Two glasses of cranberry juice next to a pine cone and orange.

What to Drink During the Holidays

What’s the cleanest, healthiest thing to drink through the holidays (and still enjoy yourself)? Let’s discuss.

Red and white wine have very similar nutrient profiles. Though red wine does have slightly higher levels potassium, iron, riboflavin and niacin. Red wine does indeed have many anti-inflammatory properties including two strong anti-oxidants: resveratrol and proanthocyanidins. Both quell oxidative damage and may prevent heart disease.

Here’s the breakdown, according to the USDA, comparing 5 ounces of wine:

Red Wine
Merlot: 122 calories, 3.7g carb, .1g protein, no fat
Cabernet Sauvignon: 122 calories, 3.8g carb, .1g protein, no fat
WINNER: Pinot Noir: 120 calories, 3.4g carb, .1g protein, no fat

White Wine
Pinot Grigio: 121 calories, 3.8g carbs, .1 protein, no fat
Chardonnay: 123 calories, 3.2g carbs, .1 protein, no fat
WINNER: Sauvignon Blanc: 119 calories, 3g carb, .1 protein, no fat

Enjoy wine during the holidays, but it really isn’t good to overindulge. If you’re choosing a drink, account for the calories and carbs. Be mindful of your food choices earlier in the day.

According to the USDA, comparing 1 shot of liquor (1.5 fl oz.):

Whiskey: (80 proof) 97 calories, 0g protein, fat & carbs/ (94proof): 116 calories
Vodka: 97 calories, 0g protein, fat & carbs
Gin: 110 calories, 0g protein, fat & carbs
Tequila: 96 calories, 0g protein, fat & carbs

It’s everywhere. But is it a good choice?

Gin potentially has medicinal values, but we didn’t find much evidence. According to the US Dept. of Agriculture, one shot of gin doesn’t have any added sugar, carbs, protein or fat. Tonic (Q brand): According to, this particular tonic water has 71 calories, 17g sugar, no protein, no fat. VERDICT: You could probably handle one gin & tonic. Yes, we’re gaming the system, but you could replace one serving of fruit for this drink and enjoy.

All contain liquor (vodka, gin or tequila), fresh lime juice and a splash of club soda. You CAN add a bit of sugar (simple syrup), but the tartness is delicious and it doesn’t really need it. Use good quality liquor here – it will shine through. VERDICT: Enjoy, but watch the simple syrup.

Classic drink containing vodka, club soda and a lemon, lime or both. It’s stupidly simple and clean and delicious. VERDICT: It won’t break the bank, so enjoy.

Obviously, liquor choice is based upon personal taste preference. Just be sure to use a clear, clean mixer like soda water. And keep liquor drinks to a minimum, following every cocktail you drink with a tall glass of water.

SKIP: Heavy beers and syrupy sweet mixed drinks. They WILL break the bank and stall weight loss or make you gain the dreaded holiday five pounds.

It’s not a bad idea to put some boundaries around your drinking for the next several weeks. If it’s a ‘school night’ you might want to skip the alcohol and choose a light club soda and lemon-esq drink. It will surely make it easier to get up and stay on track the next day.

The takeaway? Serious moderation is key. If the urge arises, treat yourself to a clean vodka soda, tequila soda, glass of wine or a similar simple drink this holiday season.

Learn about our Natural Weight Loss Program and how to maintain your health goals during the holidays and year-round.