I don’t know about you, but I got into the Christmas spirit early this year; I started listening to 102.5 a whole MONTH early, and I even made tree-shaped muffins while the leaves were still falling. We’ve been watching Christmas movies on a nightly basis, including Scrooged, that ‘B-rated’ Bill Murray flick I should not have watched as a child. Murray plays Mr. Cross, a 1980s version of Scrooge, who is of course visited by three ‘spirits’ (all of whom are frightening) and eventually changes his miserly ways by the end of the movie. It was both nostalgic and disappointing at the same time.
But speaking of Christmas spirits…let’s not forget that alcohol has an impact on our health, and our waistlines! Americans gain about 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas—yikes!
The holiday seasons brings lots of once-a-year treats, less time to exercise and more occasions to drink. That’s a recipe for weight gain if I’ve ever seen one. And before you think I’m on the sober bandwagon this year, know that I’m right there with you, trying to navigate all the fun and festivity while maintaining some semblance of normalcy to my diet and exercise routine. I’m not here to tell you NOT to drink; I’m here encouraging you to eat and drink MINDFULLY.
Before we get into the calorie count on some of these festive beverages, I’d be remiss if I didn’t address some of the ‘big picture’ issues with drinking, such as alcohol’s impact on your health. According to the CDC, excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, liver disease, stroke and heart disease. Additionally, alcohol use is related to certain types of cancers, including liver, colon, throat, breast and mouth. Lastly, alcohol can worsen a person’s mental health issues, such as increasing depression or anxiety. Drink with caution, everyone!
Let’s start with the old standbys, wine and beer. Both red and white wines have approximately 25 calories per ounce, making a five-ounce glass a total of 125 calories. This is probably a good time to remind you that you’re likely pouring yourself more than five ounces at home. Beers range from about 100 calories for a bottle (12 oz.) of light beer, to 200 calories for a Belgian, to upwards of 300 calories for a darker or Imperial-style beer. While beer and wine are fat-free, they are (basically) devoid of any nutritional benefits—empty calories at its finest.
Tis the season for the cocktail! Again, I’m here for the festivities, too. But, make it a Moscow Mule instead of something made with eggnog… An eggnog cocktail will rack up at least 300 calories—225 for the eggnog and about 70 for the bourbon—not including anything else that goes into it. That’s a meal itself! A Moscow Mule is made up of vodka, ginger beer, lime juice and perhaps a little simple syrup, all to the tune of only 150 calories. Another nice option this time of year is the cranberry vodka; give it a splash of seltzer and dress it with a sprig of rosemary! Festive and light. Always keep in mind that liquor packs a bigger alcoholic punch than wine and beer, be sure to keep that in mind when ordering another drink.
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. Additionally, be sure to alternate alcoholic beverages with water to avoid the dreaded hangover! Let’s have a very Merry and MINDFUL Christmas, every one!