Many of us will partake in at least a little nip of an adult beverage during the holiday season. And enjoying a spiked libation is still OK—even on a ketogenic diet. We've got lots of options and sugar-free mixes to use to make the most creative and soothing drinks ever!
However, letting the cocktails flow too freely isn't advisable for several reasons, one being that doing so can completely blow your macro budget and lead to weight-loss stalls or gains during the festive season and into the new year.
So, what’s a libation lover following a keto diet to do during the holidays? Plan to make room in your dietary budget to allow for more liquid calories, increase activity to burn extra calories, and swap in keto-friendly mixes or sweeteners to recreate traditional cocktails without the unwanted carbs or sugar to enjoy the best of both worlds!
The holidays are a festive time to reflect on the memories made that year, enjoy beloved traditions, and experience new moments to cherish, and we’ll share the perfect beverages—and fun activities—to add an extra touch of dazzle to the holidays this year.
Can I Drink Alcohol on Keto?
In short, yes. However, it is essential to choose your harder drinks carefully to limit the intake of sugar and carbs while fêting. But besides the cardinal tenet of avoiding sugar, your options of the variety of flavor combinations, or styles of drinks, you can pair and create are virtually endless.
There are no limits to the levels of creativity one can apply when concocting boozy beverages, but there are some classic favorites that we’ll mention as you can easily remake them, too, with a few simple ingredient swaps!
But before we explore the bevy of beverages to enjoy on a low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic diet, let’s touch on which alcohols to reach for and which to avoid when curbing carbs.
Which Liquors, Wines, and Beers are Keto-friendly?
All alcohol contains sugar. However, some varieties contain considerably more of the sweet stuff than others. In order to enjoy drinks during the holidays, it’s best to stick to the following options:
Alcohol with zero carbs per 5 ounces serving:
But keto-friendly alcohol options aren’t limited to the spirits noted above. There are a variety of white and red wines, as well as some rosé options that enable you to enjoy a little vino without the added sugars. Here are some low-carb wines by the numbers (macros per five ounces serving):
- Merlot (3.7g carbs)
- Cabernet (3.7g carbs)
- Pinot Noir (3.4g carbs)
- Cabernet Sauvignon (3.8g carbs)
- Xinomavro (.28g carbs)
- Nebbiolo (0 carbs)
- Bordeaux (4g carbs)
- Chianti (4g carbs)
- Rioja (0 carbs)
- Chardonnay (3.7g carbs)
- Pinot Grigio (3.2g carbs)
- Sauvignon Blanc (.9g net carbs)
- Dry Reisling (1g carbs)
- Sparkling Wine or Champagne (1.5g carbs.)
Generally speaking, bargain wines often contain higher amounts of sugar to compensate for a possible lesser richness or depth of flavor present, so be advised. Plus, dryer wines are always a better option over dessert-style wines when looking for a lower carb vino.
Stay away from sweet or dessert wines and other high-glycemic beverages like the following:
- Wine Coolers
- White Zinfandel
Light Beer (per one bottle or can serving)
- Corona Light (4.8 g carbs)
- Michelob Ultra Light (2.6g carbs)
- Coors Light (5g carbs)
- Beck’s Premier Light (4g carbs)
- Budweiser Select (.3g carbs)
- Budweiser Select 55 (.3g carbs)
Cider Seltzer Water
- White Claw (2g carbs per 12 fl. oz.)
- Truly Spiked (2g carbs per single serving)
- Nauti Seltzer (5g carbs per single serving)
There are clearly many adult beverages to choose from on a ketogenic diet, but then there are others that aren’t advisable as they are naturally higher in sugar—so stay clear. Make sure to pass on the following unless you are making keto friendly modifications to the ingredients:
- Bloody Mary
- Whisky Sour
- Piña Colada
- Regular Beer
Does Alcohol Spike Blood Sugar or Interrupt Ketosis?
Yes and no. Alcohol has the potential to spike blood sugar and interferes with metabolic ketosis when consumed in excess, but we can prevent this if we choose our drinks wisely and indulge in moderation.
Ideally, alcohol is not advised when folks are eating a ketogenic diet short-term, but it’s important to incorporate all elements of your lifestyle and make them work if any eating style is going to stick long-term.
We know you’ll likely allow a few extra drinks during the holidays, but as a general guideline it’s wise to adhere to the following guidelines for drinking alcohol on keto:
- Maximum of 1 drink per day for women
- Limit to 2 drinks per day for men
Does the Body Process Alcohol Differently on Keto?
You may notice something different about your alcohol tolerance, similar to how many reports experiencing appetite suppression in ketosis, the body will likely process alcohol differently, as well.
The body is void of overt carbohydrates in ketosis, and this causes alcohol to reach your bloodstream faster, so you feel its effects quicker—be advised.
So, as ketosis helps you effortlessly curb the appetite and avoid overeating by default, you may find that it takes a lot less to feel a lot more from your adult beverages when the body is running on fat and ketones.
Creative and Fun Ways to Ring in the New Year
2020 has been a year unlike any other and the ways we live, work, and interact with one another are entirely affected by the state of our times.
