Healthy Drinking / Unwind, enjoy a drink, but…

Dietician CLARE WOLSKI says a lot of the nutritional focus at Christmas goes to what we are eating but, what about what we drink? Can we keep a lid on the Christmas calories just by […]

AT most Christmas parties, you’re likely to find beer, wine, cider and cocktails… and, of course, it’s okay to unwind after a long year with a nice frosty beverage.

Clare Wolski

Clare Wolski.

But as we all know, alcoholic drinks come with a high caloric price tag and it can be easy for your energy intake to creep up with a few glasses of Christmas cheer. We are also more likely to snack and nibble on other Christmas treats once good old alcohol has lowered our inhibitions.

So, be mindful when drinking alcohol:

  • Map out a Christmas calendar and pick the events you want to drink at and the ones you don’t.
  • Develop and practice some dialogue for when you are offered alcohol and you didn’t plan on drinking.
  • Offer to drive to an event.
  • If you are choosing to drink, alternate with mineral water or another beverage.

Sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks aren’t healthy options. They are high in energy and very low in nutrients. But, for many people, soft drinks are synonymous with parties and celebrations.

Rather than stocking the fridge with all the possible flavours “just in case”, pick one flavour and only buy enough to drink on the day or at the one occasion.

After the day or occasion, store the bottles out of the fridge and somewhere out of the way. Or, even better, tip the excess down the sink.

A simple way to watch calories for anyone trying to manage weight over the festive season is to swap to a diet soft drink. But, that’s the only favour it’s doing for you. Diet or “sugar-free” beverages aren’t harmful if you’re drinking them on special occasions, but they don’t have any health benefit either.

Staying well hydrated is so important over the warmer months and can help you feel better during the Christmas period.

Research in athletes has shown that being dehydrated increases the perceived effort of an activity and can inhibit performance. The same applies for the everyday person. When we aren’t well hydrated, everything seems harder.

Drinking water throughout the holiday period can help with energy levels and recovery from festive parties.

The bonus of alternating water with other beverages is that you reduce the number of calories you drink over a time. Instead of getting through a six-pack at one gathering, you’ll probably end up having three or four. Even if you do have all six, you have given your body a bit of a buffer to process that alcohol.

More mindful drinking with water includes marking a bottle or jug with goals for consumption throughout the day. Spacing it out reduces the chances of “busting” for the loo.

And make a “mocktail” for guests by flavouring water with fruits and small amounts of juice.

Clare Wolski is a practising dietitian at The Healthy Eating Hub, call 6174 4663.


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