A glass of wine with lunch, maybe a beer down the pub afterwards and some mulled wine later in the evening. Yes, it is the festive season again and with it comes the endless temptation to have a drink.
Drinking too much can cause weight gain, accidents and even damage your health. But ‘tis the season to be jolly after all, and most of us won’t want to cut out alcohol altogether. So here’s our guide to enjoying the holiday tipples healthier and happier.
Know what you’re drinking
This is easier said than done over Christmas. You might get a glass of champagne on arrival to your dinner that is put down, filled up by someone then picked up again. Same when around the table and the over-eager waiter endlessly tops up your wine glass for you. This makes it hard to know how much you’re drinking, and it’s easy to think you’ve drunk less than you have. That ‘one glass’ of wine could actually be closer to two or three. Don’t top up until you’ve finished and keep hold of your glass.
Alternate between soft and alcoholic drinks
Keeping hydrated is vital when drinking. Instead of going for a G&T, why not just go for the tonic the second time round. Peer pressure from friends can be a killer at Christmas, so when you want a soft drink, make it your round and drop the vodka from the vodka and orange, or ask your waiter to put your apple juice in a wine glass.
Be the designated driver for at least one Christmas party
The best way to reduce your drinking is to not drink at all. You’ll no doubt be invited to a number of Christmas parties, so volunteer to be the designated drinker for at least one. Not only will it give you a well-needed break from the booze but it’ll also make you very popular among friends who need a lift. Remember that if you are drinking you should leave your car and the car keys at home.
It’s hard when there’s so much alcohol around you. People will be making cocktails, opening expensive bottles of wine or dipping into the Christmas liqueurs. But try and keep track of what you are drinking and pace it. Even one drink an hour can, over the period of Christmas day, be too much. Start slowly otherwise you won’t be around for the rest of the day. And keep a physical marker of your drinking like a note on your phone for every drink. Also, make sure you have your own, distinctive glass so you don’t accidently pick up other peoples’ drinks.
Try these alcohol free, healthy alternatives
Mocktails – cocktail without alcohol – are not only tasty but also can be healthy. Opt for a Strawberry Fizz which includes lemonade and blended strawberries or an agua fresca filled with fresh fruit, a bit of sugar and some soda water. Transform your G&T into a cucumber, lime and tonic for a bit of refreshment. Mojitos can become a brilliant mid-day boost by removing the rum and adding some fresh ginger.
Just knowing how many calories are in your drinks could be enough to get you cut down:
- Two bottles of beer = 275 cals or the same as a steak
- Half a bottle of wine = 260 cals or half a pizza
- Alcopop = 237 cals or three chocolate teacakes
- 1 large glass wine = 228 cals or a cornetto
- Pint of cider = 210 cals or a doughnut
- Two glasses of champagne = 172 cals or a crème egg
To find out more about the calories in alcohol, click here.