While the Christmas season may be traditionally known as a time of excessive indulgence and fattening up (and not just for the turkey), rules are made to be reinvented, and there is no reason why a great celebration can’t be enjoyed without putting on the extra (unwanted) pounds.

With a great many rich, fatty foods and drinks being passed around at this time of year, it can be quite a challenge to stick to the lighter options. As alcohol is made through the fermentation of sugar and starch, it comes as no surprise that it contains a high number of calories, so the best possible option is to go for a virgin cocktail made from healthier, organic ingredients. But there is a variety of different alcoholic drinks, and low calorie options that are available when it comes to selecting drinks, mixers and cocktails.

Most 80 percent proof spirits clock up around 50-60 calories for every 25ml measure shot, and vodka is the most sensible choice within this bracket as it contains low levels of sugar and carbohydrates. Sweet liqueurs, such as triple sec can contain up to 85 calories for the same measure, so are best avoided. When choosing calorie-conscious yuletide wines, the best to go for are those dry sauvignon blancs or pinot grigios with less sugar, or even champagne, the slimmest choice when it comes to alcohol, with just 95 calories per standard glass.

Whether you’re enjoying the festivities at home or hitting the town, here are some considerations for a tasty but healthy Christmas.

Out and About

cranberry mojito cocktail christmas

Making use of some Christmassy winter berries, and when prepared by a bartender who is flexible and willing to follow directions (as all good bartenders should), a Cranberry Mojito can have just 128 calories, which is a good deal slimmer than a regular Mojito. Ask for unsweetened cranberry juice, the lightest rum available, fresh lime juice, and if possible, liquid stevia in the place of sugar syrup. A garnish of fresh cranberries and mint is nice to finish off this fruity and juicy drink.

If you’re looking to escape a round of sugar-packed Long Island Ice Teas being offered in the spirit of festive cheer, explain that you’ve already ordered a Lemon Spritz, a healthier option that will cost your body just 80 calories for a light and refreshing glass containing 50ml vodka, lemon juice and soda.

Ginger is a root spice that has a long tradition of use at Christmas due to its health benefits and properties that help soothe a cold. A low-calorie Moscow Mule, consisting of vodka, ginger beer, cranberry juice, fresh mint leaves and ginger, will give you a tangy cocktail with a kick, and is only 128 calories.

moscow mule cocktail christmas

Another fruity and Christmassy cocktail to add to the list is the Passion Fruit Mimosa, a fusion of grenadine, passion fruit juice and prosecco, topped with an orange slice and served in a flute. Low in fat, sodium and cholesterol, this rich and tasty tipple only contains 147 calories per glass, and is sure to brighten up your winter evening with a taste of the summer.

At Home

kir royale christmas

Mulled wine is a Christmas favourite for many of us, but is there a way that we can enjoy this warming, wintery punch without having to worry about our waistlines? Well for one thing, we can avoid using the refined sugar that is all-too-often ladled into the mix, opting instead for the natural flavours that citrus fruits, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves add. If you feel some sweetening is needed, try to use a natural sweetener like Yacon syrup. Another thing to remember is to use a lighter red wine, from around 11 to 13 percent ABV, that is considerably lower in calories.

As well as having a deliciously rich mix of spices, fruits and wine, mulled wine comes with some excellent health benefits, including the anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon, and the antioxidants contained in nutmeg.

Making use of the light and refreshing combination of champagne and fruits, Kir Royale is a popular aperitif low in calories, made using champagne, crème de cassis, and maybe some berries for that extra touch. If you’d like to go that bit further you could add a few teaspoons of fresh pomegranate juice to see how the fruits complement the bubbles.

Another yuletide drink that many can’t go without when the days draw in is Eggnog, and you can make it with some healthier alternatives to the usual ingredients. By using low-fat, 1 percent milk, and going easy on the sugar, this cosy Christmas favourite can be as low as 100 calories. But it still contains sugar, milk and eggs, so don’t have too many.

These are some ideas to help get you through the festive season if you’re trying to be a bit healthier, but remember that quantity is also key for keeping things in balance. These recipes come from a range of reliable sources, so please check through the links for the details. And enjoy your low-calorie Christmas!