“Some people are just going to have three drinks either way, so the light beer works for them,” White said. “Ask yourself, are you drinking more beer because you’re drinking light beer?”
Most red and white wines are between 100 and 150 calories per glass. Red wines contain the skin of the grape and have extra antioxidants, though white wine may also have some benefits. When choosing a wine, pay attention to sugar content.
“Don’t feel like you have to drink red wine in the summer,” White said. “I mean do, if you want to, but don’t feel like you have to.”
Watch your mixers
Most hard liquors contain between 80 and 200 calories for a 1.5 ounce shot. The important cocktail decisions come in when you’re picking a mixer.
Sugary mixers like sodas and processed sports drinks add up. A 12-ounce glass of rum and cola runs around 285 calories, while a shot of vodka mixed with club soda will only cost you 70 calories. White recommends choosing natural, hydrating mixers such as coconut water or fresh-pressed fruit juice.
Warning: It’s unwise to mix alcohol, which is a depressant, with a stimulant such as caffeine, so lay off the Red Bull concoctions.
“You don’t want to be drinking a ton of energy drink and alcohol at the same time,” Satrazemis said. “When you increase your heart rate with caffeine, you’re pumping the alcohol through your system faster.”
Perhaps more dangerous than drinking is the mindless munching that often goes with it. Alcohol can impair judgment, making partygoers more likely to eat what’s at hand, even when they’re not hungry.
When it comes to choosing party snacks, it’s better to go with carbohydrates than fats because your body can process them faster, Satrazemis said. The carbs also will help raise your blood sugar, which drops with alcohol intake. Pretzels are an OK choice, but hydrating fruits and veggies are even better.
“You don’t want to go for chicken wings or french fries or anything like that, because your body will just store that as fat,” she said. “Fruit is a great option because you get carbs and natural electrolytes that will help you in the long run. Paying attention to what you eat does matter.”