The holiday season is upon us and that means decorations, gift buying, holiday music and likely some extra celebrating as well. Holiday parties are notorious for high calorie food and drink options, which can be detrimental to the healthy efforts that you have been making over the year. Even if your calendar is filled to the brim with social commitments for the season, it doesn’t mean that you have to abandon all of your health and fitness goals between November and January.

Some of the traditional drinks enjoyed during the holidays can be tremendously high in calories; here are some examples:

Eggnog: 350-450 calories per glass

Hot buttered rum (with whipped cream): 300-400 calories per serving

Scotch whisky: 70 calories per ounce

Wine: 150 calories per 6 oz. glass (how many ounces are your glasses?!)

Here are some strategies you can incorporate to minimize the overall calorie intake from alcohol and maybe save yourself a few hangovers, too (also making it more likely that you get in your planned workout!):

  • Instead of wine, ask for wine spritzers.  Half sparkling water or club soda cuts calories in half and contributes to your daily hydration needs.

  • If you love your traditional rich holiday drinks, keep it to one.  Have it first and sip it slowly so you really enjoy it. Have a big glass of water as your next drink and then switch to a lower calorie option if you are having another alcoholic beverage

  • Make sure you eat something before drinking. “Saving” food calories to be able to drink more simply won’t work.  You will feel the effects of the alcohol faster and, with lower inhibitions, will likely end up eating a lot more after and feeling sick the next day.

  • Experiment with lower calorie versions of your favorite cocktails or try a new recipe that is less damaging.  Try to avoid recipes that have added sugar and fats. Being conscious of what you are consuming this holiday season will make January a lot easier on yourself and your body and keep you on track to meet your health and fitness goals.