Whether at a swanky party with champagne or a mate’s backyard barbecue with some frosties, alcohol is a main guest on New Years.
Here are a few helpful tips from the Dietitians Association of Australia to guide you through a healthier and safer New Years:
Moderate your alcohol intake
If you choose to celebrate by drinking, The NHMRC Alcohol Guidelines recommends adults have no more than two standard drinks on any day, and no more than four standard drinks on any one occasion to avoid lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury. The more alcohol you drink, the greater the risk to your health. Drinking too much alcohol can damage your liver and brain and may increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and some types of cancer.
Be ‘size aware’ when it comes to standard drinks
A standard drink provides 10g alcohol and is equal to:
- 100ml wine
- 285ml full strength beer
- 60ml port or sherry
- 30ml spirits
For more specific standard drink sizes see this infographic on standard drinks from the National Health and Medical Research Council.
When drinking, try to have plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Alcohol leads to dehydration through inhibition of anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), increasing the need urinate. Have a big glass of water before you head out, or carry a bottle of water in your bag.
Choose healthy snacks
Many drinkers get the munchies. If you’re snacking while drinking, when possible, go for healthy options like vegetable sticks or toasted pita breads with tomato-based salsa dip or low-fat hummus. Try to avoid salty foods as these can make you thirsty, increasing your likelihood of having another drink.
Alternate alcoholic with non-alcoholic drinks
Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcohol drinks, such as water, mineral water or soda water.
Be kilojoule savvy
Pure alcohol contains no nutrition but plenty of kilojoules! The alcohol in a standard drink can sky rocket the kilojoule count of pre-mixed drinks with high sugar content; or when alcohol is mixed with soft drinks, energy drinks and juices.
Standard Drink and Nutrient Profile of Selected Alcohols
Ready To Drink (Alcopop)
Avoid alcohol if you are pregnant
The NHMRC Alcohol Guidelines advises that the safest option for a woman who is pregnant, planning to become pregnant or who is breastfeeding is to not drink alcohol at all. Alcohol during pregnancy can have detrimental affects on the child such as fetal alcohol syndrome.
If you’re looking for some healthier drinks to enjoy on New Years, we have you covered!
First up is the perfect drink for those hot summer nights. Sangria is a fruity beverage from Spain and Portugal, consisting of a strong wine, a medley of fruit and sometimes brandy. Wine, especially red wine, has been shown to have beneficial health effects when consumed in moderation. High levels of phenolic compounds increase antioxidant activity, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and suppresses cancer cell growth. Adding nutrient rich fruit and a tonic water to the mix creates a powerhouse cocktail.
- 1 bottle white wine
- 1 peach, chopped into small cubes
- 1 cup cherries, pitted
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced
- 2 to 3 frozen grapes
- 2 cups chilled tonic water
- Mix all the wine and fruit in a large pitcher or punch bowl. Let it stand covered at room temperature for at least 2 hours or chill for 4 hours
- Add tonic water and serve over frozen grapes
You don’t need alcohol to have a good time, that’s why mocktails were created! They have all the great flavours found in alcoholic cocktails, minus the energy dense alcohol. This Hawaiian inspired refreshment has a complementing mixture of sweetness and tang, from the mango which is a good source with dietary fibre, vitamin A and C, and the tang of vitamin C rich lime. I solely included coconut for it’s luxurious smooth flavour and complementing qualities to mango. Coconut has been under the microscope lately due to the large variety of health claims. To learn more about coconuts, in particular coconut oil, look out for our upcoming article on coconut oil.
- 3 mangoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 4 cups ice
- 2 limes, juiced
- Decoration: 4 tablespoons honey and ½ cup toasted shredded coconut
- Prepare the glasses by rimming the edge with honey then dip into toasted coconut
- Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add more coconut milk if needed. Serve in prepared glasses
Drink responsibly and have a happy New Year!
Images by Shana Watson