4 Tips to Avoid Holiday Drinking Pitfalls
During the winter holidays and summertime, alcohol consumption tends to be at its peak. Between happy hour events, holiday parties or even just winding down from a stressful day, there is no shortage of opportunities for alcohol intake this time of year.
Here are a few tips to help you make healthier drinking choices, wherever the holiday season takes you.
4 Tips to Make Healthier Drinking Choices this Holiday Season
- Eat something before you begin to drink. If you drink on an empty stomach, it can damage your stomach lining and liver. It also causes a blood sugar spike, which can lead to memory loss. Have a meal or a snack before you head out to an event where you know there will be beverages that you’d like to enjoy.
- Hydrate! Drink a cup of water in between alcoholic beverages to rehydrate and to slow down the pace of your alcohol intake.
- Set a goal of how many drinks you want to have per week and stick to it! The daily recommendation is one alcoholic beverage for women or two alcoholic beverages for men, which equates to seven per week for women or 14 per week for men. Try to spread out your alcohol intake throughout the week instead of having all of your drinks in one night.
- Check in with yourself. Do you really want to have a drink at that event? Or are you just drinking because everyone else is? If you want to feel fresh the next day, it’s okay not to drink. A great alternative is to get a club soda with lime and ask them to put it in the same cup as alcoholic beverages so other people don’t ask, “Why aren’t you drinking?”
Keep in mind that alcohol consumption usually leads to other poor health choices. You may find that you skip your workout the next day because you are hungover and/or that you eat more food later at night after you drink. These things add up quickly.
What to Consider When Choosing Alcohol
Consider the calories and sugar content of alcoholic beverages you choose to consume.
Did you know that a 4-ounce glass of red wine contains only 95 calories, whereas a margarita contains 550 calories? That’s a big difference!
Additionally, juices and sodas are loaded with sugar. There is already plenty of sugar from the alcohol itself, so be careful not to add more.
Preferable Alcohol Choices
As you can see, this is not a recommendation to completely cut out alcoholic beverages this holiday season. It’s simply important to pay attention to how much you drink and what type of drinks you have.
Tips for Specific Types of Alcohol:
- Wine: stay away from the sweeter wines, like champagne or rose, whenever possible.
- Beer: select lighter beers and avoid darker beers and IPAs.
- Mixed drinks: skip mixers, like juice and soda. Try water instead. Ask the bartender to leave out the added sugar when they make a drink for you.
If you make a drink at home and want a healthier mixer, consider using kombucha or another sparkling probiotic drink. You’ll still want to make sure there are less than 5 g of sugar per serving with these mixers.
Alcohol and Stress
It’s easy to turn to a glass of alcohol to take the edge off at the end of a busy day or week. This might temporarily help you feel better but keep in mind that it doesn’t actually resolve the problems you face. You may find that having an alcoholic beverage actually makes you feel sluggish the next day or affects your sleep, which in turn contributes to your overall stress levels. If you find yourself getting into this habit, start to build in some healthier stress reduction tools into your week such as going for walks outside, getting a massage, taking a yoga class, doing some breathing exercises several times per day, getting a workout in or meditating (if even for a short period of time).
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Have a happy and healthy end to 2017!
This wellness tip is brought to you by Amy of Nourished Balance.