8 Lightened-Up Cocktails for Your Summer Menu

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

You don’t have to turn down cool, summery cocktails when you’re trying to lose weight. With the right ingredients and proper portion sizes, you can indulge in delicious mixed drinks without sabotaging your healthy diet.

The truth is, we all know that alcohol isn’t always a dieter’s best friend. According to Health Economics, alcohol is a “high-calorie beverage that can interfere with metabolic function and cognitive processes.” It can also stimulate the appetite and lead to overeating.

Most alcoholic drinks are also fairly high in calories. “A 12-ounce can of regular beer contains approximately 145 calories; a 5-ounce glass of wine, approximately 135; and a 1.5-ounce serving of spirits, approximately 130,” says Health Economics. Throw in some sugar, muddled fruit, simple syrup, juice or pre-made drink mixes—or add seconds and thirds—and you’re looking at serious damage to your diet.

All of this aside, you can still enjoy alcohol and tasty summer cocktails on your Nutrisystem weight loss plan. You can have the occasional glass of wine, beer and even a mixed drink while still making progress—if you do it right. As with anything, moderation is key! Stick to our recommended serving sizes and don’t go crazy with the unhealthy additions in your cocktails.

If you’re on your first week of Nutrisystem, wait until week two before adding in any alcohol. Never drink on an empty stomach and pair your beverage with a glass of water. Nutrisystem recommends a maximum of two servings of alcohol per week. Spread them out and try not to have them on the same day.

On Nutrisystem, one serving of alcohol is:

  • Beer = 12 oz.
  • Wine = ½ cup or 4 oz.
  • Liquor = 1 shot or 1.5 oz.

If you add fruit or 100% fruit juice to your cocktails, this will count towards your daily SmartCarbs. Fresh herbs, lemon and lime juice, zero-calorie sweeteners, club soda, seltzer water and sparkling water are all considered Free Foods. Dairy products and protein powder are considered PowerFuels. Check out the Nutrisystem Grocery Guide if you’re not sure how to count a specific ingredient on your plan.

Brush up on your Nutrisystem knowledge! Before you pour yourself one of these healthy cocktails, check out the link below to learn more about alcohol on our program:

Alcohol on Nutrisystem: Everything You Need to Know

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Here are eight tasty cocktails for your healthy summer menu:

1. Sweet Summer Sangria


Nothing says summer like a fruity glass of sangria! The good news is that you don’t need sugar to make this classic cocktail. Simply start with three to four ounces of cold, dry white or rose wine in a glass. Next, add some fruit. We love crushed strawberries or blueberries (or both together). However, other fruits are also acceptable, such as oranges, pomegranate seeds, apples and pears! You could even make a tasty tropical sangria with pineapple, mango and sliced peaches.

Finally, add a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon, cold club soda and mint leaves. Try crushing the mint leaves to bring out their essential oils! You can also substitute red wine or a sparkling wine like prosecco. Whip up a pitcher of this skinny sangria and serve it up at your summer picnics and parties!

2. Simple Spritzer


Fill up a glass with a serving of your favorite white wine. Try to choose a dry option to save on calories and add your own sweetness with stevia. Top it with club soda and a wedge of lemon or lime for a fizzy mixed drink that’s diet-friendly.

3. Guilt-Free Mojito


Liquid stevia can take the place of the sugar that makes minty mojitos so sweet (and so calorie-heavy). You only need about one ounce of light rum to make this low-cal and low-carb trendy cocktail. Mix it with about a teaspoon of fresh lime juice, a teaspoon of zero calorie sweetener, a pile of mint leaves and diet club soda. To bring out the mint flavor, crush or “muddle” the leaves with a wooden spoon or a muddler if you have one.

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4. Summer Sparkling Champers


According to Medline Plus, a four-ounce glass of dry champagne is only about 85 calories, making it one of your best alcohol choices. Dry wines have less sugar—which is what makes them dry. You can go “mimosa” by adding just a splash of orange juice or toss in a few fresh berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or blackberries.

5. Guiltless Gin and Tonic


An iconic summer drink, you can keep the gin and tonic on your summer beverage list by simply substituting diet tonic in place of regular tonic. Add slices of lime, orange or cucumber with some fresh herbs like mint or rosemary.

6. Summertime Slushies

hard seltzer slushie

Hard seltzer is all the rage this summer. It’s low in calories and typically free of added sugars. The average hard seltzer is usually around 100 calories. Grab your blender and make a hard seltzer slushie with some ice and a can of your favorite flavor! You can even add in fresh or frozen fruit to complement your chosen seltzer.

Craving a refreshing, ice cold beer or a glass of wine? Whip up a beer slushie with your favorite light brew! Check out these 10 low calorie beers that actually taste good. You can even make a wine slushie with dry red or white wine and a little ice. Add some stevia for more sweetness if desired.

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7. Skinny Margaritas


Mix up a magnificent margarita that fits into your weight loss plan! Grab your blender and combine ice, lime juice and a shot of tequila. Nix the sugar-filled orange liqueur and garnish with a fresh orange or lime slice instead. Yum!

Check out our healthy recipe for a Jalapeno Lemon Margarita!

8. Protein-Packed Piña Colada


If you like piña coladas, you’ll love our delicious recipe for a Piña Colada Smoothie! It combines vanilla protein powder with pineapple juice, ice and coconut extract. Turn this mocktail into a cocktail with a single serving of white rum.

Looking for more diet-friendly drink recipes?


Check out this printable recipe book for some healthy mocktails! You’re sure to find your new summertime sip in this free recipe booklet. Whip up any of these Nutrisystem-approved recipes and add your favorite alcohol to turn it into an adult beverage. We even have recipes for a mojito and sangria! Stick to one serving to stay on track with your weight loss diet.

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