What’s your favourite Christmas tipple?

It’s that time of year again. We start stocking up the drinks cabinet, mulled wine and warm cider appear on drinks menus and the Christmas parties get underway. We start having those drinks that we often only associate with Christmas (I’m thinking ginger wine and bailey’s for me!) so I thought I’d share some info about these festive tipples.  

Bah humbug I hear you say! I know, it’s Christmas! We should be celebrating and ‘live a little’ which IS very true BUT…..try to stay aware of how much alcohol you are having and perhaps bare in mind the amount of exercise you will need to do to use up some of those extra Calories 😉

Current advice says alcohol should contribute no more than 5% of our daily Calorie intake. This equates to ~100 Cal for women and ~125 Cal for men which when you think about it, is not a lot especially at Christmas time!

Current Government ‘lower risk guidelines’ for drinking alcohol recommend we ahve no more than 14 units a week (for both men and women). Consistently drinking more than this is linked with a progressive increase in risk to our health. We know that excessive drinking is very much associated with liver disease but we seem much less informed about the many other health risks such as increased risks of developing cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

But back to the drinks – Here is my list of our favorite Christmas tipples; their units, Calorie content and how long you’d have to exercise to burn off those extra Calories!

The information below is based on 1 standard size drink but of course when you are at home, the elbow might be a bit lighter and drink sizes are often larger than you think. Cocktails are especially difficult to determine (so the eggnog below is very much an estimation).

Festive Tipple Measure Units Calories Time spent running to burn off the Calories of 1 drink!
Red wine (13%) 175ml standard glass 2.3 159 16mins
White wine (12.5%) 175ml standard glass 2.2 158 16mins
Champagne, Prosecco or Cava (typically 12%) 125ml standard glass 1.5 89 9mins
Spiced mulled cider (5.5%) ½ pint 1.6 164 17mins
Mulled wine (average 11%) 175ml standard glass 1.9 140 14mins
Bailey’s (17%) 50ml measure 0.8 175 18mins
Ginger wine (13.5%) 100ml glass 1.5 150 15mins
Amaretto (28%) 50ml measure 1.4 186 19mins
Tia Maria (26.5%) 50ml measure 1.3 131 13mins
Sherry (medium, 17%) 50ml glass 0.9 77 8mins
Brandy (40%) 35ml measure 1.4 78 8mins
Whiskey (40%) 35ml measure 1.4 78 8mins
Snowball Cocktail (50ml Warnicks Advocaat 17%) with lemonade and lime 160ml glass 1.8 210 21mins
Babysham (6%) 200ml bottle 1.2 92 10mins
Eggnog 200ml glass ~2-3 200-300 20-30mins
Port (20%) 50ml glass 1.0 76 8mins

So the good news is Prosecco is one of the better options, as are spirits (providing you watch how light your elbow gets) and surprisingly port too! Happy days! Snowballs (does anyone drink that these days?!) and eggnog look like they should carry a health warning 😉

So you can easily keep track of your drinking and units using a really easy Unit and Calorie Calculator which I used here.

And to help you along the way, here are 10 tips on how to drink sensibly 🙂

  1. Don’t drink on an empty stomach (food slows down the absorption of alcohol so you are less likely to feel the effects so quickly)
  2. Set yourself a limit before you go out and tell your friends you are ‘trying to be good’ so they can support you.
  3. Alternate an alcoholic drink with a soft drink or water (this will stop you getting too dehydrated and feeling rough the morning after) and if having a meal, have a glass or jug of water on the table too.
  4. Dilute alcoholic drinks with a soft drink – add soda or lemonade to wine to make a weaker ‘long’ drink.
  5. Go for smaller measures – small glass of wine instead of a large, half instead of a whole pint (often we are not asked what size and presented with a ‘large one’).
  6. Try not to get caught up in big rounds when you might be persuaded to drink much more, more quickly. Also finish your drink before someone ‘tops it up’ for you – this way you can keep a more accurate measure of what you are drinking.
  7. Avoid binge drinking – just because you don’t drink in the week, it doesn’t mean you can ‘save it all up’ for a blowout at the weekend – lots of alcohol stresses your liver
  8. Find an alternative to alcohol to help you de-stress: try a different distraction like exercise, chatting on the phone, reading, cooking or having a bath.
  9. You should avoid alcohol for 48 hrs after a large amount to drink; everybody should aim for 2 drink-free days a week
  10. Don’t drink alcohol when you are thirsty  – it will make you drink more and drink too quickly. Quench your thirst with water first (and avoid salty snacks like peanuts, crisps and pretzels as they will make you more thirsty).

But most of all enjoy yourself!

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