Depending on who you ask, summertime is arguably the best or worst time for those trying to get in shape or stay fit. Extended daylight hours, the return of seasonal outdoor activities and the self-induced fear of being the sole non-beach body languishing in beach-worthy temperatures, help to motivate and keep us in check when we’re thinking of hopping off the fitness wagon.
On the other hand, summer brings the grill out, along with the temptation to throw back large amounts of grilled meats and mayonnaise-filled salads. Warmer weather also means bottomless brunch moves outdoors, vineyards and beer gardens open their patios, and food and wine festival season hits its peak, making it easy for us to lose count of all those drinks when you’re having a good time.
Too many sugary drinks is a surefire way to pack on the pounds, and wine is no exception. But, that doesn’t mean you have to give it all up in fear. Here are few ways that you can get your fix while staying fit this summer:
Avoid High-Sugar Wines
Wine is generally low calorie, with the average glass ranging from 105-195 calories, making it a better alternative to the calorie-packed cocktails and frozen drinks that we associate with the warmer seasons. However, because most wine bottles don’t come with nutrition labels, a lot of people don’t consider the residual sugar (natural fruit sugars) content.
The key to picking a lower-calorie wine is to skip the sweeter varieties like Moscato and Riesling – as well as dessert wines, which can contain anywhere from 35-220 grams of residual sugar. Opt for a dry or extra-dry wine (red or white) like Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Pinot Grigio, and invest a few more dollars in your selection. Premium wines have higher quality grapes, which tend to contain less, if any, residual sugars. Cheaper manufacturers often sweeten their wines additionally to enhance the poorer quality.
Make Your Own Wine Spritzer
If you want to slash calories even further, consider throwing together a quick and easy wine spritzer the next time you reach for your favorite bottle. Wine spritzers are light and refreshing, and the endless fruit-wine-soda variations, and convenient ease of batching for large groups, make them a perfect option for lightening up your next summer festivity.
Add a half cup of regular or flavored club soda for every cup of your favorite red or white wine, and mix in your favorite frozen fruit pairings (i.e. peaches and pineapple for white wine, berry mix for red wine), and a bit of sugar or fruit juice, to taste.
Sign Up for a Wine Run
It’s perfectly okay to enjoy your favorite full-bodied wine (hopefully, in moderation), but why not consider a fun way to help burn calories as your other summer indulgences add up (BBQ, anyone?). Cue, wine runs. Wine runs have been popping up all over the country, and race organizers like Wicked Wine Run, The Ultimate Wine Run, The Chardonnay Run, and even The Hard Cider Run, are pairing the traditional 5K with a scenic backdrop and lots (and lots) of post-race wine and goodies.
Each of the organizers offers its own activities to keep participants (and onlooking family and friends) engaged before and after the run. Activities include a live DJ, rock climbing wall, mechanical bull and food trucks. Participants are even encouraged to dress up in their wackiest costumes to get the party started.
Try Some All-Natural Alternatives
While wine may be the holy grail of beverages, it’s hard to envision summer without a nice, chilled cocktail. Cocktail calories can quickly bring burgeoning abs to a standstill; but, it’s possible to imbibe with less guilt.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely noticed the cold-pressed juice trend exploding like a fruit basket at Gallagher’s house. More importantly, though, the powers that be have also begun to create…wait for it…cold-pressed cocktails! Companies such as RIPE Juice Bar, Clean Drinking and Mix Craft are creating all-natural mixers that have all of the flavor of a fresh cocktail, with less sugar and no preservatives, corn syrup, or artificial colors.
A traditional margarita, for example, can pack in over 500 calories, 60 grams of sugar, and a slew of manufactured ingredients. A 3 oz serving of one the cold-pressed mixers averages around 60 calories and 13 grams of sugar, letting you get your drink on without having to put in overtime at the gym.