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 our 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 Christmas 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 after Australia Day as you are going into Christmas.

On the Total Wellbeing Diet, we classify alcoholic drinks 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 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 2 standard drinks, so definitely don't drink too many of them.
  • Offer to be the designated driver so you have a good excuse for not drinking.

A drink is rarely a standard drink

A standard drink as defined by Health guidelines contains 10g 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 the Government considers 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 2 standard drinks per day and no more than 4 standard drinks on one occasion. Whereas the guidelines used to allow a higher intake for men, they are now the same for both women and men.

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