Clean eating is all about cutting out processed and packaged food to get back to the simple, natural forms of food, whether that means vegetables, fruits, grains or meat. Clean eating focuses on the most nutritious ways to feed our bodies … so, how can alcohol possibly fit into this equation? Well, it really doesn’t fit in completely. It can be hard on the liver that filters out the body’s toxins and helps us store energy. But, it’s okay to enjoy a drink once in awhile, so when you do choose to imbibe, here are some tips to help minimize the sugar:
1. Pay attention to serving sizes
One serving of alcohol (regardless of the type) has about 150 calories. Here’s the breakdown of what a serving size is by type of alcohol:
- Regular Beer = 12 fluid ounces
- Wine = 5 fluid ounces
- Distilled Spirits (80-proof) = 1.5 fluid ounces (a shot)
As you can see, the serving sizes are relatively small, it can be easy to over-do it. If you have 2 servings, that’s an extra 300 calories added to your daily intake. For overall health, expert guidelines recommend that women stick to 1 drink or less per day and that men have 2 drinks or less per day. When you’re eating clean, your body might respond to alcohol a bit differently than before, so make sure to take it slowly.
3. Go for juice (in mixed drinks)
If your alcoholic beverage is mixed with juice, you’ll at least be doing your body some good by consuming phytonutrients from the squeezed fruit. Other mixed drinks can either contain a lot of added sugars or heavy cream that will not only add to the calorie amount, but can also leave you with a stomach ache.
4. Be mindful of what you eat
Alcohol can sometimes impair your judgment and could take your guard down just enough to tempt you into eating that fried food or extra dessert. Going back to the “all or nothing” approach, just because you’re having a drink doesn’t mean you have to go all out. Your meal can still be “clean” even if you’re having a drink with it.
5. All alcohol is sugar
When alcohol is processed in your body, it turns into sugar. Rather than focusing on the type of alcohol, focus on the amount you consume. As for a healthier option, red wine is made from red grapes that contain resveratrol, an antioxidant, so having a 5 fluid ounce serving of red wine every so often may even be beneficial for your heart.