By Nav Sharma, RD
The holiday season is upon us, and that often means festive gatherings, toasts, and celebratory clinks of glasses filled with alcohol. While enjoying a drink or two is a tradition for many, it’s essential to strike a balance between celebrating and staying mindful of your health and waistline, especially during this indulgent time of year. As a registered dietitian, I’m here to help you navigate the world of alcohol consumption with some tips and healthier drink options that won’t leave you feeling guilty.
The Art of Mindful Drinking
Set Your Limits: Start by setting clear boundaries for yourself when it comes to alcohol. Decide in advance how many drinks you’ll have (if any) and stick to it. Remember that moderation is key.
Stay Hydrated: Alternating between alcoholic drinks and water can help you stay hydrated and pace yourself, reducing the risk of overindulging.
Choose Quality Over Quantity: Opt for high-quality spirits or wine. The better the quality, the more you’ll savour each sip, making you less likely to consume excessive amounts.
Know Your Triggers: Identify the situations or emotions that lead you to drink excessively and develop healthier coping mechanisms. Sometimes, we turn to alcohol when we’re stressed, bored, or anxious.
Pause And Think: Before reaching for a drink, take a moment to reflect. Ask yourself if you actually want an alcoholic beverage or if you are influenced by a habit or social pressure. Being mindful of your decisions empowers you to make choices aligned with your well-being.
Healthier Drink Options
Wine: A glass of red or white wine can be a great choice. They are lower in calories compared to cocktails, and red wine, in particular, contains antioxidants like resveratrol, which can be good for your heart. The key here again is moderation; while 1-2 glasses can be a good choice, more may not be.
Light Beer: If you prefer beer, opt for a light version. They have fewer calories and less alcohol content than regular beers. There are also some great alcohol-free beers now available.
Seltzers: Hard seltzers are all the rage, and for a good reason. They are usually lower in calories and sugar than many cocktails. Just be sure to check the label for added sugars.
Cocktail Modifications: If you can’t resist a cocktail, ask the bartender for modifications. For example, request a drink with less sugar, or use soda water instead of regular soda for a lower-calorie option.
Mocktails: Don’t forget about the non-alcoholic options. Many places now offer delicious mocktails that mimic the taste and experience of alcoholic drinks without the alcohol.
Calories and Mixers Matter
Keep in mind that the mixers used in cocktails can significantly increase the calorie and sugar content of your drink. Opt for light or diet versions of mixers or consider using fresh fruit and herbs for natural flavour and sweetness. Also, watch your portion sizes, as larger glasses can lead to overconsumption.
Responsible Drinking for the Holidays
Although Canada has issued some new (lower) guidelines around safe alcohol consumption, the holidays are a time to enjoy the company of friends and family, and alcohol can be part of the celebration. Being mindful of your alcohol consumption can help you enjoy the season while still taking care of your health. Remember, it’s not about deprivation but about making choices that align with your well-being goals.
Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday season! 🥂
This content is meant to provide information and ideas, but it is not a substitute for professional medical, health, or dietary advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider, such as a registered dietitian, for personalized nutrition advice.
Learn more about alcohol recommendations: https://www.ccsa.ca/sites/default/files/2023-01/CCSA_Canadas_Guidance_on_Alcohol_and_Health_Final_Report_en.pdf
Learn more about finding help: https://helpwithdrinking.ca/getting-help/where-to-start/
Do you aspire to take control of your healthy habits?
Starting your healthy habit development with nutrition provides you with a strong foundation for overall well-being, promoting sustained energy, mental clarity, and physical vitality. By focusing on what you eat, you lay the groundwork for a healthier lifestyle. Team up with a registered dietitian! Learn more: https://nutriprocan.ca/services/healthy-eating-coaching/