Party Smart With Wiser Drink Choices
New Year’s Eve is nearly here. Traditionally one of the biggest party nights of the year, it’s tough to navigate NYE without a glass in one hand. Of course, you don’t have to drink at all. But if you do want to indulge in a tipple or two, it’s worthwhile thinking about how to minimise the impact of alcohol with these smarter choices.
Most people now know that infrequent binge drinking is much worse for us than small amounts on a more regular basis. So, before you indulge, just be aware of the facts. “Binge drinking” is defined by the NHS as just six or more units of alcohol (for women). What’s a unit? Well, a small (125ml) glass of 11% wine is 1.4 units and a large glass (250ml) is 2.8. At house parties and dinner parties, you’re likely to consume more wine than you’d estimate! A large (70ml) serving of 38-40% vodka is also 2.8 units.
Generally speaking, the clearer the alcohol, the less likely it is to give you an aching head. Vodka and gin are better choices than coloured spirits, which are likely to contain more toxic compounds (like acetone, acetaldehyde and tannins) than their clearer counterparts. But don’t think this means you can drink more of the clear stuff. Whatever the source, alcohol acts in the same way. As well as giving you an aching head, alcohol is chock-full of sugar (ie empty calories) and acts as a toxin.
Add Ice and Mixers
Ice is a great way to dilute your drink and will encourage you to drink more slowly. Ask for ice (and a mixer if possible) and sip your drink, putting the glass down regularly to eat, chat, dance and socialise. If your drink needs a mixer, make wise choices. Forgo sugar and calorie-laden mixers like fizzy drinks/cola and fruit juices and instead choose soda or low-cal tonic. Add a dash of real lemon or lime juice, a twist of citrus rind, or more unusual choices like frozen berries (cranberries are a great choice) or slices of cucumber for a more refreshing and lighter take.
Don’t Forget Soft Drinks
If you don’t want to drink a lot, then don’t. You don’t have to justify your choices to anyone (although if you feel you need an excuse, there’s always a need for a designated driver). If you don’t want to turn down alcohol altogether, but just want one or two, then try alternating alcoholic drinks with water, fizzy water or soft drinks.
When you get home, drink a pint of water and put another by your bed. You’ll wake up feeling so much better and ready to start 2015 with a clear head. Happy New Year!