange and mix it with frozen mango, tequila and ice cubes in a blender on medium until fully mixed. Pour your mango-rita into a glass and serve with an orange slice.
Nutrient-boosting benefits: Mangos are packed with fiber and antioxidant-rich vitamins C and E, both of which help to fight off free-radical damage and may accelerate the recovery process after a tough workout.
Nutrition facts: Serves: 2, Serving Size: One, 5.5 ounce drink; Calories Per Serving: 93; Total Fat: <1g; Protein: <1g; Carbohydrate: 24g; Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 13g; Sodium: 2mg
1/3 cup pure orange juice (3/4 medium orange, juiced)
1/8 cup dried cranberries
4 oz. champagne (chilled)
2 oz. seltzer
In a blender, mix orange juice and cranberries on high until cranberries are completely pureed into the orange juice. The mixture should be a pink-orange color. Pour in the seltzer and stir with a spoon. Finally, pour the juice mixture into a champagne glass and top with champagne.
Nutrient-boosting benefits: Cranberries contain proanthocyanidin antioxidants, which are essential for all-around wellness and helping to keep your body strong and healthy. Cranberries also may offer protection from tooth cavities and urinary tract infections, and are potent anti-inflammatories, helping to fight muscle damage after a tough workout.
Nutrition facts: Serves: 2, Serving Size: 1, 3.5 ounce drink; Calories Per Serving: 100; Total Fat: <1g; Protein: <1g; Carbohydrate: 17g; Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 1g; Sodium: 1mg
1 cup sparkling water
2 oz. vodka
1 Tbsp. grapefruit juice
2 mint leaves
Place one raspberry in each space of an ice cube tray, fill with water, and freeze overnight. Once the ice cubes are fully frozen, pour sparking water, vodka and splash of grapefruit juice into a glass, using a spoon to mix the beverage. Finally, place the ice cubes in the glass and garnish with mint.
Nutrient-boosting benefit: The real bonus of this drink is that it is super low in calories, especially compared to most fruity alcoholic beverages. The raspberries contain the phytochemical C3G, which may increase the production of both adiponectin—which enhances fat metabolism—and leptin, which suppresses appetite.
Nutrition facts: Serves: 2, Serving Size: One, 5.5 ounce drink; Calories Per Serving: 45; Total Fat: 0g; Protein: 1g; Carbohydrate: 4g; Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 1g; Sodium: 2mg