CLEVELAND -- Family gatherings, holiday parties, work events; most have one thing in common: alcohol. And where there's alcohol, sometimes there's overindulgence which brings with it weight gain, hangovers, and other health concerns.
"It doesn't mean that you can't indulge and you can't partake but it's just a matter of being smart about it," says Lisa Cimperman, RD, a clinical dietitian at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. "It's definitely fun to celebrate with friends and family but we all know the pain over overindulgence the next day."
Cimperman suggests "moderate drinking" during the holidays, which is one drink a day for the average woman and two drinks for the average man but she knows many will not stick to that regime. In that case, she suggests avoiding some high caloric culprits and making substitutions or swaps for others.
"If you double the alcohol content, you double the caloric content of the beer," says Cimperman. "This is important to know because a lot of the seasonal beers contain greater amounts of alcohol and that ups the calorie content."
She says egg nog-based and other drinks with heavy creams can pack as many as 500 calories so she suggests treating them like a dessert and only having one. She also warns to be smart with your mixers, perhaps substituting soda water with zero calories for tonic water with 120 calories (per 12 ounces), using lower calories juices, and perhaps even mixing sparkling water with wine to create a lower calorie spritzer.
Cimperman also points out wine glasses have gotten bigger so only pour wine to the break (the part of the glass where it's the widest) to prevent over-pouring. She also suggests alternating a glass of water with alcohol to keep hydrated and to cut alcohol consumption in half.
She also warns overconsumption of alcohol can lead to other poor dietary choices. "It's obvious alcohol lowers inhibitions and with this lowering of inhibitions, it can lead to overconsumption of food," says Cimperman.
7 Tips for Holiday Drinking1) Think of cream- and egg nog-based drinks (500 calories) as a dessert 2) Skip alcohol with meals at home on nights you're going to a party3) Substitute mixers: soda water (0 calories) for tonic water (120 calories),use lower calories juices, and add sparkling water to wine for lower calorie spritzer4) Stay hydrated by alternating an alcoholic drink with a glass or water5) Create trade-offs: extra glass of wine instead of dessert6) Stay aware of overindulging7) Interact at parties to slow down eating and drinking
Calorie Content of AlcoholShot of Liquor: (1.5 oz.): 100 caloriesBeer (12 oz., Regular): 150 caloriesBeer (12 oz., Seasonal): 225+ caloriesWine (5 oz.): 120 calories
Sound bites from Lisa Cimperman, RD, clinical dietitian at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, b-roll and natural sound are available for download on University Hospitals Case Medical Center Newsroom www.news.uhhospitals.org/.