During the holidays alcohol is as prevalent as red sweaters – it flows freely at office parties, open houses, and family gatherings. And unless you’re battling substance abuse difficulties, there’s no reason you should deny yourself the pleasure of a drink or two – as long as you do so safely and in moderation. The problem, of course, is the high calorie content of many alcoholic beverages – and the way the body handles those calories. Alcohol tends to be broken down first, thus disrupting your body’s processing and absorption of healthy nutrients. You can keep the beverage calories in check by opting for wine, lite beer and diet sodas as mixers. Also, try alternating between plain old water and alcohol, which will keep you hydrated and less prone to hangovers the morning after.
And now, here are a few Best Bets for imbibing in holiday spirits without dooming your diet:
A glass of Chardonnay or Merlot
120 calories per 5 ounce serving
453 calories per 8 ounce serving
Miller or Amstel Light Beer
93 calories per 12 ounces
Sam Adams or Heineken
160 calories per 12 ounces
Rum and Diet Coke
65 calories per 1 ounce of rum
644 calories per 6 ounce serving
Vodka and Diet Soda
64 calories per 1 ounce 80 proof vodka
320 calories per 1.5 ounces 80 proof vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream
Sugar Free Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps
185 calories per 1.5 ounces Schnapps
405 calories per 6 ounce serving
Gin and Diet Tonic
115 calories per 7.5 ounce serving
Long Island Iced Tea
780 calories per 12 ounce serving
One last thing – think safety while drinking at holiday parties:
- Remember that tens of thousands of people die each year in alcohol related automobile accidents. Impaired driving actually begins with the first drink – so it’s really never completely safe to drive after drinking.
- Pace yourself – no more than one drink per hour. The body simply can’t process alcohol any faster. Alternate with non-alcoholic beverages or water.
- Be sure to eat – never drink on an empty stomach because this causes the alcohol to enter the bloodstream much faster.
- If you’re hosting a gathering, be sure to plan in advance any accommodations you’ll need to make for inebriated guests when the party is over. Recruit designated drivers ahead of time and never allow intoxicated guests to drive away. Look up the local cab company’s phone number and be prepared to call for rides home for your revelers. You might also plan a “cut-off” time for alcoholic beverages well in advance of the party’s ending and have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available throughout the event.