Before you drink your way through your grandad’s ‘old-fashioned’ views on immigration on Christmas Day, you’ll probably have a whole month of boozy ‘training’ to get through, the highlight of which will no doubt be your annual office knees-up.
Traditionally, this is the time to drunkenly come on to your hot colleague, tell the boss where to stick it and inform the slovenly intern what you think of them.
This year, though, we suggest a different tactic; one that will not only help you avoid a dressing down and a walk of shame into the office the next day, but will put you on your way to becoming a wintery Adonis. Jo Travers, the dietician behind The London Nutritionist ( theharleystreetnutritionist.co.uk), fills us in.
The cheap choice
“It’s important to remember that alcohol is a toxin (albeit one of the more fun ones), so it’s all pretty bad for you. But some drinks are worse than others: beer and cider are very high in calories (the average craft beer has 156 calories per bottle, while a pint of cider weighs in at 210 calories), and have pretty much nothing going for them except lasting longer than short drinks.” So, a pint is good if you’re trying to limit how much you drink or make your booze last that little bit longer since you’re broke from buying your great aunt’s Christmas presents, but terrible otherwise.
The fancy order
“Cocktails tend to contain loads of calories and alcohol, so are possibly the least healthy type of drink. Adding fruit juice will give you some vitamins. Milk is also a great mixer for additional protein and fat to help reduce the impact of the sugar content on blood glucose. Some argue that a White Russian made with milk instead of cream isn’t a real White Russian but, as the dude says, ‘Life goes on, man.’”
“The most important thing to remember is to eat before you drink. Have a balanced meal with carbs, protein and vegetables. This will help protect your liver and minimise the hangover. Plus, you’ll feel less tempted to swing by the kebab shop on the way home.”
01 Gin and tonic
It’s a fact that gin increases digestive enzymes and helps to prevent cancer. Best of all, it comes in at 97 calories per 42 grams. Result! Pro order: With hints of ‘orange marmalade and lemon tart’, Sipsmith is the gin you’ll want in your stocking. Swap the lime for cucumber for a dose of vitamin K, potassium and vitamin B1. It’s basically one of your five-a-day. £29.50, 31dover.com
02 Vodka and lemonade
“Spirits with diet mixers are best in terms of calories, but they’re really quick to drink – so they may lead to drunkenness early on,” Jo warns. Pro order: Two Birds is a light, British-made vodka produced in batches of 100 bottles at a time. Best of all, it’s made from barley, sugar beet, cereal and root crops, which is basically a salad. Pour it over cubed ice, top up with lemonade, then add lemon slices and some mint. £28.95, 31dover.com
03 Red wine
“Some vin rouge isn’t too bad calorie-wise and contains flavonoids, which supposedly help blood pressure and your mental abilities,” Jo says. Pro order: While your mum might swear by a bottle of Bordeaux, its almost-pollution-free neighbour Cahors is where the real wine aficionado goes for their squashed grapes. Made with 70% Malbec grapes, the wine is almost black, which looks great on your teeth after three glasses. €3.50 per bottle, pidou.com