Quench your thirst
When you go to the pub or a restaurant, order a glass of water with your first drink and down the water first. After a day in a heated or air conditioned office, or after exercise, you are probably dehydrated – quench your thirst with water and you’re more likely to sip rather than gulp down that first pint, wine, whatever.
Order single measures of spirits, small glasses of wine, half-pints or bottles of beer and get in the habit of drinking slowly – put the glass back on the bar/table between sips rather than keeping hold of it.
Mix it up
Alternate each alcoholic drink with a low-calorie soft drink or, preferably, a glass of water.
Know your numbers
Just as you’d check the calorie count on a mixer, get in to the habit of checking the Alcohol By Volume (ABV) percentage on bottles and cans – the lower the ABV the better for units and calories. Low-calorie mixers include diet versions of soda, tonic, lemonade, orange and cranberry, tomato juice is a healthy option (with or without alcohol), or try clear spirits on ice with a dash of pure lime or lemon juice; beware sugared glass rims on cocktails.
Home sweet home
At home, invest in a good bottle-stop (available for wine and fizz) and a set of small wine glasses – portion control! Pour beer or lager into smaller glasses, too, so you get two drinks from each can or bottle, and use a measure for spirits (or check where a single measure comes to on the glasses you regularly use). Same as when you’re out, make the first drink at home non-alcoholic.
It is always better to eat some food alongside the booze, so at home you could decide to have a glass of wine only with dinner; at the pub have a snack (olives or hummus and pitta bread, cheese board to share, jacket potato) and avoid the dreaded alcohol-fuelled binge!
Written by Ruth Tongue