Real talk, no one gets into the holiday spirit with a festive salad. We party-hopped our way through the month of December with eggnog cocktails in one hand and crackers loaded with buffalo chicken dip in the other. Things may have gotten a little out of hand, but now we’re ready to hit the ground running toward our New Year’s resolutions. If you, like us, are looking to get back to a healthy routine and drop a few pounds, you may be wondering how to get started.
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to ditch wine to achieve your weight loss goals. *Hallelujah* The reality is that since alcohol lowers inhibitions, drinking alcohol can result in some bad eating habits (guilty!). But studies suggest that you can continue to drink wine and lose weight as long as you’re conscious of your calorie intake and exercise regularly. May we suggest pairing yoga with a celebratory glass of wine afterwards? If mindfulness is another one of your New Year’s ressies, you can kill two birds with one stone here.
So, which are the best wines to keep on your shelf this month? Thankfully, whether you’re a red (wine) head, a white knight, or a fizz fiend, you’ve got options. Generally speaking, you want to stick with low-calorie, low-carb wines. Say farewell (for now) to your tawny ports and your sweet sherries, and say hello to these light-bodied bottles.
Pinot Noir is a classic light red wine with only 121 calories and 3.4g carbs per 5 oz glass. Thankfully, it’s a very popular varietal, so there are many versions of Pinot to try. It’s made in a variety of regions, including Burgundy, Oregon, and Australia to name a few. Because of its light body, low tannins, and medium-high acidity, Pinot is relatively easy to pair with a range of foods including chicken, pork, and mushrooms. Plus, you can burn some extra calories dancing along to the iconic Kimmy Schmidt song made in this wine’s honor.
FYI, if you’d like to mix things up, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec are all in a similar range (120-122 calories, < 4g carbs). Go wild!
Light and fruity, Sauv blanc comes in at only 120 calories of 3g carbs per 5 oz glass. With crisp notes of lime, green apple, and its signature “green” flavor that’s sometimes described as bell pepper, Sauvignon blanc pairs well with salads, sushi, and dishes spiced with herbs like parsley, rosemary, basil, or mint. Sauvignon blanc is made all over the world, including Bordeaux, New Zealand, and South Africa, where you’ll find some budget-friendly bottles. It is similar to Spanish Albariño (118 calories), which pairs well with seafood. Looking for another light white wine to try? You’ll do just fine with a dry Riesling (118 calories and 5.5g of carbs) or Pinot Gris (122 calories and 3g of carbs).
If you have an extra bottle of Champagne lying around from the holidays, you can pop it open guilt-free this month. Dry sparkling wine is the lightest grape on the vine, coming in at just 96 calories and 1.5g carbs per 5 oz glass. Budget-friendly sparkling options include Cava, Crémant, and up-and-coming American sparkling wines. The main thing to keep an eye out for here is residual sugar. If you’re looking to limit your sugar intake, go for a dry sparkling. Bottles marked “Brut Nature” or “Brut” are the driest and lowest calorie varieties. Take a look at the complete range of options in this guide.
In Vino Finito
Choosing a low-cal wine varietal can help limit your overall calorie intake as you march bravely toward your New Year’s weight loss resolutions. If you’re tracking calories on an app, remember to keep an eye on the size of that pour -- calorie and carb stats are based on a 5 oz glass. Savor that glass or two alongside a healthy meal, and you’ll be well on your way. Happy New Year!