Healthier Holiday Spirits: Imbibing Tips

A few weeks back in our Have Your Cake & Eat It Too blog post about how to avoid holiday weight-gain, one of our tips revolved around alcohol. Today’s article provides a little more information about how to get into the holiday `spirits’ without totally derailing your health efforts. 

Before we begin our healthier holiday imbibing advice, we must ask you, “How aggressive are your health and fitness goals?”

If you are 100% committed to meeting a specific weight, pant-size, lean muscle-mass percentage, etc. by a certain date, and you do NOT want anything to stop you, then please read no further. Simply forgo the alcoholic beverages this season and substitute them with healthier options. If you’re willing to delay your goal date for the immediate pleasure of imbibing, then please keep reading!

Healthier Holiday Drinking Tips

If you are on the maintenance phase of your health and fitness program or you’re ahead of schedule, you are free to indulge a bit (within limits), IF you want. With the following healthier holiday drinking tips, you can enjoy holiday alcoholic beverages without too much repercussion to your health goals.

After reading these tips, make sure to scroll down and check out our list of great healthier alcoholic drink ideas! 

  1. Mix It Up. Now before you start looking for a cocktail recipe book, that’s not what we mean by ‘mixing it up.’ Our suggestion here is to add more non-alcoholic bevvies in between your alcoholic drinks. Switch it up with plain water, club soda, perrier, herbal tea and green tea during the party. (These are perfect non-alcoholic beverage choices for those on an aggressive goal, by the way.) Do you notice we DO NOT mention diet soda? The sugar substitutes in diet drinks do a whole other number on your body, which is another blog post in itself! If you mix it up with our suggested non-alcoholic drinks, you’ll find you drink less alcohol throughout the evening and will feel a whole lot better for it the next day!
  2. Choose Low-Glycemic Alcoholic Bevvies. Any alcohol mixed with pop or juice increases the glycemic index of the drink making it a killer-calorie-cocktail. So think twice before ordering sangria or wine spritzers, rum and cokes or even vodka & OJ or vodka & cranberry (even if they are 100% juice). Also be wary of all liqueurs (like Bailey’s, 327 calories) and some liquor (like rye, 338 calories). Instead, choose dry wines (red is best because of the anti-oxidants), beer (dark beer is best also because of the anti-oxidants) and pure liquor (like tequila or brandy). If you must mix your liquor, see below for some low-glycemic drink ideas.
  3. Enjoy In Moderation & Treat Alcohol As a Reward. You can moderate your alcohol consumption in different ways, like in tip #1 above. You can also moderate your consumption by using it as a reward. That is, did you successfully complete your weekly workout routine? Did you push yourself even a bit harder because you knew you would be attending a party over the weekend?
  4. Do Extra to Recover the Next Day. Alcohol dehydrates us and depletes our nutrient levels in order to process it through our natural detoxification system. Therefore, we suggest to hydrate with extra water and electrolytes (which are balanced minerals). Stay away from most sports drinks except for Powerade 0 or G2. Another good option is coconut water (it’s even more hydrating than water!). Also, did you know that SOME salt has 84 minerals in it? If you add just a pinch of the least processed sea salt you can find (look for sea salt that’s grey in color or Himalayan which is pink) to your water, you can re-establish your mineral levels. In addition, eat healthy meals loaded with fruit, veggies and lean protein. Then if you feel up to it, get in a good sweat and get rid of the alcohol in your system. Re-hydrate again with more water and electrolytes.

Healthier Alcoholic Drink Ideas

Here’s a list of the `please enjoy drinks’ for those short on time or to give you a starting point so you can get creative on your own!

  • Vodka, gin or rum with club soda or water and cucumber slices.
  • Vodka, gin, rum or tequila with club soda or water, mint and lime.
  • Vodka, gin or rum with club soda or water and orange slices.
  • Vodka, gin or rum with club soda or water, fresh rosemary and lemon.
  • Vodka, gin or rum with club soda or water, fresh thyme and tangerine slices.
  • Vodka, gin or rum with club soda or water, fresh lavender and lemon.
  • Vodka, gin or rum with club soda or water with a SPLASH of juice (as an extra special treat).
  • Straight brandy (only 65 calories) or tequila (only 69 calories).
  • Red wine spritzer with club soda.
  • Dry wine, red or white but red has more anti-oxidants.
  • Beer, especially dark beer which has anti-oxidants.

Now your turn: share with us some of your healthier alcoholic beverages in the comment section below!

Did this article inspire you to get into the holiday `spirits’ knowing you can imbibe without totally demolishing your progress or goals? If you like healthier substitutes like this, our personal trainers know of many where you can still meet your health and fitness goals without feeling deprived. Contact us for a free consultation and get started on a program today.  

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