Festive beverages

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While we should be excited about celebrations and parties, we often find ourselves feeling pretty stressed out about all the feasting. There’s no need to be! There are plenty of tricks you can use to enjoy celebrations and social events with your loved ones.

In another post at Diet Doctor, Kristie Sullivan talked about some feasting strategies and we addressed how you should consume your celebration feast! But one topic we have yet to discuss is alcoholoic beverages.

A lot of people are almost embarrassed to talk about this. Patients will see me in the clinic but then send me a private email, saying they didn’t want to ask in front of their peers. Those who do ask in their sessions seem nervous. There is no need to be!

One of the questions I am asked the most is whether I consume any sort of alcoholic beverage. The answer is yes. I’ve never been a big drinker and always volunteered to be the designated driver for friends during my university days. But I learned to really appreciate dry red wines while my husband was living close to Napa Valley, California.

If we’re celebrating moving into our first home, I’ll have a glass or two of dry red wine. If we’re having a lovely dinner in Barcelona, I’ll have a glass of local red wine. I won’t just have a glass of wine because it’s Tuesday. Sometimes I’ll go weeks or even months without having a drink.

Below are my best tips on how to think when consuming alcoholic beverages.

Stick to dry wines and bubbly

There are so many wonderful wines and champagnes out there that contain 4 grams of sugar per litre, or even less! Most of the wines we purchase from the store are 2 grams of sugar per litre. There are so many wonderful options!

Starch structureThe sale of alcohol across Canada is regulated by each of the provincial governments. In Ontario, most of it is sold at the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) stores. Our law requires that the product tags for all wines must also show the sugar content. How cool is this? It really makes shopping for dry wines quite easy.

What if you don’t live in Ontario and you’re eating out at a restaurant? Not a problem! Their website and app makes it easy to look up wines to find out their sugar content. I have their app downloaded to my phone so I can check the dryness of my wine at restaurants or while I’m travelling. It’s very handy!

There are also services like Dry Farm Wines in the United States that will help you find out what wines contain the least amount of sugar and other unwanted additives.
 

Spirits are okay to consume but watch out for mixers

It is perfectly okay to enjoy some vodka, whiskey, scotch, gin, brandy or tequila, but just be careful what you use to mix them with. Sodas and tonic water are often very high in sugar or artificial sweeteners. Same with juices, even if the bottle says “no added sugar.” The fruit itself is very high in sugar as it is.

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It’s best to mix any spirits with water. Flat water, carbonated water and seltzer water all make great mixers for your drinks.
 

Avoid beer as much as possible

Beer is one of the worst drinks for raising blood sugar and insulin levels. If you’re going to have a beer, then go for a lower-carb option. There are more and more being released each year since the ketogenic diet (a very-low-carb diet) has gained such great popularity.

Check out this list for some low-carb options if you’re planning on drinking beer.
 

Alternate all alcoholic beverages with a glass of water

Alcohol can really dehydrate you, which often makes you feel terrible and may even increase your appetite. Drinking water between alcoholic drinks can help rehydrate you and keep your appetite suppressed. It will also reduce the total amount of alcohol you consume at each meal.

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Add ice to your glass

Similar to consuming water between drinks to stay hydrated, you can also add more ice to your beverages. I even add ice to my wine. Not too much, because I don’t want to drink red wine (my go-to beverage) cold or water it down too much, but a couple of small ice cubes can really make a difference.


Megan Ramos

Also published on idmprogram.com.

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Note

The post above has also been published on idmprogram.com.