How to Order a Healthier Margarita

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Today is #NationalMargaritaDay! Did you know that there’s now an official definition of what a margarita is? According to Webster, it’s “a cocktail consisting of tequila, lime or lemon juice, and an orange-flavored liqueur.”

However, when you’re at a restaurant or bar, you’ll more commonly see margarita mixes, sweet and sour mixes, and lots of sugar in use. Especially in their “House Margaritas.” These take what can be a “healthier” drink (relative to other cocktails) and turn it into a sugar bomb that will wreak havoc on your system.

Before you order your next margarita, watch out for these unhealthy gotchas:

Margarita mix / Sweet & Sour mix.

Pre-made mixes are generally higher in sugar, contain high fructose corn syrup, and synthetic dyes. Even if the mix is made in-house, it could include 1 part sugar which adds up quickly in your body.

Fake/artificial lime juice.

You’ll want your margarita to be made with real fresh lime juice and not the fake lime juices or lime cordials (Roses Lime Juice is an example of a lime cordial). These tend to contain preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and synthetic dyes.

Fake sugars like sucralose.

These artificial sugars are commonly used in pre-made/store-bought mixes. Artificial sugars are chemicals and toxins which affect your body’s detoxification process.

Fruity margaritas.

Fruity margaritas generally have higher sugar – not from fruit, but from the “fruit flavor” and added sugars to give it that sweeter flavor. Not to mention added dyes to get that eye-appealing color.

“House” Margaritas (most).

In general, a “house margarita” is the margarita the bar/restaurant wants you to order. It usually contains cheaper ingredients and has added sugars and artificial flavors and colors. Not to mention a lower quality tequila that will also have added sugar if not 100% pure. While it can be tempting to go for the Happy Hour 2-for-1 House Marg deal, I recommend steering away.

“Low Carb” margaritas.

A low-carb margarita is another word for “contains artificial sugars.” Fake sugars are seen as toxins in the body, so steer clear of this “low carb” marketing label.

Agave isn’t healthy.

Most are surprised to see agave on the “watch out for” list. Despite what you may have heard, agave (as in agave sugar) isn’t healthy or a healthier option. Agave sugar is still sugar. Best to limit your intake by asking for “less to no agave syrup” in your drink.

My go-to margarita: Reposado on the rocks, with a splash of fresh lime juice, and an orange wedge to add sweetness as needed. #NationalMargaritaDay
My go-to “margarita”

How to Order a Healthier Margarita:

My personal go-to is tequila with fresh lime juice. I order it on the rocks but can also ask for club soda. For some sweetness, I ask for an orange wedge so I can adjust the sweetness.

So now that you know the gotchas, here’s how to order a healthier margarita:

  • Ask for tequila on the rocks with a lime wedge or two. Ask for an orange wedge if you need to sweeten it up a little. This is my personal go-to. I prefer to have Tequila Reposado as it provides a deeper flavor than the more traditional Silver/Blanco tequilas.
  • Order a “Coin” margarita. Ask for light to no agave/ simple syrup.
  • Order “Skinny” margarita, only it doesn’t have fake sugar (you’ll have to ask your server/bartender). Ask for light to no agave/simple syrup.
  • Tequila neat/straight up with a lime
  • Ask to swap in Triple Sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier in place of a margarita mix, sugar, or agave.

Next time you’re wanting to order a margarita, try one of my healthier options above. While tequila – and alcohol in general – is not “healthy,” these modifications will reduce the sugar, chemicals, toxins, and dyes your ingesting.

And don’t forget to hydrate! Alcohol is a diuretic and is dehydrating, so remember to drink water before and between you imbibe.

Cheers to your health!

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Danielle Atcheson, NBC-HWC, CHN, LMC, CGP

Danielle Atcheson, NBC-HWC, CHN, LMC, CGP

Danielle Atcheson is on a mission to inspire healthier living using the power of micro-habits.

She’s a popular speaker, a board-certified health & wellness coach, and founder of One Degree Health.

As a former Fortune 500 executive, she knows firsthand how a busy schedule can interfere with prioritizing our health.

Danielle started One Degree Health to share her Micro-Habit Mindset and wellness formula with other busy professionals through engaging workshops, online coaching & nutrition programs, and private coaching.

Founder & Chief Wellness Officer, One Degree Health; Functional Nutritionist, Lifestyle Medicine Specialist, Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Gluten-Free Practitioner, Plant-Based Nutrition certified from Cornell University.

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