For many families, alcohol and the holidays go hand in hand. Some use drinking to wind down while others enjoy the festive flavors and use it to have more fun.
Plus, the holidays can be overwhelming! Not to mention adding a global pandemic to the mix. This is especially true if you’re watching the scale. However, it’s not just about sweet treats and rich comfort foods. Alcohol can pose a problem for holiday weight management as well.
Alcohol and Your Weight
When we consume food, we generally do so for energy and nutrition. On the other hand, alcohol is consumed mostly for entertainment as there is very little nutrition involved. When we drink, these are some of alcohol’s effects on the body:
- Appetite – May increase with alcohol consumption.
- Calories – Many alcoholic beverages are loaded with extra sugar and calories.
- Judgment – May be impaired after drinking. This can affect what choices you make regarding food, drinking and getting physical activity.
Tips to Make Smarter Choices
A little indulgence during the holidays is okay if you do it in moderation. This time of year, family recipes and traditions are abundant, and stores advertise so many tempting choices. Being prepared will help you make mindful and healthy decisions while still enjoying the season.
Set a Drinking Limit
Before attending an event where alcohol is served or before you take your first sips at home, set a limit. Maybe you cut yourself off after one or two small drinks so you don’t overindulge. With a limit in mind, you can pace yourself and make more mindful choices.
Eat Beforehand and Drink More Water
Don’t go to any social gatherings or lounge around at home on an empty stomach. Curb your appetite with healthy and nutritious snacks and meals so you are less likely to hover around the food and drink table or refrigerator. A good idea is to pair healthy carbs and proteins such as apples, peanut butter and something whole-wheat. Drinking lots of water to stay hydrated can also help curb your appetite. These tips should help you focus less on eating and drinking and more on enjoying your surroundings.
Customize Your Drink
You can customize almost any drink to make it more weight management-friendly. Many drinks come with “light” or “skinny” options that are lower in calories. You can also find many low-calorie and low-sugar mixers to add-in. For other drinks, simply omitting the syrups and whipped cream can make a big difference. If you want to add a sweet and fruity taste to your drink, consider freshly sliced fruit or citrus wedges.
For more tips on staying healthy during the holidays, click here.