THE BLOG
12/11/2014 12:21 pm ET Updated Feb 10, 2015

Holidays, Cocktails and Calories?

For many of us, drinking alcoholic beverages is an integral part of socializing. If alcohol is important to you, it would be unrealistic to expect that you could (or should) cut it out of your diet overnight. However, you can still be strategic about what you drink.

At your next holiday party, keep these tips in mind to imbibe without destroying your diet:

  • Among the bustle of a business dinner, feel free to quietly ask the waiter not to refill your wine glass after the first pour. You will find it remarkable how little you will miss the refills, as many people tend to drink a bottomless glass of wine without much thought.
  • Recognize your weakness. If one glass of wine leads to two to three glasses, but one mixed drink can hold you over throughout the evening, stick to the mixed drink during typical events and save the wine for a special occasion.
  • You've heard it a million times -- pair every drink with a glass of water.
  • Liquid calories count! Think about choosing a lighter appetizer or entrée or skipping dessert if you're having more than one drink. And remember that a little-too-much tends to weaken your will-power... you know the rest of that story.
  • Watch the size of your glass. If it is obviously over-sized, it holds much more than the standard 4 ounces. Martini glasses and wine glasses are the worst culprits.
  • Most importantly, remember, just like eating, you have full control over the number of drinks you consume in an evening. Order and hold seltzer with lime if you are at all self conscious about seeming empty handed.

If you do go overboard, here are some helpful tips for the day after:

  • You're probably dehydrated; don't confuse thirst and dehydration with hunger.
  • Sometimes water doesn't help as well as a drink like Gatorade because you need electrolytes. 150 calories before you go to bed or first thing the next morning will help avoid hundreds of calories worth of "comforting" food later.
  • Try your hardest to eat as well as you can despite your cravings and fatigue -- a bad eating day will only make you feel worse in the end.
  • Once you are fully hydrated, get some exercise to refresh your body and brain, and to get your metabolism back on track.