Healthy Drinking This Christmas

This season, it can be difficult to not go OTT on the alcohol, as well as food. But is it so bad to have a nice glass of red wine? A vodka and soda? A light beer? Which one is better? But still enjoyable?!

It is often easy to follow a nutritional plan, but when it comes to socialising, avoiding alcohol seems as possible as walking on water! So what is the best choice?

I think before you enter into the Christmas period (or any period of socials and exposure to lots of tasty foods!) you should think about what YOU want. What are your goals during this period?

  • To enjoy yourself and ‘let go’?
  • To try to maintain a level of weight but also enjoy yourself?
  • To keep on plan with what you are doing?

When you decide what it is you want, you can go into the festive season knowing you are going to do whatever it is that you want to do because you are doing it for YOU, not for social pressure or doing something blindly and then feeling guilty about.

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If you want to keep on plan with what you are doing nutrition wise.

If this is your choice this festive season, then you will not feel the need to join the social drinking and find it easy, your desire, goals and pleasure is not in the drinking alcohol but knowing that you are opting for a alcohol free beverage because your wants are to stay on track with the plan you have worked hard to achieve so far.

When I am in this sort of frame of mind, I love drinking low calorie tonic and lime, even though there are some calories, it’s such a refreshing drink and often can taste quite like gin and tonic. All the taste, pleasure and refreshment with none of the alcohol!

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If you want to try to maintain a level of weight but also enjoy yourself?

Choosing the more healthy food option at dinner or lunch can be much easier than actually dipping out of the alcohol. Alcohol contains carbohydrates and large amounts of calories, which is why when you are on a weight management nutritional program or trying to lose body fat you tend to decrease or eliminate this from the plan. If you are looking to try and maintain a weight level this Christmas but also enjoy yourself by drinking alcohol because you know that you won’t be able to resist it then you need to accommodate the calorie intake of the alcohol by not over doing it with the food options. You cant have it all!; lots of food, alcohol and achieving weight management! If you want to enjoy yourself and have alcohol I suggest that you opt for the healthier food option and choose some of the below drinks. Although, they are still calorie high, so binge drinking won’t help this cause either. ‘Enjoying’ yourself doesn’t mean getting blind drunk, stay happy and healthy and live in relation to what it is you want.

  1. Spirits – often called hard liquor, include gin, vodka, rum, whiskey, tequila and brandy. One serving of these are similar at about 97 calories and 0 carbs. Drinking one serving straight or on ice won’t wreak havoc on a diet, but remember everything in moderation!
  2. Mixers – Be careful! Even the much beloved tonic water sets you back nearly 90 calories. Keep it simple, and drink straight up. If you need to mix, go for a light tasting mineral water, seltzer or club soda..

 

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If you want to enjoy yourself and ‘let go’?

Ok so if this is what you want, I would like you to embrace it and not go on a guilt trip after! Which is what most of us girls do, and it just makes it worse. It’s OK to take time off; time off from pounding the pavements, strict(ish) nutritional programs and hectic work schedules. Enjoy the time off and come back strong in January. But, if this is your choice we have some suggestions to alcohol that will also help. Alcohol isn’t always bad (if your goal is not to maintain weight or lose body fat) and it does have some elements that have great sources of antioxidants. See our heir-achy list of drinks that provide more than just empty calories and can be a good choice if this is what you want:

  1. Red Wine – Red wine has the biggest health benefit with the fewest carbs and additives. Another bonus with red? Resveratrol – that super antioxidant, able to combat cancer and reduce signs of ageing, among other features. Although they contain carbs, red wine has benefits.
  2. Wood Aged Spirits (particularly Whiskey, Brandy, Scotch and Cognac) – Research has found impressive antioxidant activity in Bourbon whiskey, Armagnac brandy and cognac.
  3. White Wines – If you’re a diehard white wine lover, don’t sweat you’ll still enjoy a healthful dose of antioxidants for around 3-5 grams of carbs.

 

Cocktails

Cocktails are a diet disaster because they often mix spirits or liqueurs with mixers, upping their calorie and carb count. Popular mixers include soda, margarita mix and juice. Average cocktails contain 140 to 170 or more calories per serving. Although one cocktail won’t derail a diet, making them a habit will prevent weight loss and can even cause weight gain!