Let’s start with some basics:
· Different varietals have different calorie counts. Wines with a higher alcohol content,
like Zinfandel, are higher in calories.
· Sweet wines have a higher sugar count. More sugar, more calories.
· And, it’s not surprising that denser wines pack a bigger calorie punch than do their lighter counterparts.
In the interest of full disclosure, the difference between robust reds and dry whites is not much more than 10-20 calories per 5-ounce glass.
The good news? Sparkling wine is your lowest calorie option, weighing in at only 95 calories for the same 5 ounces. Champagne, however, not so kind. The sweeter bottles best the sparkling wines by 30 calories a glass.
On average, reds-- such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Super Tuscans, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Bordeaux blends-- each have about 125 calories per glass.
A glass of Chardonnay, which, incidentally, is the number one varietal in the USA, has about 118 calories.
So where does wine fit into your festive menu plans? It’s all about choices. I offer the following options:
Choose wine over eggnog.
Ounce for ounce, eggnog is packing 52% more calories than a nice Cab. Throw in a jigger of rum or brandy, (and why wouldn’t you?), and the number rises to 130%. The traditional Christmas Nog also has 10 grams of fat, and 85 mg of cholesterol. ‘Tis the season of giving.
Choose wine over fudge.
One 5-ounce piece has almost the same calorie count as 5 glasses of Pinot Noir.
Fat? You betcha, 25 grams. Cholesterol? 35 mg.
Choose wine over pecan pie.
One 5-ounce slice nets you 585 calories. Do I need to mention the fat and cholesterol?
No, but I will. 27 grams and 107 mg, respectively.
Choose wine over fruitcake.
In fairness, there is no more fruitcake. It died a slow, dense, fruity death years ago. Cal Trans snagged the last of them to use as anchors in those familiar orange safety cones. Before extinction, a 5-ounce slice weighed in at 460 calories. That’s the equivalent of 3 ½ glasses of a hearty Zin.
You get the picture. Wine is a relatively low-calorie, non-fat, no-cholesterol holiday staple. Opt for it instead of the higher calorie alternatives. Swirl it, sip it, toast with it and enjoy it. Happy Holidays.