Tips to drink less this Christmas

Healthy Christmas drinking tips

The run-up to Christmas means parties, eating out and enjoying the odd alcoholic beverage. The pressure to take part in all the social occasions is immense so it's best to figure out how to do it as responsibly as possible.

According to the CSIRO Healthy Diet Score Report, alcohol is a major contributor to our intake of discretionary foods – that is, foods that have no nutritional value. Alcohol intake increases the older we get and it is people over 50 who drink the most.

One thing to keep in mind during the festive season is that it's easy to write off the whole month as a lost cause when it comes to taking care of yourself. That is a very unhelpful attitude to take! Instead you should aim to be in the same shape and fitness in January as you are going into Christmas.

On the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, alcoholic drinks are classified as indulgences together with other non-nutritious foods like potato chips, chocolate and ice cream. The trick is to allow these as a part of your healthy diet but always stick to a limit.

Tips for drinking alcohol and eating out

Eating out and enjoying a drink go hand-in-hand – it's always a treat to have a delicious meal (that you don't have to cook!) accompanied by a great glass of wine or a refreshing beer.

However, alcohol can stimulate your appetite and make it easier to overeat, so keep these tips in mind before you order a drink at your favourite restaurant.

  • Decide beforehand how many drinks you can afford from a diet perspective, and stick to that quota.
  • Order wine by the glass, not the bottle. Buying a bottle means you feel you should finish it.
  • Sip water between drinks to slow down your intake of alcohol – make at least every second drink a glass of water. That should help with the hangover too!
  • Avoid top-ups from the waiter – it's hard to track how much wine you've consumed if your glass is being automatically refilled.
  • Many cocktails contain two standard drinks, so don't drink too many of them.
  • Offer to be the designated driver so you have a good excuse for not drinking.

Check out some more holiday season health tips: Christmas health tips for your Diet Type

A drink is rarely a standard drink

A standard drink as defined by health guidelines contains 10 grams alcohol but alcoholic products usually contain more than that. This means that a bottle of beer or a glass of wine usually is more than what is considered a standard drink.

Different alcoholic beverages vary widely in the amount of alcohol they contain, so by law the label on the bottle/can must indicate how many standard drinks are in that container.

Know your limits

The National Health and Medical Research Council recommend that healthy people drink no more than four standard drinks per day and no more than 10 standard drinks a week. Whereas the guidelines used to allow a higher intake for men, they are now the same for both women and men.

Looking for weight loss motivation, dinner inspiration or exercise ideas? Check out the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet blog or take a look at some of our delicious, healthy recipes

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