Seek out advice about avoiding weight gain during the holidays and you’re likely to be told that avoiding alcohol is one of the best things you can do to make sure your waistline won’t widen.
This is true, but for many completely skipping out on cocktails is an unrealistic approach to the holidays. After all, it’s a season for celebrating and everyone deserves to treat themselves.
If you can cut out alcohol completely, more power to you. On the other hand, if you’re looking to enjoy a few drinks while still keeping your health and fitness goals in mind Justine SanFilippo, a certified health coach, nutritionist and personal trainer, suggests the following eight tips for the upcoming holiday season.
-6 Tips for Enjoying Drinks While Watching Your Weight-
1. Don’t order just anything.
“Alcoholic beverages come in many different calorie ranges,” says SanFilippo. “Since they contain empty calories no matter what, we might as well drink those with the fewest amounts of calories.” She suggests choosing from one of the following low-calorie options.
- 1 Glass of Red or White Wine – 120 cals
- 1 Glass of Champagne – 77 cals
- 1 Glass White Wine Spritzer – 90 cals
- 1oz Vodka or Gin with Club Soda – 64 cals
- 12oz Light beer 55-120 cals
2. Drink water.
“Alcohol acts a diuretic, which causes dehydration,” says SanFilippo. “Becoming too dehydrated can be unhealthy and possibly even dangerous in extreme circumstances because each cell in the body craves water to function properly. To maintain your mental sharpness, reduce the calories you intake and still enjoy the festivities, be sure to drink water before you go the party, as well as after each alcoholic beverage.”
3. Set a limit.
SanFilippo says that when it comes to weight loss and healthy habits, planning is one of the most important aspects. “Give yourself a guideline to enjoy a drink maximum,” she says. “I would recommend a two drink max and then call it a day and stick to water.”
“It’s very important to have some food in your stomach before you go to the party,” says SanFilippo. “When a person drinks alcohol on an empty stomach, there is no food to absorb the alcohol, so the effects are stronger. By eating before you leave, not only will you have some food in your stomach, but the appetizers and desserts at the buffet table won’t be nearly as tempting, too.”
5. Sip slowly.
Not only is “chugging” a habit that probably won’t fly well among friends, colleagues and family members, but it can quickly lead to overconsumption. “Sip your favorite beverage while you network, talk to your friends and have a good time and still maintain professionalism,” says SanFilippo.
6. Remember, you don’t have to drink.
“Nobody says you have to drink at a holiday party,” says SanFilippo. “If you are serious about maintaining or slimming your waistline during the holiday season, do what is true for you. Have a seltzer water with a twist of lemon or lime instead and nobody will know the difference!”