how to be healthier around alcohol

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Here’s how to sip a little smarter …

If you, like millions of other Australians right now, are in lockdown, chances are your drinking habits have changed. White wine on Wednesdays, do you like it? However, without looking like a party animal, I encourage you to think about how much alcohol you are consuming and, if possible, to tone it down a bit.

Why? The reality is (hang in there) … there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. It’s true – even drinking a small amount of alcohol carries a level of risk.

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to serious complications over time, including mental health issues, heart disease, liver disease, and diabetes.

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That is why it is recommended that adults consume no more than ten standard drinks per week and no more than four standard drinks per day. If you are pregnant, your alcohol consumption should be zero.

You probably already know that alcohol can put a few extra pounds on the scale, but you might be surprised at how kilojoule-dense alcoholic drinks really are.

You see, a standard drink has 10 grams of alcohol, and each gram of alcohol has 27 kilojoules – so a standard drink = 270 kilojoules. Keep in mind that what you pour into your glass is usually more than just a standard drink.

For context, the average daily energy intake is 8,700 kilojoules, and if you’re trying to lose weight, it should be around 6,300 kilojoules. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how a few drinks a night can result in the need to loosen your belt buckle …

So I’m here to help you have a healthier wine hour. Presentation: my three top tips to make a drink a little better for you (and your waistline).

1. Take it easy

Just as mindful eating is important, I think mindful sipping is also a good idea. Instead of having one drink at a time, I encourage you to take it a step further and really savor the flavor of whatever is in your drink.

Alternating each alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic sip will also help slow you down. In doing so, you might be pleasantly surprised and find that you’re more satisfied with fewer glasses under your belt.

2. Make a spritzer

If you like soft drinks, this is the one for you. Half a glass of wine + half a glass of sparkling water = a lighter and refreshing spritzer. This handy tip will instantly cut your alcohol intake in half, which also means half kilojoules.

3. Low alcohol alcohol test

You may have noticed that alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are taking up more and more space in your local bottlo – and my advice is not to hit them until you’ve tried them. Many taste exactly the same as their higher alcohol counterparts, so if you have a drink almost every day, this might be a good idea … at least every now and then.

Melissa Meier is a Certified Practicing Dietitian based in Sydney. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.

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