Enjoy a Beer...the Low-cal Way

Dieting can be hard. Sometimes the most difficult part is giving up some of the things you love, including chocolate, chips and alcohol — well, those are my favorites, at least. In the summer, it always seems harder to quell those urges, but it’s the perfect time to enjoy an ice-cold beer on the porch or by the pool, and snacks always go hand in hand with the beach. But fear not, you don’t always have to give up all of the things that you enjoy.

There are plenty of low-calorie, low-carb options with mostly everything these days. But let’s talk about beer, because quarantining ain’t easy!

Keep in mind, studies show light to moderate beer consumption can benefit your health. Though it often depends on what type of beer, or what ingredients make up the beer — many have B vitamins, potassium, calcium, thiamine, iron and zinc. Everyone needs to get their vitamins in somehow, right? Beer also has many antioxidant qualities that have been known to improve the HDL (the good) cholesterol in the body and help remove the LDL (the bad) cholesterol. Additionally, beer can help lower the risk of heart disease, aid in bone density and lower one’s risk of dementia. Of course, all of these benefits are only true when consuming beer lightly (up to one drink a day for women is recommended and two for men). Heavy drinking can cause the complete opposite and is advised against.

Now, what do you do if you want to reap all of these health benefits but don’t want to pack on a beer belly? Crack open an ice cold, low-calorie light beer! Statistically, light beers have about half of the calories as their counterparts. Your average beer runs at about 200 calories per bottle or can.

I’m not going to lie, though, when I think of low-calorie beer, the first thing that comes to mind is low-quality. Before craft beers became popular and small local breweries started popping up all over the country, light beers were exactly that: light. Light on the alcohol, light on the flavor and not very appealing. Light beers haven’t always had the same flavor and body as a regular beer, but with the rise of craft beers, there seems to be a rise in more flavorful options that certainly aren’t lackluster.

Don’t get me wrong, the less flavorful light beer versions have their place. Whether you’re not into the strong flavor of beer or would rather the lower alcohol content. Sometimes, those light beers are easier going down and there is no shortage of options available. The top three contenders for commercial light beers are Miller Lite with 92 calories and 3.2 gram of carbs, Coors Light with 102 calories and 5 grams of carbs and Bud Light with 110 calories and 6.6 grams of carbs. You can also find light beer options from Michelob, Corona, Busch, Guinness, Heineken, Sam Adams and more. These are all similar in calories and carbs. Really, it just depends on preference.

If you’d like to get adventurous or are bored with your normally preferred drink, there are some more flavorful lower-calorie options. Below is a list of eight popular low-cal craft beers:

Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty: This “Lo-Cal IPA” includes notes of pineapple, coconut, mango and citrus, along with a nice hoppy flavor. This beer comes in at only 95 calories and 3.6 grams of carbs.

Sufferfest Repeat Kolsch: This is a balanced, full-bodied kolsch, with added bee pollen; it has just 95 calories and 5 grams of carbs.

Lagunitas DayTime: Lagunitas refers to this beer as a “fractional IPA.” It is very hop-forward and only has 98 calories and 3.6 grams of carbs.

Goose Island So-Lo IPA: This beer has citrus and herbal notes with a balanced bitter hop flavor. Just 98 calories and 9 grams of carbs.

Kona Light Blonde Ale: At 99 calories and 4 grams of carbs, this smooth light beer has a crisp tropical flavor.

Harpoon Rec League: This has a citrus hop flavor with notes of grapefruit, orange, mango and papaya, and only has 102 calories and 10 grams of carbs.

Allagash Brewing Company River Trip: This Belgian-style blonde ale is spiced with coriander. It has 128 calories and 7.9 carbs.

Indeed Mexican Honey Light: Brewed with honey, orange and lime peel, this lager is a little higher in calories, coming in at 140 per 12-ounce serving.