Alcohol and Christmas can be a happy mix

21 December 2012

Christmas is a time of celebrating and coming together for fun with family. All too easily, however, alcohol intakes become excessive and can change the occasion to a less happy, family one. Taranaki DHB Public Health Unit has some tips to keeping the alcohol in balance. The balance keeps you safe and also helps to not put on extra “Christmas kilos”.

Whenever serving alcohol, always have plenty of substantial food on offer. This slows down the absorption of alcohol and reduces the likelihood of getting intoxicated quickly. Interesting breads and dips, bread- case savouries and vegetable-topped pizzas are substantial but don’t have the fat content of fried foods or pastry items. Getting people to bring something keeps everyone involved and isn’t too much work for the host.

When planning a party also plan some fun activities. This way everyone has an excellent time and it’s not centered on alcohol. It doesn’t have to cost money – get out the old sports gear or party games and encourage everyone to have a go.

Any drinks containing alcohol will have a high energy (calorie) content.
- a 750 ml bottle of beer contains the same calories as a large chocolate muffin
- a large (200ml) glass of wine has the same calories as ½ a small round of camembert cheese.
For this reason alone, it is best to moderate drinking. The extra food eaten at Christmas is enough to add a few kilos, let alone an excess of alcohol as well!

Try alternating drink containing alcohol with non-alcoholic drinks, especially if you are drinking over a long period of time. For example, follow a glass of wine with a glass of water. You will still have a drink in your hand but are drinking only half the amount of alcohol and keeping well hydrated, especially important if it is a hot summer’s afternoon or evening. Water is the most preferred drink as it has no calories. Soda water and diet soft drinks are also calorie-free.

Mocktails, or alcohol-free cocktails, are a bit more festive and the energy content can be minimised depending upon the ingredients chosen.

Grenadine Mocktail

Mix diet ginger ale with alcohol-free Grenadine syrup. Serve with a cherry
Mix together ½ cup orange juice, ½ cup soda water, 1 tbsp grenadine syrup
Serve with a slice of orange.

By Jill Nicholls, Public Health Unit

For more information please call
Sue Carrington
Media Adviser
Ph 021 367 789

Last updated: Friday, December 21, 2012

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