When you think of festive entertaining, your mind probably automatically goes to food. Christmas ham… pavlova… cheese boards… the lot! For many people, however, festive bevvies are often just as important as food at celebratory get togethers.
If good health is on your radar, however, you might be wondering which are the healthiest drinks to wash down your meal with. To give you a helping hand, here’s my ranking of the most common festive bevvies, from healthiest to least healthy.
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The healthiest festive bevvies
The healthiest drinks to accompany your Christmas dinner are, unfortunately, the most boring ones. Water of course makes the cut, because regardless of what day of the year it is, it’s important to give your body the hydration it needs so it can keep up with regular bodily functions like temperature regulation and digestion (the latter of which is obviously working in overdrive on Christmas day).
If plain old water doesn’t cut it, you could try sparkling water for a bit of fizz. If you’re feeling fancy, you could add healthy flavour with fresh herbs or fruits like orange slices or mixed berries.
I’d also add kombucha to the ‘healthiest’ bevvies camp. In comparison to other flavoured drinks, it’s relatively low in calories and sugar, and has the potential to be good for your gut, too, thanks to the good bacteria called probiotics that some brands of ‘booch contain.
The healthy-ish festive bevvies
In the middle of the pack are two sips you mightn’t have yet considered for your festive menu. The first one is juice – and while you might think it belongs in the ‘healthiest’ category, I disagree because it can contribute a lot of unnecessary sugar (and therefore extra kilojoules) to your meal.
Low alcohol or zero alcohol beer and wine could be a smart-ish choice, because the lack of alcohol means it’s automatically lower in kilojoules. If you’re one to drink a lot during the silly season, I think low and zero alcohol options are a wise idea, at least some of the time.
The least healthy festive bevvies
This is going to make me sound like a real party pooper, because the least healthy sips you can pour into your glass are all of the fun ones: eggnog, soft drink and booze. Eggnog and soft drink are both filled to the brim with added sugar which, aside from containing unnecessary kilojoules, is also bad news for your teeth.
And last but not least: booze. Whether it’s a cocktail, a beer or a glass of champagne or wine, alcohol can really send your kilojoule consumption soaring. They’re not called liquid calories for nothing!
Not to mention, the negative consequences drinking too much alcohol on the reg can have on your health. If you love a tipple, I’d encourage you to drink slowly, alternate each drink with a non-alcoholic one and cap your intake after four rounds.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her @honest_nutrition.
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