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Eat Smart: Holiday Spirits

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Here are some cocktails to enjoy—and some to avoid—this holiday season.HolidaySpiritsEvery holiday season, we vow to watch our weight. We monitor portions, wait to grab seconds and even skip dessert. But the one thing we often forget while enjoying parties and dinners with family and friends is that all of those holiday cocktails add up.

To put the celebration in perspective, we’ve gathered a few of the best and worst holiday cocktails for those watching their sugar, fat and calorie intake. Don’t worry, we’re not heartless—you’ll find low-calorie variations suggested whenever possible. Happy holidays!

BEST
Bloody Mary
Are you a fan of refreshing drinks year-round? A classic Bloody Mary offers lots of lycopene, an antioxidant found in red produce, and it will set you back only about 150 calories (the equivalent of a can of Coke) if made with fresh tomato juice and limited salt. Don’t forget to eat your veggie garnishes!

Hot Toddy
No longer just an excuse to knock out a winter cold, a hot toddy is a festive way to get in the holiday mood without gaining holiday weight. Honey, lemon juice and cinnamon mimic the same taste you’d enjoy in a slice of pumpkin pie or glass of eggnog.

Mulled Wine
Warm, spicy and festive, this low-calorie beverage only surfaces during the colder winter months. Enjoy a guilt-free glass or two, along with the antioxidant benefits of red wine.

Spiked Apple Cider
Instead of hot-buttered rum, try a spiked cider made with fresh organic apple juice. While the juice adds some sugar and calories, the end result is still a far cry from its buttery, caloric cousin!

French 75
Named for its powerful effect, like being shelled with a French 75mm field gun, this sparkling cocktail is not naturally low in calories or sugar—but replace the drink’s simple syrup with honey, and drop in a slice of grated ginger, and you’ll add warmth while cutting excess weight-gain.

WORST
Eggnog
Though it’s a much-loved tradition, conventional eggnog can contain more than 300 calories per single-cup serving, and more than 20 grams of sugar! Luckily, there are many low-fat versions available—do a little research, and it could save you a lot of anguish later.

Chocolate Martini
Sorry, but you knew it was coming. Common recipes for this holiday specialty are full of sugary chocolate liqueur and crème de cacao, averaging more than two ounces of half-and-half per serving. That’s about 500 calories per drink: almost as many as a Big Mac.

Irish Coffee
A New Orleans favorite hot or iced, Irish coffee’s thick cream makes it an obvious avoidance if you’re keeping an eye on your indulgences. But did you know that in order to float the cream on top, it’s necessary to add at least a teaspoon of sugar?

Hot-Buttered Rum
A single cup of this sugary classic can contain 13 grams of fat and more than 300 calories. If you simply must indulge, plan on having just one of these libations.

Brandy Alexander
This delectable dessert cocktail is traditionally made with cream, and sometimes ice cream. Coming in at 300 calories or more, it’s a sly sipper that will derail even the best holiday intentions. Can’t bear to go without? Sub in fat-free half-and-half for the heavy cream.