Holiday alcoholic drinks aren’t usually healthy, in fact they’re often big sugar-, fat-, and calorie-bombs. Don’t get derailed during this celebratory time of year because you think beverages won’t affect your overall healthy food goals. They most definitely do!

Here are some things to consider before you raise a glass this season:

1. Ask yourself if you should be drinking alcohol at all. Some reasons not to: family or personal history of alcohol abuse; prescription meds for high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, etc. that don’t mix with alcohol; ditto for over-the-counter drugs; also, postmenopausal women and ones with a family history of breast cancer should not imbibe.

2. Ask yourself if drinking makes you gain weight. Stay within the recommended limit of a drink a day for women and two drinks for men, and you’ll likely find that alcohol doesn’t impact your healthy eating plan. If you overdo it, though, you may find that it derails your weight goals. One reason why that might be? Moderate drinking decreases stress eating while guzzling drinks loosens inhibitions so your good intentions regarding diet go right out the window.

3. As yourself if you’re making wise choices regarding alcoholic beverages. For instance, a 5 ounce glass of wine is only about 125 calories and contains some healthful nutrients. But what if you substitute a holiday drink such as spiked eggnog? That’s quite a different story! An 8 ounce serving of eggnog packs a whopping 321 calories, 11 grams of fat, and 21 grams of sugar. Hot spiked cider? That clocks in at 212 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 27 grams of sugar. An Irish coffee is 193 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 9 grams of sugar.

A once in a while indulgence isn’t the end of the world, but making a habit of drinking these rich caloric drinks during the holiday season can be disastrous. Limit the damage by stopping at one drink. And make sure it’s a small pour (some bartenders, including you, routinely go over 8 ounces). If you can stick to a lighter beverage, such as a champagne spritzer, so much the better.

Here’s to your health. I’ll raise a glass to that!

Jebra Turner

Jebra Turner is a freelance health writer in Portland, Oregon. She frequently contributes to the Minority Nurse magazine and website. Visit her online at www.jebra.com for self-care inspiration.
Jebra Turner
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