WINE 101: Have your wine & drink it, too!

My husband and I have begun putting more effort into eating healthier and getting into shape, not always an easy task. Luckily, we found a great way to do just that.

Since we are both “techies”, MyFitnessPal has proven to be a great tool for use to track what we are eating and how much we are exercising. The online version has a social site component and an iPhone app that keeps tabs of exercise and food consumption while on the go. The site has specific nutritional information for many brand name foods as well as restaurant dishes, which — in some cases — has been a pretty harsh reality check for us. As with all things, moderation and discipline is the key.

But … what about the wine?

My greatest concern when starting the fitness program was that there may not be much room for wine with my newfound lifestyle. After some research and consideration, I have found that it is not the case. In many ways, drinking wine can actually help your diet rather than hurting it.

Like most other beverages, wine for the most part contains what are known as “empty calories.” Based on information from the USDA, you will have about 100 calories in a red dry wine and about 95 in a dry white wine per 5 oz. serving. Sweeter wines will have more calories and carbohydrate content. Full-blown dessert wines, in general, have about 130 calories for a modest 3 oz. serving and 10 grams of carbohydrates. Wines that are dry but higher in alcohol, like many California Chardonnay and Zinfandel, are also higher in calories than typically lower alcohol wines of Pinot Noir and Gamay.

Given all this seemingly disheartening information, there is still some upside to keeping wine in your diet. Here are four ways to keep your glass full while trying to slim your waistline.

Quality, not quantity

A good wine has a lot of complex flavors and can be savored and enjoyed with your meal. If you are normally a soda drinker or beer drinker, wine can help keep your beverage consumption in check. While the calories are comparable (non-diet soda has about 150 calories for a 16 oz. serving and a 12 oz. light beer has about 110 calories), you are much more likely to consume a greater amount of beer or soda with a meal than wine.

Because both beer and soda are cold and carbonated, each tends to go down the hatch more easily. If you’re ordering several of these in one sitting, you’re sure to go home with either a sugar rush or alcohol buzz, and a guilty feeling for your high calorie consumption. When drinking a full-bodied wine with a meal, stick to one glass — it should able to satisfy you from start to finish.

Wine helps you slow down

When you enjoy a meal with wine, it can help slow down your eating. Make sure to savor and enjoy the way the food and wine enhance one another. Instead of simply being a liquid to “wash down” your meal, the wine helps you enjoy the flavors of the meal. According to the online medical gurus of WebMD, by eating slowly, you are less likely to overeat because your brain has time to register the fact that you are full. Wine, friends and good conversation go a long way in improving the enjoyment of a meal and making it a more satisfying experience.

Wine is highly versatile

No matter what kind of drink you are craving, you can find the right wine to fit the bill. Mixed drinks have a double-whammy of calories and sugar, from the combined alcoholic calories and sugar in the mixers. Your basic Margarita packs a love-handle worth of calories: 550 calories for a 1 pint glass! You can enjoy a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, which has the same great sweet and sour aspects with much less calories. Since different wines have so many different flavor components from fruity to spicy to citrus to smooth-honey, you can always find something to fit your mood.

Wine makes a great dessert

A great dessert wine makes a wonderful dessert, all by itself. You can enjoy an ice wine, Passito di Pantelleria or Port, which will take care of your craving for sweets with much less of a caloric hit than many other desserts. Even better, if you choose to enjoy a dessert wine in addition to dessert, its richness will help satisfy you with a much smaller portion of dessert. A small piece of dark chocolate with a nice glass of port is heavenly, full of antioxidants and, in moderation, will not ruin your diet.

Follow these four easy guidelines and you can “have your wine and drink it too,” while keeping your diet in check.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *