by Anne Finch, Accredited Practising Dietitian for LiveLighter


I’m dreaming of a festive season where we party hard, eat well, sleep well, wake up fresh, and have the energy to do it all again the next day. For of lot of us, the stream of Christmas parties and the pressure to drink alcohol at all of them can leave us struggling to get out of bed – let alone socialise. Here’s a handy guide to help you drink less and survive (and thrive) this holidays. 

Pick your place and time

Picnic in the shade

Choosing a location or time of day where alcoholic drinks aren’t ‘normal’ means there’ll be no sideways glances at the fridge or confusion about the lack of “festive spirit”. Go for a picnic, hang at the beach or make it a brunch party. This makes the most of the beautiful weather and is an opportunity to be active too!  

Expand your offerings

Cherry creaming soda

If you can influence the catering, include interesting and refreshing non-alcoholic drinks. This could be as simple as slapping some fruit, mint and ice in jugs of water or going all-out with with one of our fun and fancy drink ideas. Who can resist a tiny paper umbrella?

Designated Driver

If you’re feeling the social pressure to drink, offer to be the skipper. This will help you stick to your guns and make you an even more highly sought-after guest.  

Choose your level

Hand drinks tally

Research shows that one of the most effective strategies to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink is to set yourself a limit (beforehand!) and count your drinks. Hot tip: wait until you’ve gotten to the bottom of your glass before accepting a refill. This makes it easier to count and might help you stretch your drink out longer.

Stretch your drink

strawberry mint water

Lower-alcohol drinks are a great stepping-stone into the potentially unfamiliar zone of being at a party with an empty hand. Light beer and low-alcohol sparkling wine (often marketed as ‘low-kilojoule’) are classics. You could also try stretching mixed drinks with sparkling water or even bringing back the ol’ shandy or spritzer.

Zero-alcohol drinks

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Try an alcohol alternative next time you’re in the bottleshop. Check the label as the kilojoule content can vary widely between products. Aim for less than 60kJ per 100mL for non-alcoholic beers and less than 100kJ per 100mL for non-alcoholic wines.

Take a spacer

Drinks in esky

To help you stay hydrated, reduce your alcohol intake and go the party distance, make (at least) every second drink a non-alcoholic one. If you’re hosting, throw the non-alcoholic drinks in with the alcohol – this will remind people about the other options and help them stay fresh too. 

Find your own groove

Stop someone topping up your drink

Avoid getting into “rounds” as this adds pressure to drink at a certain rate and locks you into drinking what everyone else is drinking. Alternatively, get your round in early so you can bow out at any time without consequence!

There’s loads of benefits to drinking less. You’ll sleep better, avoid empty kilojoules and reduce your long-term risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. We’d love to hear some of your tips for fresher mornings over the festive season!


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