Monday, 29 August 2011

Spare the sauce

Now that the summer parties are winding down, we tend to think that beer drinking also fades with the shorter days. However, with Thanksgiving, Halloween parties, and eventually Christmas, enjoying a casual drink may end up being more of a regular event than initially thought. In an earlier blog, I discussed the calories in drinks and how they can add up to play a bigger role in weight gain than we may think. Here are some concrete ways to drink fewer alcoholic beverages all year round:

1. You will drink much faster if you are thirsty, so have a non-alcoholic drink to quench your thirst before you start drinking alcohol.

2. Use standard drinks. Monitor how much alcohol you drink. By converting what you drink into standard drinks, it is easier to keep track.

3. Drink slowly. Take sips and not gulps. Put your glass down between sips.

4. Eat before or while you are drinking. Eating slows your drinking pace and fills you up. If you have a full stomach, alcohol will be absorbed more slowly.

5. Avoid salty snacks. Salty food like chips or nuts makes you thirsty, so you drink more.

6. Don't get involved in rounds. Drink at your own pace — not someone else's. If you do get stuck, buy a non-alcoholic drink when it's your turn.

7. Have one drink at a time. Don't let people top up your drinks. It is hard to keep track of how much alcohol you have drunk.

8. Pace yourself. Try having a ‘spacer’, a non-alcoholic drink, every second or third drink. Take sips of water between sips of alcohol.

9. Stay busy. If you have something to do, you tend to drink less. Play pool or dance — don't just sit and drink.

10. Try the low-alcohol alternative. A wide range of light beers are available. Low-alcohol or non-alcoholic wines are also becoming more available. Most places that serve cocktails also serve non-alcoholic versions. There are non-alcoholic cocktails or even non-alcoholic wine. If you are hosting a barbecue, you can always serve plain orange juice mixed with sparkling water. Instead of normal beer, you can opt for light beer. Check the label of the can to find out the calories

11. Have alcohol-free days. Have at least 2 days a week when you don't drink at all.

12. Keep a diary. Write down how much you drink each day. This can make you more aware of exactly how much you drink.

13. Just say no. Little white lies are great in situations like this. Put some strategies in place. If you are out with friends at bar or pub, you may find it hard not to drink. Be prepared to be firm if you do not want to drink. Here are some of the reasons (or excuse) you can use:
o I am on antibiotics. Doctor asked me not to drink.
o I am driving today.
o I am on tight budget this month.
o I just drank last night. I want to go light today.
o I just don’t want one.
o I’ll just stick to water, thanks.

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