However, despite the normalization of celebrating life’s special moments via Zoom people continue to find new and innovative ways to maintain important relationships and connections with those they love, regardless of their geographic distance from one another.
Although holidays past may have been remiss without the huge in-person gatherings and celebrations—with people even traveling across the country to visit family or friends—this year’s observations will be more about staying local and finding other ways to demonstrate our thankfulness for what truly matters, our love for one another.
Although this year has forced us to pivot and adapt in many ways, it has also presented opportunities to find creative ways to stay in touch with important people in our lives in meaningful and unique ways.
Here are some clever and creative ways to celebrate the start of a new year, 2020 style:
- Dress up! Look, you do it for virtual schooling and work meetings and you’re not leaving the house to do that either! Honestly, when you look good you feel good, and a beautiful frock and some well-appointed accessories may be just what you need to set the proper festive tone.
- Create a Customized NYE Cocktail: We’ve provided a lot to work with as a jumping-off point to make a variety of low-carb cocktails for the holidays. However, it’s a fun exercise to concoct a clever cocktail to ring in the new year; make it personal and keep the concept fun.
Host a Family Video Call Fête: Look, we know you’ve glared at more virtual meeting interfaces than you’d probably like to admit this last year, but you must admit that the technology has its good points.
Curate a customized playlist of favorites and jam out to ring in the new year.
- Plan a Virtual Toast with Your Friends or Family: Again, virtual meeting spaces come to the rescue! Set up a toast immediately leading up to the dropping of the ball and ring in 2021 with your family and friends across the country, and around the world, virtually.
- Have a Movie Marathon Night: Sleepovers were the best growing up and the holidays are the perfect time to prep some keto snacks and hot chocolate, and binge on classic holiday flicks and new movies or a series that you can consume from start to finish in one extended satisfying sitting. Sounds like great family fun to us!
Declutter Your Space with a Purge Party: Crank up the tunes, break out the sanitizers, and refresh your space to enter the new year organized and with clear intentions.
We know next year will likely be different than any other in its own way, as well; use this exercise to focus on ways you want to better yourself that are within your control and release the rest.
- Line Charcuterie Platters with Keto-friendly Fare: New Years’ is a day to reflect, refresh, and renew as we start the new year. Pile a platter with cured and salted meats, prosciutto, olives, cucumber dill pickles, sauerkraut, and sweet, roasted red bell peppers to provide a nutrient-dense and tasty appetizer tray for all to enjoy.
- Ring in the New Year with Fun and Games: Celebrating the new year at home doesn’t have to be lame, quite the opposite. Break out the board games; challenge your family to an animated game of charades; or, tap into online gaming communities to connect with like-minded people virtually.
Make a marvelous New Year’s Day Brunch: If you take some of our tips to the task, you’re going to have an amazing New Year’s Eve and may get started a little later in the morning, or afternoon, on the first day of 2021.
No worries, sleep in and rest a bit, and ease into the eats with a buffet-style brunch set up with everything from keto crepes and beautiful berry fillings to a platter of crispy bacon or perfectly-seared sausage and fluffy eggs.
Decorate for the Occasion: Continue the holiday decorations and home decor enhancements and roll the theme into something vibrant and fresh for 2021.
Edit your home, revive old items, and keep them if you can, or get rid of unnecessary clutter to begin the year clear headed and feeling light.
- Make a Memory Jar: 2020 has been a challenging year, and many of us are looking forward to some relief in 2021. Be intentional about acknowledging all the good things—even the seemingly small ones—by adding a note or memento to a jar throughout the year and open your capsule to reflect on all your wins next December.
Skip the Whole Thing: Maybe a night snuggled under the covers watching great movies solo and having the TV watching you as the clock strikes 12 is exactly what you want and need to enter the new year recharged and ready to go.
Do whatever makes you happy, there’s no need to feel obligated to party your way into the new year.
Moderation is Key
Enjoy the holidays, you’ve made it through a trying year, and here’s a huge toast to that.
However, keep in mind that even if alcohol contains no carbs, as is the case with vodka, it does contain calories and that’s something to note if you are seeking to manage your weight.
Even if you place weight loss on the back burner for a couple of weeks and choose to loosen the dietary reigns a touch to celebrate the festivities, remember that calories still count to avoid a surplus that could derail this year’s progress.
We don’t know about you but we feel a longing for nostalgia hanging in the air this year. Wanting to catch even a slight whiff of mama’s sweet potato pie or incredibly soft and chewy homemade cookies may have you longing for home.
We get it, a need to connect and exchange love and appreciation with friends and family feels especially essential as we exit 2020.
Consider new and creative ways to connect with loved ones; the end is much more important than the means. The thought will truly be what counts and resonates with those with whom you chose to spend your time this holiday season.
Send handwritten cards and letters or a care package filled with low-carb wine, framed pictures, or other items your loved ones will treasure—they’ll love and appreciate the gift.
The new year is filled with potential and possibility and the opportunity for new beginnings, and I think we can all collectively toast to the possibility of that! Low-carb cheers and Happy New Year!
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