Christmas is often considered “the most wonderful time of the year”, but for some it is often the wettest.
While the holiday season is a great time to toast with friends and family, if you tend to celebrate with too many Mince Pie Martinis, the holiday season could put the brakes on your healthy lifestyle goals.
This is in part because alcohol is extremely high in calories, containing seven calories per gram, according to the NHS.
“Wine, beer, cider, spirits and many more of our favorite drinks are made from natural starch and sugar,” the site explains. “Fermentation (and distillation for some drinks) is used to produce the alcohol content.”
This is why alcohol contains a lot of calories. And that’s without the extra calories, which come in the form of party mixers, like lemonade or coke.
So, in addition to having other health effects, regularly casting snowballs could have a noticeable effect on your waistline this Christmas, in part because the calories from alcohol are considered empty calories. because they do not help the body meet its nutritional needs.
Add to that the fact that people generally consume a lot more alcoholic beverages during the holiday season, which can then contribute to an increase in our regular daily calorie intake.
A British study previously found that on the most important drinking day of the week, calories from alcoholic beverages were 19% and 27% of the recommended daily calorie intake for women and men, respectively.
And it was just a normal week, not during the holiday season.
While Christmas is a time for being merry, not for counting calories, being aware of what’s in our popular seasonal drinks can help us avoid overdoing it.
The calories of our favorite party drinks
“The holiday season is often a good time to overuse alcohol. People don’t always eat just one, so the calories can really add up, ”explains the nutritionist. Jenna Hope.
But the calories vary wildly depending on the party drink you choose.
“A beer contains 365 kcal, a small glass of wine (175 ml) contains around 160 kcal and a single serving of spirits contains around 60 kcal,” she adds.
“In the meantime, the pre-mixed party cocktails are also high in calories due to the high sugar mixers.”
Party drinks are also often high in sugars and fats.
“For example, festive creamy cocktails can contain around 400 kcal per serving. Mulled wine is another holiday favorite and can be particularly high in sugar and contain around 250 kcal per glass,” she adds.
Fortunately, by making smarter choices at the bar this Christmas, you may just be able to determine if that glass of mulled wine is really worth the heat damage.
If you plan to push the boat out and toast the holiday season with a glass of goodies, you’ll probably lose around 86 calories per 125ml glass.
Prosecco is often considered a lower calorie option than its festive fizz counterparts, but according to Drink Aware, a 125ml glass typically contains around 86 calories, the same as a glass of champagne.
For a lower calorie shot, “Skinny Prosecco” products are also available and contain around 67 calories per glass.
Starting your Christmas day with a glass of Bucks Fizz? It should be noted that although the alcohol content will be reduced, the calorie content is similar to that of a glass of Prosecco at around 67 calories.
Who doesn’t love a glass of Baileys at Christmas / all winter? But a glass of this creamy substance can certainly increase the calories.
To cut them, you can try switching to the vegan version. According to Jacques Scott Wines and Spirits a glass of Bailey’s Almande contains only 67 calories compared to 164 calories in a glass of regular Baileys. Plus, it’s gluten and dairy free with very little carbohydrate.
According to to weight loss resources , a small glass of mulled wine (120 ml) can contain around 230 calories.
“If possible, try to make your own with less sugar and use your own spices rather than a pre-made bottle,” suggests Hope.
While you might think of the creamy drink as an American drink, eggnog is believed to originate in Britain and became popular during the Christmas season due to its hot temperature and seasonal seasonings (try saying this after a few mulled wines!).
Because it’s made with milk, eggs, and sugar, eggnog is one of the more forgiving Christmas drinks and has a hefty 350 calories – more if you add a glass of alcohol.
Seasonal drinks aren’t for everyone, and if your party drink of choice is still a pint of cider, you could be losing around 210 calories, as much as a sweet donut, according to Aware of alcohol consumption.
While not traditionally a party drink, if you stick to your normal pint this Christmas, you can still expect to top up on calories. According to Drink Aware, some pints of lager can contain 180 calories, the equivalent of a slice of pizza.
Meanwhlie Christmas stouts and beers can be as high in calories as a whole bagel (around 250 calories).
Watch: Three Christmas Cocktail Ideas.
Leave a glass of hot brandy for Santa Claus? A 50ml measure means it will take in around 103.5 calories.
And at around 40% ABV, he probably won’t be able to drive the sled after a few trips up the chimney.
While not limited to festive drinking, there are various festive flavors of gin this time of year, with each 25ml scoop adding up to 97 calories.
To reduce your calorie intake, Drink Aware suggests trying tonic water, ice, and lemon mixed in a glass, which can give you an alcohol-free gin and tonic-style taste.
In addition, premium non-alcoholic “spirits” are gaining popularity and are an ideal base for non-alcoholic cocktails.
If you’re looking for a snowball supper this season, you’ll be consuming about 117 calories in a 120ml glass.
How to reduce your calorie intake in alcohol on Christmas
To drink a lot
According to dietitian Helen Bond, even during the winter months, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids (6-8 glasses a day) to stay hydrated and to make sure you don’t rely on alcoholic beverages to quench your thirst. .
“Water is the best – it’s calorie-free and sugar-free, so it’s good for the waistline and teeth.
“Low-fat milks, tea and coffee (no added sugar or syrups) and unsweetened squash also count in water intake,” she adds.
Experiment with sugar-free and calorie-free drinks
There are 11 different low-calorie and non-calorie sweeteners approved for use in the UK, including familiar sweeteners such as acesulfame K, aspartame, sucralose and stevia.
“Each has its own unique taste profile,” explains Bond. “Try experimenting with different brands of low-sugar and sugar-free soda to see which option – or combination – is more appealing.”
Add natural freshness
Mix up the flavors of your festive drinks by adding something fresh. “Lemon and lime wedges, mint and basil leaves, cucumber slices or berries can make drinks taste amazing, without adding extra calories or sugar,” says Bond.
“Frozen festive fruit is also a great way to add vitamins and a zest of punch this holiday season, and it also has the added benefit of keeping your drinks chilled.”
Get creative with festive cocktail mixers
“If you want a party drink that’s lower in free sugars and calories, why not try making it yourself? Bond suggests.
“You can normally halve the sugar content of classic party cocktails by using a low or zero calorie granulated sweetener. “
Have a few alcohol-free days a week
Since alcoholic drinks contain empty calories, it is best to avoid consuming them every day, no matter how many Christmas parties you are invited to.
Swap the syrups
“Try mixing fresh fruit, fresh herbs and fresh spices to optimize the flavor rather than using flavored syrups or high-sugar mixers,” Hope suggests.
If you are concerned that your alcohol consumption is unhealthy, you can visit drinkaware.co.uk for more information, or to chat with a professional.
Watch: How To Make Alcohol Malteser hot chocolate